Sun Times staff
Beckon wants fans to share short video clips for the duo’s Beautiful Life video.
The Owen Sound area singer/songwriters, Beth Hamilton and Connie Rossiter, are asking for video clips 10 seconds long showing your beautiful moments — a wedding, a child’s first steps, and especially scenes from this area.
“It could be anything,” said Hamilton. “Say you run a marathon and you cross the finish line. It could be riding a bicycle. It could be raindrops on a window pane, anything beautiful.”
People can also use beach pebbles, building blocks, finger paints or anything else to spell out Beautiful Life somewhere interesting for the project.
“We’re hoping that we get a lot of local footage, that would be very meaningful for us,” Rossiter said.
It’s the duo’s first commercial video, and the song will be the first single released from their first CD. Plans are to film this month at Hamilton’s teaching and music studio space in the Timothy Christian School Building.
They’ll empty the old classroom and film a performance April 9 at the old upright piano, with plans also to shoot scenes at Sarawak Park if the weather suits that day.
The finished video will include clips of their own family and friends, a glimpse at their own beautiful life, along with the contributed clips.
To participate, just upload your short video clip, less than 20 seconds, by April 15 to Beckon’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/beckonofficial or email the clip to firstname.lastname@example.org Clips should be less than 20 seconds.
The video director will contact people whose clips are selected.
Beckon received funding for both the CD project and the promotional video from the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Record.
Written together for the EP they produced in time for last year’s Summerfolk shows, Beautiful Life is one of 11 all original songs Hamilton and Rossiter are finishing up now in the studio for a CD release June 1. Also through the FACTOR funding, a 40-date tour around Ontario will
follow over the next several months.
“It’s been a long process and we’ve been going about 100 miles an hour” to complete the projects, Rossiter said recently. Both singers have day jobs to support “doing what we love,” she said.
The duo’s connection began several years ago in Orangeville, when Rossiter enrolled her son Gabriel in Hamilton’s Kindermusik classes. Their friendship became a singing and songwriting and eventually a performing partnership, not long after Rossiter, from Kemble, moved back to the area, followed not long after by Hamilton, originally from Ajax.
“If we hadn’t signed up for that Kindermusik class, none of this would have happened,” Rossiter said.
They quickly established a local following and connections with the Georgian Bay Folk Society, for a partnership hosting singer/songwriter workshop sharing sessions which they still run monthly at Hamilton’s studio.
Both women said writing and sharing songs is where their shared interest began, with no plans then to perform and eventually produce a CD and video.
“We do approach the writing first,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t start doing this because we love being on stage and we wanted to be stars. We got into this because we love songwriting and then it blossomed into the performance part. That’s why we perform our own songs. That’s the essence of what we’re doing. We’re singer-songwriters.”
During seven years writing and performing together, they said the songwriting partnership has grown and deepened in trust and respect, so they can now write honestly together, without fear.
“It just boils down to chemistry,” Rossiter said. “There has to be a whole lot of trust.”
“We really have this trust where our egos aren’t in the way,” Hamilton added. “It’s positive and it’s constructive and no feelings are every getting hurt, so we can just write the best music.”
They also wrote several of the songs on the CD with co-writer Carrie DeMaeyer, introduced by their Juno-nominated record producer J. Richard Hutt, who has Cedar Tree Studios in Kitchener. Much of the material was produced during “fun Fridays” -dedicated writing days when the three women would get together to create new songs.
Beckon applied for the FACTOR funding in 2010, received the support in 2011 for the CD and have been working on the project and a related business and promotion plan since then, they said.
Beautiful Life began as a “noodle” from Rossiter on the piano, which fit the need at the time for some more upbeat music to balance the many ballads in the Beckon repertoire. Rossiter and Hamilton began with a verse and chorus, and then a title and some key words.
“The idea was to follow a life from the beginning,” Rossiter said. “I had the first few lines and a chorus and then it was just like filling in the blanks/”
With a bridge that hints at turbulence and shifting ground, the life-affirming song provided an aspect of self reflection.
“When you get caught up in how difficult things are, you need to stop and pause and remind yourself about what’s beautiful right around you,” Rossiter said. “It’s easy to get caught up in every day troubles.”
You can hear the EP version of Beautiful Life on Beckon’s web-site http://www.beckonofficial.com or download it from iTunes. The “up-tempo, catchy, piano pop tune,” as described in a Beckon media release, includes Mark Mariash on drums and Mark McIntyre on bass. That group and others are recording the song again in a more commercial, radio-friendly arrangement for the new CD and single.
Filmmaker Sean Cisterna will direct the music video.