“People Needing People (feat. Kristine Wriding)” is a song written in the middle of chaos amongst a sea change, i.e. a global pandemic and the protests. Long time collaborators, Filipino-American pop artist Andrew Plan and Country singer/songwriter Kristine Wriding created a poignant track remotely using Google Voice. The track is out today ahead of World Humanitarian Day on August 19th. Both artists hope the track will serve as a message of hope and unity in these trying times. I got a chance to chat with them via email on the new single, online collaboration, and much more. You can read my interview with them below.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How did you each get your start as musicians and singer-songwriters?
Andrew: I started taking guitar lessons as a teenager and quickly fell in love with playing guitar. A few months in I heard John Mayer’s “Neon”, and that really opened my mind to writing my own songs. I started a band with some friends and played shows at school events and around East Texas. Eventually the band broke up and I started doing my own solo stuff, which I kept up as I went through college and beyond.
Kristine: I have always loved to sing and share my love of music with others. I grew up singing in church and was always making up songs. During a youth group outing, I went to a Chris Tomlin Concert and was blown away at how music can inspire and move people. When I came home from that concert, I told my parents, if there was one thing I wanted to do with the rest of my life, it was that. From that point on I started focusing on my singing. I would sing in youth bands, school, in the community and I had regular gigs at sandwich shops and coffee shops.
Around my senior year of High School, I went to a Matthew West and Josh Wilson Concert and was able to meet both of them afterwards. I asked them if they had advice on getting into the music business and they told me to write songs and keep writing songs. I had already been writing songs, but with that advice I started writing more songs on a regular basis. That’s when I really started focusing on my songwriting skills. As I kept writing songs, my desire to share my music with the world grew. So, I chose my best written songs and produced my first full length Country Album and started making trips to Nashville to pursue my singing and songwriting career. Not long after I signed a lease on an apartment in Nashville and moved to Music City.
Now, you may be wondering, why did I choose Country music? It is because I love Country music and the message that it shares. I grew up Country and am very proud of that fact. The Country music I grew up on shared stories of working hard, being strong, being honest, loving your family and thanking God for the days He’s given us. If I can share that message with the world, that is what I want to do.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s chat some about the new song ‘People Needing People’. What’s the inspiration behind it? And how was the entire writing and recording process like seeing as you have never met in person?
Kristine (Inspiration): The song started out as an idea of mine. I was frustrated with how some people view people they don’t understand. For myself, I have a loved one with autism and it frustrates me how some people judge him from the outside, or his lack of speech. They fail to really get to know him and understand what a caring person he is and how smart he is. I thought to myself, “we are all just people in this world, why can’t we all see that”. I expanded on that thought and wrote the chorus. I then brought this chorus and idea to Andrew who instantly connected with the song. He started strumming a melody on his guitar and our words filled the page to create this song.
Andrew (process): We wrote the song over Google Hangouts, writing lyrics in Google Docs and sharing music snippets on Google Drive. Music comes more naturally to me than lyrics, so I had the guitar out focusing on guitar parts and grooves while Kristine and I hashed out the lyrical content of the song. We spent a few sessions getting the chorus music and lyrics right, then we finished the rest of the song pretty quickly.
I produced the song in my home studio. One of the really fun parts of the process was creating the choir sound that comes in during the back half of the song. Kristine and I both spent a bit of time in our studios recording a lot of vocals, trying lots of different harmonies and ad-libs and even accents. I then took the ideas I loved from her recordings and my recordings and started sculpting a vocal arrangement. It helps that Kristine is an awesome singer, and our voices blend well together, so there was a lot of cool stuff to work with.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was it about online music collaboration that appealed to you? Do you feel that this is a new wave of music making?
Kristine: I really enjoy the endless possibilities with online collaborations. There are so many talented people in this world who may not live in or be able to move to a city like Nashville, New York, LA or Atlanta to make music; but they still have a gift of music and a passion to create. So being able to connect with people around the country and the world to create and collaborate is amazing!
Andrew: I don’t live in a big music city like LA or Nashville, so being able to collaborate online with talented music makers all over the world has been a game changer for my growth as an artist and songwriter. I do think online music collaboration will become more of a new normal especially as we weather the COVID pandemic.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was it about each other’s musical style and background that drew you to creating this musical partnership beyond the course?
Kristine: For me, I really loved Andrew’s voice, melodies, songs and hooks. He is very creative and has a passion for creating music with a message, as do I, and so I really connected to that.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s a typical writing and creative process like for you guys?
Andrew: Kristine and I write online, over video conferencing services such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Before each session we send over any ideas we’re interested in writing together, then at the beginning of our writing sessions, we review those ideas and talk about which one we want to move forward with. Once we have the idea locked in, we get to work. Kristine is great with flushing out song concepts and developing lyrics, so she often takes the lead on that while I hammer out the melody and guitar grooves. All the while we’re going back and forth, helping each other mold the music and lyric elements until it all starts to feel good as a whole.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What lyric from ‘People Needing People‘ do you feel most emotionally connected to at the present moment?
Andrew: The opening lines of the chorus: “The world ain’t just black and white, it’s a beautiful array.” With all the division in the world, these lines help me remember that we are better together than we are apart.
Kristine: I love our second verse, “Imagine this with me, under all this wreckage beauty’s bursting at the seams. All that we would see, is the value in each other and the highs that we could reach”. I think too often people focus on the wreckage of a situation and get caught up in worry and disparity. But if instead we can search for the good, the hope in the storm, and value one another, we could really accomplish and reach great heights!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What do you hope is the biggest takeaway people get when listening to your song?
Kristine: I hope that after listening to our song people takeaway; We are all people in this world that need each other. Our world is full of a beautiful array of people made up of all races, abilities, ages, experiences and walks of life. If we can learn from each other and see through another’s eyes to gain understanding, to grow and to make a difference; we can create something truly beautiful in this world.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Throwing in a few fun ones here… What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
Kristine: That’s a hard question because I grew up in the 90’s and love 90’s country! I would have to say any Shania Twain song, but my favorite might have to be “That Don’t Impress Me Much”.
Andrew: TLC, “No Scrubs”!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was the first concert you ever attended?
Kristine: I remember my first concert was Garth Brooks! I was young, but still remember being blown away at what a performer he was and how fun he made his concert!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What artists that have been “On Repeat” for you guys lately? What music have you been listening to?
Andrew: Ray LaMontagne’s latest album, ‘Monovision’, John Mayer’s older albums (‘Heavier Things’, ‘Battle Studies’)
Kristine: Gabby Barrett, Tenille Townes, Zach Williams and any playlist that has new and upcoming artists and music. I love to hear fresh new voices, songs and ideas from these playlists!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you had the chance to write a song based off your favorite book. What book would that be and why?
Kristine: That is a very interesting question and a hard one to answer. I don’t really have a favorite book that is coming to mind at this moment, and right now all the books I am reading are music business/songwriting related. I guess if I wrote a song based off of what I am currently reading, it would be a song about determination, stepping out into the unknown and striving for a goal that is set before me.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end… Anything else you would like to add? Thanks so much for your time and understanding earlier! 🙂
Kristine: It is my hope that when people hear our song it moves and inspires them to reflect on themselves and causes them to reach out to others, realizing that every person in this world matters and that we are all people… people needing people.
You can stream the new single “People Needing People (feat. Kristine Wriding)” out now.