I am unofficially releasing Romeo + Juliet online. I completed this track over a month ago and the label hasn't done anything about it. Maybe they are busy. I got crap from them when I leaked the acoustic preview. I wonder how they will react to this! (Oh well! Screw it. I am retiring anyway.)
Speaking of getting crap, I have decided to include a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) with this song because judging from the comments and feedback I'm getting, I'd hate having to repeat myself.
Q: Why Ebi and Nikki?
A: Why not? It's not my call anyway. Ask the music labels.
Q: Why such a song for them?
A: They'd expect a fast song from me. A happy duet like "Saling Terpesona". But how many times can I write the same song over again? But it was a challenge because Ebi and Nikki do not have much in common musically. He is a little bit rock. She is a little bit urban. Instead of finding that common ground, I decided for them to go to a totally different place. (For a moment, it felt like Hell. Other times, it felt like Batu Pahat.) And also, personally for me, I wanted to do a Malay song with the kind of class that Azlan Abu Hassan has with his ballads.
Q: Why does the string part sound familiar? I think I heard it in the Sims game.
A: The string line is an interpolation of a section from an opera by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1869 titled "Romeo & Juliet". (What a coincidence!) That section of the opera is popularly known as the love theme and it has been used many times to support visuals of love and romance.
Q: Why is the song so complicated?
A: I do realise it's complicated for a pop song. Perhaps it is more complex than complicated. I do think it's good to sometimes have something that is complex with a lot of layers to peel. I hope people can listen to this song many many times for many years to come without getting bored and still discover new things about the song.
Q: Do you think Ebi and Nikki will be able to sing this song live?
A: Yes. They might sing it differently but yes then can sing it live.
Q: How did you begin writing a song like this?
A: I consider this song a work of God because there is nothing from my music background that makes me capable of such things on my own. It did start with me wanting to do a different kind of ballad because I hate the current state of ballads. I wanted to do this Beatles sounding thing with interesting chord progressions. Then I got the melody. Then I realised how classically European it sounded. One thing lead to another and the concept for Romeo and Juliet came up. But the best part was, I could overlay the chord progression for Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet" over my chorus and it worked! (OK, so I had to make some adjustments here and there but it was close.) It was one of those moments for me. Friday night. About midnite.
Q: Why Romeo and Juliet?
A: Lyrically, I wanted a story. I sold the idea to Vernon Kedit and I think he reluctantly bought it. He must have thought I was insane and I was just making things complicated for myself. He has generally been very supportive of my career and sometimes he gives me way too much rope to hang myself. And because I have this thing for having a male writer write lyrics for a male singer and a female writer for a female singer, I wanted to have Ad Samad and Nurfatima to write the lyrics. So it was their first time working together.
Q: The title is "Romeo + Juliet". Why isn't the title lyric sung?
A: The thing here is Ebi is Romeo and Nikki is Juliet. They are singing their story. The only time Romeo and Juliet are mentioned is at the end of the bridge by the male choir in the perspective of a third person to describe their deaths.
Q: I have no idea what Ebi and Nikki are singing about. I am more focused on the music. Why?
A: That is normal. You do not need to seek professional help for that. There is nothing wrong with you. The reason for this is because the music is huge and it's easier to get lost in the music with so much going on. And the music, especially the last chorus instrumental is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written (I am referring to Tchaikovsky's parts!) Truth be told, my melody pales in comparison. But eventually, your focus will be on the vocals and lyrics.
Q: Are you happy with the outcome?
A: Yes. I am very proud of this song. Although I wish I could have recorded a live cannon fire at the end like in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. (OK. Not really. I just want to fire a cannon!)
Q: Other comments?
A: I hope that this song can be performed in a context of musical and tell the story of Romeo + Juliet. I would also love to see Ramli Sarip duet with Anita Sarawak, or Faizal Tahir with Farah Asyikin. And all of them in spandex.
Q: Production credits?
A: Lyrics by Ad Samad and Nurfatima. Guitars by Jamie Wilson. Bass by Kelly. Male choir parts by Hazami's guys. Violins, viola and cello by these people contracted by Genervie Kam. Mastered by Nick Lee. Faizal Tahir and Jenny Chin gave emotional support and encouragement. Michael Ang hates the song. I produced, wrote and arranged the music and vocals, recorded, mixed, played the piano, harpsichord, and drum parts.
Q: Were you able to spell "Tchaikovsky" before this?
A: No. I still can't without double-checking.