It took us over ten years to write and record an album of integrated boy/girl songs that parallel our own story of love-wreck, reboot, searching, meeting . . .
From Heartache to a Turning-Point Thought
Jingyu and I were both coming out of very bad recent-past relationships. I guess most everyone has had their share of relationship drama. When I met Jingyu, I had already recorded three songs inspired by my psycho-ex-girlfriend. Around that time I asked myself, “Todd, are you going to keep repeating the same pattern over and over forever?” So I steeled myself to resist hopscotching right into another doomed relationship. And I had a realization…
The first two songs on the album, Find Me Find You: A Story are about heartache but in the third song, “Begin Where It Ends,” the man has a turning-point thought: “Can’t I use this failure to guide me through a truly different door? Find a really good woman, for whom I can change myself, to give her more.” And the woman grew from her past as well when she sings: “But I should now learn not to fall for a man not right for me.”
Like a Broadway Musical
Back in the real world: Jingyu and I met on Match.com. One of the things we share is our love for music, and Jingyu sings like an angel. I’d always done my art alone, but the “new me” tried something different: we worked on a song together for fun, and it turned out great. I then saw how all the songs I was already working on were about relationship, so we decided to attempt a whole album of integrated boy/girl songs. We took our time and enjoyed the process.
(By the way, all the songs are totally free to hear and download at our website www.ToddandJingyu.com, there’s no signup or anything.)
In the middle of the album—song number six, “Boy and Girl,” video below)—the characters meet and have a first date. This song has three intertwining vocal parts and at the end, the boy and girl’s thoughts about the other person come together. People say the album is like a Broadway musical, and we love to hear that.
The End of Clever and Cynical
The album starts sad but then things get better and better. As an artist, I was tired of being clever and cynical and we both wanted this work to ultimately be positive.
Song number nine, “Talk About Love,” is something different in that it’s mostly the
characters just talking about and exploring universal ideas on relationship… embracing commitment … aiming to go deeper. People have told us it’s the most meaningful song on the album.
A Full-Circle Connection to the Future
The last song, “Independent Girl,” is something I had previously written for my sunlit daughter. It brings things around full circle, and it’s about a connection to the future.
The one thing I regret is that I don’t love my voice. I’m not and I never wished to be a singer. Therefore, I wanted to hire a more refined vocalist to do my parts, but Jingyu said “I like your voice, Todd, and this is our album – it’s us.” And she does have a point.
The Important Topic
All in all, we’re very satisfied with the album. It’s a reflection of our own story, which ended up as a super-loving and ever-passionate marriage. Although we don’t see very many happy couples, I can say we are proof that success in love is possible. And we feel that romantic relationship is an important topic.
Our album is popular in China – we’ve been written up in big news publications and interviewed for podcasts. Chinese couples tend to stay out late and party with co-workers, which hurts marriages, but both the women and men relate to this album as something important because they seem to be ready for change on that front.
From the “Talk About Love” song, after the characters discuss some ideas…
The male asks: “Can’t man plus woman be a more fully-effective human team? Can’t they potentially have a better and happier life than either could separately?”
And the woman answers: “Of course, they complement each other, they can benefit from the strength of the opposite gender.”
We say yes to that!
Photo credit: Getty Images