Adele, clare elliott, Duffy, Greece, Haven't Changed at All, Independent Music Awards, Kenny Siegal, Monty Python, Piano 45, Spottiswoode, Spottiswoode & His Enemies, Tony Lauria, Williamsburg Bridge
New York, NY- Spottiswoode has made a music video of a song from his IMA-nominated solo album, PIANO 45.
Shot in one take on the Williamsburg Bridge by Clare Elliott, HAVEN’T CHANGED AT ALL is the heartbroken ballad of a man failing to find enlightenment after a romantic break-up.
Here’s Spottiswoode’s thoughts:
“I wrote the song in the spring of 2008 on the island of Mykonos in Greece. It sounds quite luxurious, I suppose. The band had just celebrated its tenth anniversary and I had decided to take my first full break from playing or recording music in over a decade. I had also gone through a break-up. I found subletters for my New York apartment and went back to England to spend some time with my parents and breathe some different air.
The timing was lucky. Tony Lauria, band keyboardist extraordinaire, had just started an extended piano gig at a cabaret bar on Mykonos. He had an extra bed for me to sleep on. I decided to visit.
Tony took care of me. We went swimming during the daytime. In the evening he made me lamb chops. Then I would go and watch him play. One night I stayed in. Tony had a practice keyboard in his bedroom, and since I’d recently fallen in love with writing songs on piano I decided to compose something before he got home.
The song is unusual for me, more hooky than my regular ditties. In a way, it has two choruses – first ‘I haven’t changed at all,’ and then ‘I miss my baby…’ So the structure is:
It’s all finished in less than three minutes.
Lyrically, the song is obviously very heart-on-its-sleeve. A heartbroken seeker has gone round the world in search of enlightenment. He gets home, sees his ex-girlfriend and discovers that he’s as heartbroken as ever. So much for his grand intentions! The irony is that I actually wrote the song on a beautiful island on the Aegean far away from home. Yes, I was heartbroken but no, my journey wasn’t over. So I was projecting myself into a time I imagined in the future.
I recorded the song about a year later along with the other tracks from PIANO 45 at Old Soul Studios in Catskill, NY. Kenny Siegal, my producer, fell in love with this song in particular. In fact, when he later heard the band play it he cursed me for not including the more arranged version on our subsequent Enemies CD. Perhaps one day. Before that I encourage Adele or Duffy or any mega R&B or hiphop star to take a crack. Please!
Talking of Adele and Duffy, the concept was inspired by their recent videos “Someone Like You” and “Warwick Avenue.” Both are extremely simple and stripped-down with almost no cuts at all. Duffy sits in a taxi. Adele walks along the Seine. They are mega-stars of course so their videos are simultaneously raw and glamourous. They look straightforward but I’m sure they cost a fortune.
I am proud to say that “Haven’t Changed At All” cost about sixty bucks! It is raw, yes, but there’s nothing glamourous about it whatsoever. It was shot on the Williamsburg Bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn on an extremely windy afternoon during Passover week. During one test of the steadicam holder she had just hired (and was using for the first time!) Clare Elliott was accosted by a Hasidic family strolling across the bridge. They screamed at her for invading their privacy. The camera wasn’t even turned on!
Clare stuck her iPhone in my jacket pocket and taped an ear-phone into my right ear and behind my hair so that I had some way of singing in sync with the original track. Then for the three minutes of the song she walked backwards in a bike lane. All this in the wind using a device she had only just hired for the first time. (The Frenchman who rented us the steadicam in the morning insisted Clare would need three days practice to be ready to use it at all.)
The plan was always to use one take and have zero cuts. We shot the song about five times before the wind became impossible. Over all, this is by far the best version. In a Monty Python sketch the bicyclists would of course crash into the singer before the end and put him out of his misery. Next time.”