The process of writing “When I’m With You” was much different from any other songwriting experience I’d had before.
Austin Bello, a well-known producer living in Herndon at the time, contacted me about working on a project in October of 2014. We went into the studio a couple months later, having only met one time at Starbucks a few weeks prior. We simply wanted to create a good song. We didn’t know what the song was going to be about, or what it was going to sound like. We went in completely blind! This was something I had never done, every other time I’ve gone into the studio I’ve had all my ideas ready to record.
We ended up not choosing one of our lyric ideas, but instead I fell in love with a melody that Austin played for me. I told him immediately that I wanted to use that melody for the song and we began recording the guitar parts.
After recording the guitar parts, we started to get an idea for the lyrical melody. Austin wanted to record that as well so we didn’t lose our train of thought. Since we didn’t have any words yet, Austin recorded himself humming and singing random words that came to his mind over the guitar track. The funny part was that some of the words he blurted out really stuck with me and I ended up actually wanted to use them! I remember him mumbling, “when I’m with you, my whole world’s on fire.”
We finished recording almost all the instruments for the track on the first day. Austin and the other producer, Ben, recorded several different guitar, bass, and drum parts. After the first day was over, Austin and I agreed to go home with the instrumental version and think of lyric ideas to bring into the studio the next day.
When we got to the studio the next morning, Austin brought up an idea he had thought of the night before. He proposed that the idea for the song be about someone who had never really opened up in a relationship until they met the right person. I had opened up to many people in relationships before, so the idea wasn’t really personal. Instead, I was writing about a feeling I had never experienced. I had to put myself in the shoes of someone who struggled to open up when it came to romantic relationships, but watched their whole world come to life when they met “the one.” It was SO different and fun for me.
“When I’m With You” was released on May 1, 2015, and since then I have gotten a ton of positive feedback about the song. I’ve received emails, texts, Facebook messages, tweets, and even Instagram posts of people singing along. The best part about “When I’m With You” is how fun the song is. The experience taught me that songwriting isn’t always about telling your own story, but sometimes it’s about telling a story for someone else.
Fun fact: The song is featured in Alpha Delta Pi’s national philanthropy video this year. My song is played during recruitments across the country!