We here at FRED are true lovers of music, in all its forms. We’re also quite keen on the spirit of competition, and of spurring creativity through said competition.
To that end, we launched a unique form of creative combat.
In this age of manufactured and painfully earnest talent contests, we’ve decided to instead shine a light on the quirky, quixotic underworld of musicians that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.
Ah, but I did mention that there was a competition involved…
Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, the competitors will be presented with a very specific songwriting challenge. They’ll be given one week to complete their songs - however they see fit, within the parameters set forth - after which time the entries will be uploaded to FRED to be voted on by you, the audience.
At the end of the 3rd Challenge, the two Challengers with the most votes will face off, mano a mano for the title of…
MASTER OF SONG FU
However, there may yet be one final challenge for this newly crowned Master - for they very well might (if the stars align and schedules permit) face off against one of the LEGENDARY MASTERS - artists like Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm, Neil Innes, Doc Hammer, & The RiffTones. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu - one of which may or may not be revealed as your ultimate challenge. Only the wheel of uncertainty can predict (and even then, not).
So what was the first Challenge?
ROUND 1 CHALLENGE
Write a song that is about (or at least has key to the central narrative) RAIN (the meteorological phenomena). At some point (or throughout) the song, you must utilize an instrument (or vocals) that represent the rain. You are free to write your song in any style that you choose.
That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds.
And then our Challengers were given their Round 2 Challenge…
ROUND 2 CHALLENGE
Write a song that does not rhyme.
CLARIFICATION: Your song can be in any style, but must not contain any rhymes of 2 dissimilar words within a traditional verse structure. Exact repetition of a phrase or word is permitted. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds..
If you want some inspiration, here’s a number song from The Muppets…
And then came the Round 3 Challenge…
ROUND 3 CHALLENGE
Write a song that involves a recipe for something.
This recipe can be for anything - not just food. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds..
If you want some inspiration, here’s a recipe song by Queen Ida…
And then, the votes from all 3 Rounds were tabulated, and the TOP 2 VOTE-GETTERS went head-to-head in the Final Round Challenge. The winner of that battle will be declared this edition’s MASTER OF SONG FU. So what was that Final Challenge?
Let’s call this one Challenge & Victory
Your task is to write a single tune that is actually comprised of two individual songs - the first half details a problem to be conquered or a battle to be fought, and the second half is a victorious, triumphant resolution. Both of these halves must feel independent of the other, but may contain an element that bridges the two. Your song must run no shorter than 3 minutes..
If you want some inspiration, here’s Queen…
Below, you’ll find the songs from our final two Challengers, plus the form for you to place your vote for your favorite. In addition, you’ll be able to listen to the out-of-competition Shadow Entries submitted for this Challenge. If you’d like to hear all of the Challenger songs from this edition of Song Fu, CLICK HERE.
THE FINAL CHALLENGERS
Mike Lombardo is a piano-playing geek-pop-rock singer-songwriter who likes to use hyphens when describing his occupation. He has been known to write songs about just about anything, including rocks and SAW 4. When not banging on a piano, Mike spends most of his time playing way too many video games or teaching small children how to bang on pianos. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Mike is currently finishing up his second album with his piano rock band, the Mike Lombardo Trio.
Official Website: www.mikelombardomusic.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Sit And Watch The Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “I Found You”
ROUND 3 SONG: “We Don’t Have Any Eggs (from Man In Kitchen - The Musical)”
FINAL CHALLENGE SONG: “This Song Is Meta (And So Is This Title)”
LEIGH & HOOVER
Dave & William have been writing songs together for decades, yet have still managed to avoid finding a clever name for themselves. William writes the words; Dave the music… which is good because it doesn’t really work the other way ’round.
Official Website: www.cratchit.org/music
ROUND 1 SONG: “Summer Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “We Do What We Do”
ROUND 3 SONG: “Primordial Soup (Traditional Recipe)”
FINAL CHALLENGE SONG: “Yesterday Hero - Someday”
To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the FINAL CHALLENGE songs, CLICK HERE.
To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 3 songs, CLICK HERE.
To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 2 songs, CLICK HERE.
To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 1 songs, CLICK HERE.
FINAL CHALLENGE VOTING
And now, it’s time for the voting. For this FINAL CHALLENGE round, you can CHOOSE ONE Challenger song. Be sure to choose carefully. VOTING CLOSES AT 11:59pm EST on SUNDAY, MARCH 28th.
THE FINAL CHALLENGE WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA E-MAIL AFTER VOTING CLOSES
If you are having trouble voting, CLEAR YOUR BROWSER’S CACHE and try again. PLEASE NOTE: This voting system bases voting eligibility on your IP Address. If there are other computers on a home or business network that share the same IP address through a router, it may say you’ve already voted. Unfortunately, there is no way around this, and still be able to prevent ballot stuffing. It’s just the nature of the online voting beast.
