It was back in early March (2014) when YouTuber Stampylongnose posted a video on his channel about a singing contest he was putting on. He was asking viewers for a four minute song about his lovely world in the video game Minecraft; the deadline was May 1st. My daughter–Piper–and I watched the video the day it came out (we couldn’t miss it, since we watch all of his videos).
I told her, “Hey, we could do that. Want to do a song?”
So of course she became very excited. I figured we had almost two months to do it. Plenty of time. So I put the project on the back burner while I continued working on my novel.
Fast forward almost two months, it’s now late April. Stampy hasn’t mentioned the contest again, and neither has Piper. I figured she forgot about it. I thought I could get away with just not doing it; the project would take too much time away from my writing. So mentally, I let it go.
Then one morning Piper turned to me and said, “Hey, we never did our song for Stampy!” And I knew I was in trouble. She did remember after all, and obviously it meant a lot to her.
I realized we would have to churn out a song so Piper and I could enter the contest as originally intended, and now there was only a week left. An idea for a catchy chorus had been bouncing around in my head over the last month, you know, just in case. So I pulled some late nights over the weekend putting a rough sketch of the song together. The chord progression was simple enough, I just had to play guitar and do the keyboard tracks. The rest was all done on the computer. Piper helped write the words and gave some ideas about the story of it all.
Monday night I stayed up late putting it all together. Piper did her voice tracks afterschool on Tuesday. Then Tuesday night I stayed up super late mixing the song, trying to fix all of my mistakes and out of tune moments. On Wednesday–April 30th–I finished mixing it together, uploaded the song, and sent an email off to Stampy to enter the competition.
I figured the song file itself was too big to attach to an email, so I uploaded it to YouTube, thinking I could post it to Facebook for my friends, and then Stampy could have an easy way to check out the song. I sent a Twitter message to Stampy and his friends–fellow YouTubers iBallisticsquid and Amy Lee– just as a heads-up, thinking they might get a kick out of it.
Stampy retweeted my link to the song right away. I got about 600 or so views later in the afternoon, with many viewers leaving supportive comments. I was glad people enjoyed the song Piper and I put so much work into. Then I woke up this morning, less than 24 hours later, to over 10,000 views on the song. Yikes! That was a pleasant surprise to say the least.
Some people even commented that the song should win the contest; but, that’s up to Stampy. My intention was only this: When Piper looked up at me with her little face and asked if we could still do the song and enter the contest, I had a serious choice to make. My mind went to something comedian Louis C.K. once said about parenting (as a guest on Conan), “I’m not raising the children, I’m raising the grownups that they’re going to be.”
I knew my daughter would look back on this whole episode someday, but what would the lesson be? What do I want her to take away from this? I didn’t want her to look back and remember how we gave up, didn’t try, didn’t make the effort. I wanted her to help make something real cool we could both be proud of, to feel what it’s like to work hard on something that can make other people happy.
When I played the finished song for her on Wednesday and saw the big smile on her face, that was it. For me, that was winning.
As a side note, many viewers subscribed to my YouTube channel. I think maybe people are just subscribing as a way to bookmark the song, maybe they just want to hear the song again. But if they subscribed expecting something more, than I don’t know what to do with the channel. More songs? Make some videos? If anybody has any suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.
Here’s our song, “In My Lovely World”