Over the last few months, the Notes For Notes Studio in St. Paul has welcomed a wide variety of young artists to come in and exhibit their musical skills. Some were one-visit wonders and others saw the amazing opportunity our free recording studio offers and are continuing to utilize it.
One member, Godwin Agbara (14), specifically stands out in my mind as a Studio VIP. During the summer, Godwin would make the trek to the West Side Boys & Girls Club once or twice a week – as often as he was able to – coming all the way from Apple Valley ( a 30-minute car ride! ).
I remember the first time I met Godwin. As he came through the studio door and into the Mix Room, I began asking him some basic questions to gauge his interest and experience in music. I can’t recall his answers because they were nearly inaudible. I could, however, tell that Godwin had a reason to be in the studio.
He had a timeworn, dog-eared black notebook and a very honest, sincere voice. I knew that Godwin had a lot of creative ideas to express musically. The hard part was figuring out how to let him open up so that we could create a musical canvas he felt comfortable putting his heart and soul on.
Although he was noticeably nervous his first few times coming into the studio, Godwin really began to shine once he was able to find his voice behind the songs he had written. Godwin and I had multiple discussions about the meaning and experiences behind his writing and discussed the feelings and emotions the music should convey.
After hearing his recorded voice back for the first time, Godwin started coming into the studio even more frequently, with a greater sense of belonging, and with a much greater confidence in his musical abilities.
The first finished song Godwin and I created is called, “Disconnected.” It’s the story of an abrupt end to a personal relationship, where the narrator fears that although he has “a million words to say,” he will never have the chance to say them to the person they’re meant for. It’s a beautiful heartfelt song that allows the listener to feel the sustained anguish of not knowing the reasons for a good thing’s end. I personally love the way Godwin uses his words sparingly to create a feeling of open-ended mystery and ceaseless wonder. Listen for yourself below!
Godwin chose to go by the name of Ghost and the Phantoms for his current recording project. He prefers to remain anonymous, while still accrediting the help he received from other artists in the Notes For Notes Studio during the making of his first record. I’m greatly looking forward to helping Godwin continue his musical endeavors and find ways to express how he feels even if there’s no one to listen to him at the time. Sometimes music makes the best psychiatrist.