FINAL CHALLENGE VOTING
FINAL VOTE TALLY FOR ROUNDS 1-3
* Mike Lombardo - 444 Votes
* Leigh & Hoover - 301 Votes
* Denise Hudson - 276 Votes
* Edric Haleen - 228 Votes
* Gorbzilla - 223 Votes
* Godz Poodlz - 190 Votes
* Caleb Hines - 187 Votes
* Inverse T. Clown - 170 Votes
* Kylie Petto - 166 Votes
* Jeff MacDougall - 151 Votes
* Governing Dynamics - 135 Votes
* Buckethat Bobby Matheson - 132 Votes
* Glen Raphael - 131 Votes
* Ian “Two Shades” Johnson - 120 Votes
* Common Lisp - 103 Votes
* Zer0guy - 98 Votes
* Jutze Schult - 93 Votes
* Boffo Yux Dudes - 88 Votes
* Taryn Miller - 84 Votes
* Spencer Sokol - 76 Votes
ROUND 3 VOTING RESULTS
ROUND 2 VOTING RESULTS
ROUND 1 VOTING RESULTS
JOE “COVENANT” LAMB
I’m Joe Covenant. I’m Scottish. And never have enough time to do everything I wanna! Been singing and perfoming for over 40 years… (yes, I am 46.)… and I’ve nearly learned a 6th chord! Everything I do. I do for Song Fu. (If not for this ‘contest’ I would have never met and collaborated with so many talented people.)
Governing Dynamics is the name of Travis Norris’s eternal sideproject, where all the stuff written by him goes when his current band (whatever it may be) refuses to play it. The music has been favorably compared to such bands as Eels, Radiohead, The White Stripes, and other bands that cool people like. It has been unfavorably compared to the tactics used by the FBI against the Branch Dividians at Waco. If he has to describe his music by genre (and refer to himself in third person) Travis calls it “alternative/shoegazer with a liberal dose of Midwestern rock”.
Official Website: governingdynamics.bandcamp.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Rain in Chicago”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Restrictions”
ROUND 3 SONG: “Broken Boy”
FINAL CHALLENGE SHADOW SONG: “Deconstructive Witticisms - Try”
Denise Hudson is a musician of non-determined hair-color from Austin, Texas who is married to an musicaphile Australian. She hopes that she typed up her bio correctly (alas, she cannot spell!); and additionally hopes she amuses you, but she is done apologizing now. If she happens to make you slightly uncomfortable, she supposes there’s nothing to be done for it…
Official Website: denisehudson.bandcamp.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Something Very Horrible (Bluebeard’s Lament)”
ROUND 3 SONG: “Duality Cupcake (’Why’)”
FINAL CHALLENGE SHADOW SONG: “Keys and Lies (feat. Joe “Covenant” Lamb)”
Glen Raphael is a Manhattan-based software geek, circus performer, and guitarist/singer/songwriter who counts Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm as influences. He has recently written songs that featured killer robots, exploding pants, and the Statue of Liberty having a mid-life crisis. Though not all at once. Yet.
Official Website: youtube.com/glenra
ROUND 1 SONG: “Can’t See The Sky”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Song That Doesn’t Rhyme”
ROUND 3 SONG: “Big In Japan”
FINAL CHALLENGE SHADOW SONG: “When The Prozac Kicks In”
INVERSE T. CLOWN
Inverse T. Clown is a jack of many entertainment trades, songwriting being one of his favorites. He has an album half-ready to be recorded, and is looking forward to garnering the patience to sit down and do it. Even more so, he’s looking forward to Song Fu 6. There is an ongoing series of internet covers of Inverse’s song “Today’s The Day” - and he loves them all - but it would nice to get some steam behind the endless REST of his genius, and Song Fu seems just the place to start it up. He’s funny, he’s clever, his music is synthetic, and he’s champing at the bit to throw everything he’s got to his clamoring fans. Stick around, and see why Salemites everywhere call this musical genius “The Future of Greatness”.
Official Website: toomuchawesome.ning.com/profile/InverseTClown
ROUND 1 SONG: “Sexy In The Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “An Angry Rant”
ROUND 3 SONG: “Devastator”
FINAL CHALLENGE SHADOW SONG: “Manic Depressive”
From TV to the internet and more, I first got into music back in 1998 doing my own music show. It was around that time that I became a DJ at WRTC 89.3 FM. Music has been in my family for many years. My father is a singer. I, on the other hand, do a little bit of everything, from YouTube to my travels around the US and the UK, entertainment is in my blood. Making a song for Song Fu has been fun. I hope to do it again.
Official Website: www.youtube.com/user/Ginyu2007
FINAL CHALLENGE SHADOW SONG: “Quest For The Fu”
If you triumph, not only will you win remarkable (and potentially off-putting) bragging rights and a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes, you will also become the proud owner of the magnificent, one-of-a-kind MASTER OF SONG FU TROPHY.
Good luck, and bring on the Fu.
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