Studio Campfire Stories: ‘ManMade’ Edition – “For Tina” (feat. Sy Smith)

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“Ayo, I’ve got one question for you…. WHO IS TINA???” © Every damn body

Well…. I’m gonna get to that in a minute..

FIrst, let me break down how the music came about and then I’ll clarify who Tina is. I clearly remember creating this one on a Wednesday afternoon in March 2012. In typical fashion, I can remember laying the drums out first (on the original drafts, the snare has a light single echo, which I ended up not missing at all upon hearing the final mix), which then influenced a chord progression I worked out on the piano to hit right before the “2” and the “4” within each measure. To thicken the chords up some, I layered them with some Rhodes keys that had a panning phase effect on them that created a “spacey” feel when I arpeggiated the chords. The strings that appear at 1:03 were originally only brought in for the hooks of the track and because of its movements, combined with the bass notes that seemed to almost “grow” on each hit reminded me of a movie score. As a result of the feel and the day of the week that it was made, I originally named the instrumental, “Wednesday Soundtrack”. Once everything was finished, I sent it on through to Phonte… The original instrumental was about four and a half minutes long.

This one wasn’t written to for months and musically it’s the “oldest” track on ManMade (all of the music that made the album was completed between March 2012 and January 2013). When Phonte and I spoke about the idea he had for the lyrics, he just told me, “It’s gonna be almost a part two of “Show Me The Way”… I can’t really explain it…. Just wait ’til we record it, you’ll get it when you hear it.” At that particular point in time, the only thing we had vocally on “Show Me The Way” was Carmen Rodgers’ hook, so imagine my reaction when I got Sy Smith’s vocal reference for “For Tina” and I heard her come in immediately with…

“Show me the waaay back baby, show me the waaay back baby…”

I leaned back in my studio chair as if I had just uncovered one of life’s greatest equations…. “AhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHH…. I see now!” It all made sense. The lyrical continuation added cohesiveness, which is always appreciated when producing a full album… On TOP of that, flautist Claudia Hayden (“For Leslie”, “Driving”) was back on board adding light touches of absolutely BEAUTY to the song. When I heard her come in on the intro portion, fluttering those carefully positioned notes, I was like… “Yoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!” …We even positioned it so that it was a MUSICAL continuation of “Show Me The Way” …It felt perfect.

But still, who is Tina?

I wanted to listen to the joint to hear if I was able to catch anything that would have clued me in without Phonte telling me who Tina was in advance. Going through the music, I didn’t hear anything ………until it hit that second half. Have you ever heard a lyric interpolation that sounds familiar as hell, but you can’t seem to place it? Well when I heard Sy sing…

“Show me the love, don’t playa hate me, show me the love don’t playa hate meeee…. Show me the loooooove / Show me the loooooove….”

…that’s exactly how I felt. “I’ve HEARD that before!! Where to I KNOW that LINE from???” Now, I need y’all to follow me on this one. For my Dwele fans and/or those who are familiar with his FIRST release entitled Rize, there was a song on there called “Timeless”. ON the song “Timeless”, there was a young lady who most of you may be familiar with as Airasoul who sang the hook on Slum Village’s “Climax”. Well, Airasoul better known as Tina Marie Glover is the sister of the late, great Baatin OF Slum Village. On Dwele’s “Timeless” featuring Tina Marie, she closes the song with the line…. and THAT is where I remembered hearing it. So, while “For Tina” was serving as a part two of “Show Me The Way”, it more importantly was a tribute to Tina Marie and how dope her contribution to that song was – or just how dope the song was in general. In Phonte’s words… “Maaaaan, I used to RUN that jam!” To me, not only it is a tribute to Tina herself, but an ode to Detroit and all of its TALENT. Shit, I could write a novel on that subject alone.

Soooooo… I hope that clears everything up… Shouts to Tina Marie, Dwe, and to the city of Detroit.

Purchase ManMade HERE • Or on iTunes

5 thoughts on “Studio Campfire Stories: ‘ManMade’ Edition – “For Tina” (feat. Sy Smith)

  1. Thanks for clarifying, Zo! I really like how you give commentary and insight into your music. I’m one of those music heads that likes to read the production notes on an album…so this is great! Keep ’em coming.

    • I’m a liner/production note head as well and I LOVE to hear stories behind music and don’t hesitate to write the stories behind mine. Plus, it always personalized it more…

  2. Reading this and others from you makes me more the supporter of your work. With so much mindlessness played today, your team’s work is more than welcomed or wanted… It’s NEEDED! Thanks Bruh! Oh yeah , and shout out to young Detroit for carrying the Legacy of great music from your hometown.
    Myque Hamma in the Big D! Dallas, Texas!

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