[#010] Behind the Music A-Z: “Beautiful Place” Feat. DJ. Stanfill

Single (2021)
Spotify | Apple Music | Youtube

I’d had this short composition sitting around for a long time on my computer. I had no idea what it could be used for, and the chant I sort of made up kind of sounded like “heymumma-heymumma” over and over again.

Here, this is it:

One day DJ Stanfill came over to my studio in East Nashville to write and record. For whatever reason, that “song” was still on my mind, and I think I suggested we start by seeing if we could write to the delayed-out ukulele and piano, if he liked the vibe. He did, and so we started trying to make sense of it using imagistic language. We were just sort of painting, a songwriting method I talk about in my book. We didn’t really know where we were going until we were much further along.

Photo by DJ Stanfill (if you look long enough it shakes)

DJ is an absolute joy to work with because he strives for perfection. When I was satisfied, he wasn’t. He insisted on doing another vocal take, tweaking this or that. He made me better.

The other thing I remember from this session is that DJ asked if I’d ever read anything by Cal Newport. I hadn’t, but I took his recommendation. Since then, Cal Newport’s books on living a deep life in a distracted world have been hugely influential on me. DJ, I don’t think I ever thanked you for that. Thank you.