I’m Helen Murray – an alternative R&B/soul artist and producer from Cork, Ireland. Let me give you an insight into the creative process behind my debut single “Thank You”, which was written and co-produced by me. “Thank You” is the first of five tracks included on my debut EP, which will be released in early 2022.
I wrote “Thank You” on a chilly winter’s day in January 2020 in my then tiny bedroom in Dublin, Ireland. I never have a plan when I sit down to write music – I could be sitting down at the piano figuring out some chords, writing on Ableton using a cool drum loop, or teasing out a melody that’s popped into my head.
It’s a pretty random process and I don’t stick to a particular writing technique. I guess this keeps things interesting for me and the end result leads to contrasting songs which I love!
“Thank You” came together in a day. This doesn’t happen too often but when it does it feels amazing. Working with a drum loop, I laid down some chords on top and started scatting out the melody that was coming to my mind.
Lyrically and instrumentally, I had no set ideas on what to write. However, I think I subconsciously set an intention to produce an upbeat heartbreak anthem, probably because I was fed up with writing sad heartbreak songs.
This song explores the self-acceptance, self-confidence and gratitude that comes with removing yourself from a relationship that isn’t good for you anymore. I suppose it’s a twisted love song thanking the person who entered my life because when they left I realised I deserve so much more than what they gave me.
I think the lesson I took from my writing was that when a relationship ends it doesn’t mean the fault lies with me. It might not be the right time or the right person, and that’s perfectly fine. The biggest takeaway from this was realising I need to be good to myself, know who I am and know what I am worth.
I love vocal arrangements so I explored this at the later stages of finishing this track. My inspiration for these came from the vocal goddesses Beyoncé, Chloe & Halle and Ariana Grande.
This was a really fun process, playing with the different textures of my voice to create a contrasting timbre to the lead vocal. The breathy and delicate backing vocals compliment the dynamic and energetic lead vocal exactly how I imagined them to.
I then brought “Thank You” to my co-producer and great friend rvstless, who I have been working with since January 2020. He added a killer bass line and a beautiful guitar riff that comes in on the second verse.
Although our musical relationship spans back over a number of years working with different bands and artists, it was our first experience working collaboratively on one of my tracks.
I visited his studio in Dublin and we finished two tracks in a day. I remember leaving the studio feeling elated and inspired. I knew we had clicked immediately and both knew exactly where the songs should go.
I also worked with another talented producer Adam Shanahan who recorded and edited my vocals on this track. Although we had never met before working together, Adam made me feel comfortable to execute an emotive and fiery vocal in the booth. He was so brilliant to work with and knew exactly the sound I wanted to capture.
Although most of my project to date has been a solo adventure, it has been brilliant for me to see how other producers work and the different processes they use.
I decided to release “Thank You” as my debut single because it has a special meaning behind it that I wanted to share with the world. I really hope it helps people to remember all of the amazing qualities they have, ones that they might not see in themselves when going through a breakup.
Listen to “Thank You” below and you can stream and download it on all the music streaming services here.