Like a major department store’s Christmas window, the animated video of Claudia Robin Gunn ‘s Every Day Is A Dance waves up and down from a welcoming carousel, its colourful sense of joy and wonder sneakily beguiling you into becoming a child again if just for the two and a half minutes it takes to run its wholesome course. In writing music for kids and families, her intention is to provide moments of sunshine, calm and happiness in what can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Nailed it.
This song was sparked by something the amazing Arthur Baysting said at a songwriting workshop I was lucky to attend. He talked about going out to catch songs sometimes, and it really felt like this one was a drifting piece of sunshine that I somehow caught in my net one day!
I wanted to make a ‘wake-up and say hello to the morning’ kind of song, about life and hope and taking chances without fear of failure. Putting these words into song form felt to me like casting a spell to summon strength and lightness to dance with the rollercoaster of life.
It sat in a notes file as just a sketch for several years before I hauled it out for a live music session in my treehouse doing the first Covid lockdowns in 2020. This song ended up being one of the tunes recorded through winter 2020 on ‘Sing Through The Year – A Little Wild Childhood’ (made with help from a Creative NZ continuity grant). Though most of those tunes were seasons, nature and weather-related, I also had a theme about time; appreciating all the seasons of our life through all kinds of weather.
I recorded it at home one day in July, just self-engineered with the vocals and a demo guitar track and basic beat, then sent the Logic file across to my producer Tom Fox. He is a really good listener and guitarist and he brought out this amazing rhythm in the song with all the layers he created under my singing.
I just remember hearing back the first mix and dancing around the living room. It felt like a mix between a new year’s song and a birthday song, and a wake-up-and-go kind of song – which was every kind of vibe I really wanted in there. So big smiles!!
The line that resonates with me the most is ‘every day’s an invitation to the greatest party’. I was brought up with the teachings of a guru called Prem Rawat and I hear his voice when I listen to that line. My intentions with making music for kids and families is to try and spark some joy, and provide moments of sunshine, calm and happiness in what can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride.
This song is a bit of an outlier in terms of my earlier catalogue – it’s maybe one the of first ones that is more upbeat and jangly. I’m more known for my lullabies, but since my kids are growing up and I seem to have more time to write music in the daytime now, some really singable fun songs seem to be popping up more often.
I’ve learned from this song that it’s okay to encase an idea in a briefer format – learning to edit down and pick out the pieces that really ring, has been a learning curve for me over 20+ years of songwriting. I have so many songs with eight verses hiding in the stack of papers!
I hope it reminds listeners of the potential for goodness in every moment, and that it’s always okay to leave mistakes behind you and treat each day as a new arena for wonderful things to happen in.
This animated video is supported by NZ On Air Music through their New Music Kids programme, and it is the sixth song from ‘Sing Through The Year’ that I have collaborated on with animator Kitty Wade to create.