The whole Honestly project has been magical in every way. Every day, I thank the Man above for blessing me by giving me the right people at the right time to make this project happen. It all started with…
The Farm Couple: If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, you know we have no social attitudes here. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous or a nobody. Rich or poor. If you have 20 bucks to gamble, you’re welcome here.
One of my favorite pastimes is riding the tram between Treasure Island and The Mirage and people watching. Since “everybody” comes here, it’s a great place to see the cross-section of the human race.
On any given day you can be sitting next to a movie star, a newlywed couple, a hooker, a family on their way to see the dolphins, a man cheating on his wife, a bunch of young drunk girls wearing tiaras leaving a bachelorette party, people from Germany who think wearing Speedos in public is acceptable! 🙂
My favorite was a “200 year-old” couple who clearly left their farm in Iowa that morning for perhaps their 100 year wedding anniversary. They were wearing their best “Sunday Go to Meeting” overalls, and it looked like it was the first time they left the farm in their entire lives!
Initially, I was laughing at them inside. Then I noticed they were holding hands. And they both had a twinkle in their eye, a clear spark. This couple was even more in love then the day they married! I was so envious! They knew something that the rest of us didn’t – how that whole “‘Till death to us part” thing is supposed to work!
I knew right then that that’s what I wanted out of life. I wanted to be on a rocking chair in my retirement years holding hands with a woman I was still heads over heels in love with.
AJ: Fast forward a year to AJ, the woman who inspired the song. I’ve fallen in love a zillion times. I’ve stumbled thru life thinking love is ONE big feeling. AJ showed me love is layers, each needing attention and nurturing to blossom. If you trust someone enough to explore each layer together, the cumulative effect is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. I was blessed to have AJ in my life to teach me one of life’s most valuable lesson.
Brian: Inspiration hits when you’re doing mundane tasks like shaving or driving. Something about your right brain is doing stuff it knows by rote, so it frees up your creative left brain to do it’s creative thing.
My friend Brian invited a bunch of us to a resort on the coast for a weekend. AJ was among the invitees, and it was this weekend she officially ended the relationship.
Of course, it triggered the “I have to write another heartbreak song” gene inside me. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. That wasn’t what this relationship was about. I chose one moment in time…. the day she said it’s time to get serious… and wrote about what it feels like when you first realize you’re in love with your partner, and you plan out your entire lives together – all the way through to the rocking chair years.
On the mundane drive back from Del Mar, California to Vegas, the whole song came to me. So thanks for the invitation Brian. Without you, there would be no Honestly! Pause… while Brian hits his head against the wall 🙂
Jen, Kim and Debbie: I won’t expound, but on a trip to Colorado, these 3 women were a direct part of what happened in the creation of the song. If they didn’t unknowingly play their parts as they did, there would not be an Honestly.
His suggestions, his additions, his not letting me settle for something because I was tired… added a new depth to the song that took it to another level.
While the world will refer to this as a Billy Kay song, it’s all Gene’s!
Enrique: Gene plays the Michael Bolton role in the Legends in Concert show and has met a lot of talented musicians. His first GREAT suggestion was to NOT let me play lead guitar and use his friend Enrique.
Wow! Enrique has more talent then anyone I’ve ever heard! I could listen to him play forever. And a great ear! We’d say “We need a riff here”, and he would instinctively know the best possible riff to add.
In total, he plays SIX guitars on this track!
April: April is the person who does band reviews for The Las Vegas Weekly. I submitted my songs and assumed I’d never hear back.
She not only added the song, it was the most downloaded song for 3 weeks in a row!
April inspired me to “keep on pushin'”!
Jeremy Cloe: The director, Jeremy – and his whole team – were yet another magical encounter. I go to the same mini-mart every day for my coffee and paper. Over the years, I’ve grown to know the owners. One morning, the whole place was lit up and there were camera cranes. Looked like a Hollywood set. Turns out Jeremy was a friend of the owners also.
I had my own ideas for this video, but I trusted him and gave him carte blanche on how to achieve it. And he made magic! I just stood where I was told to stand, and his eye was spot-on! I couldn’t have asked for a better version.
We sent out a second, more detailed casting call, stating it was a country music video about falling in love. A hundred more lingerie shots! We even got one from a celebrity who’s name recognition alone would have put the video on the charts.
As much as I’m a fan of beautiful women, I didn’t want a “stunning model playing a part”. I wanted the female lead to be as genuine as the emotions in the song.
Then we got Victoria. What a blessing! Yes, she has looks that… go on forever! But in real life – and it comes across in the video – she’s genuine. She’s someone’s daughter. She’s someone’s neighbor. She’s just one of the girls. In the proposal scene, you can see in her eyes a 6-year old girl who wants what we all want… to fall in love and have her own “Happy Ever After”.
Of course we also used her looks for the “eye-candy” shots!! Wouldn’t you? 🙂
I don’t know what the video would have been like without Victoria, but I’m glad we didn’t have to find out.
Missy: A friend who had nothing to do with the video. She put lunch with me up for auction for the Susan G Komen organization. Even though she has a busy schedule, she seems to find the time (I don’t think she sleeps) to participate in all those Run for the Cure events, those Bowling for Breasts events, etc.
When I did the auction – which I did solely because I had a lot of one liners about what I did for women’s breasts 🙂 – it changed me.
There are always people less fortunate or in worse situations then we are. Helping others shows the human race has advanced enough to be compassionate, and it’s an overwhelming feeling to be a part of it.
Because of her, I get to contribute to worthy causes and experience a “heart high” every time my songs are played.
To everyone involved, thanks for your magic.
All my best,