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Friday, June 08, 2007

MY ONE & ONLY - THE MAKING OF...

As some of you may know, My One and Only is my best known song.
In Singapore, anyway.
A few days ago, Jack (from EIC) called me to request that I send him a MP3 of the song which he wanted to get played on local radio. Why not? Won't be the first time!
Which got me thinking about the little journey the song has taken from creation to being requested for 14 years after it debuted on the radio...so here it is ... the making of My One and Only.
I believe it was 1984 and I was trying to write a special tune for my missus (then-GF of course!) on the piano. There were basically two influences going on in my head at that particular time. Paul Young's version of Marvin Gaye's Wherever I Lay My Hat and the Style Council's You're the Best Thing. I believe I wrote the lyrics at the same time as the melody, which explains the throwaway nature of the words - "Nights of extacy" - please!?!
Once completed, I proceeded to tape it on a cassette and gave it to my then-GF as part of a series of mix-tapes I used to flood her with. I still have it at home somewhere, and it sounds positively horrible. I mean that - *ugh*. Sounded more like Manilow than Marvin...
Sometime in the late 80s, I recorded a version with Kid, and I think Toto's Africa also figured somewhere, somehow in the grand scheme of things. But it sounded cool & I was pleased with it. I probably have this version somewhere at home as well...
In the early 90s, I hooked up with Ric and ultimately passed him cassettes of my music and he fell in love with My One and Only. I had by then come out with some demo cassettes of stuff recorded with Kid & JM under the Watchmen name but never included the My One and Only demo as I was saving it for a proper recording deal, if and when it came.
And it did, in 1993 - through the kind recommendation of BigO mag - signed a contract with Odyssey Music and began to record Democracy with Kid. I remember being very nervous when doing the vocals for My One and Only, not helped by Ric videoing the event. Hope he's burnt the tapes, I looked awful...
Anyways, once the album was completed, Odyssey sent the CD to the various radio stations, highlighting My One and Only. Initially only Heart 91.3 (remember?) championed the album and single, propelling the song to #1 on its singles charts. What a cheap thrill that was!!!
Now, 98.7 basically ignored Democracy and My One and Only save for Suresh Menon. Suresh was kind enough to invite me to the TGIW event at Zouk, opening for pop diva Tiffany (google her!). Before I sang, the 98.7 DJs all ignored me. I was really scared stiff at singing before about a thousand kids but when I did, they sang along - super duper high! Amazing...
When I was done, the DJs now began to cozy up to me and saying how much they liked the songs etc etc. Even Florence Lian, then head of 98.7, spoke about the "power of radio" but what she failed to acknowledge was that Heart 91.3 had done all the hard work...
In any case, 98.7 began to play the song more and more, it peaked at #3 in their charts and at its height, the song was played 8 times a day! Which translated into a fair amount of album sales - not that much mind you but I believe Odyssey made some money out of the whole exercise.
Which probably accounts for why 14 years later, people still remember the song - all down to the constant exposure - there's no subsitute for it, my friends.
And so... yes, it starts with My One and Only but hopefully, it does not end there...
... in any case, if you've never heard the song before and would like to, you can email me and subject to your promising to insert a positive comment about it at this blog, I'll send over the MP3 to you... whilst stocks last and all that...hurry!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Mattews,

This may sound far fetched, but I been looking for the song "My One and Only" since 1994. I was so young back then and i didn't even know who sang it. The time I last heard was over the radio in my primary school days.

None of my friends could tell me who sang it, despite my pathetic imitation of crooning the chorus to them. As I only know the song title and not the artist or band, I never manage to find it anywhere.

I'm so happy today that I found the MP3. After 10 over years of searching, the first thing I did after I found out who the artist, was to goggle, where I found your blog. Your song represented 4 minutes of my childhood, completes my sweet memories. Thank you for the music.

Yours Sincerely,
Lucias

Kevin Mathews said...

Wow, Lucias, you really made my day, man. Please gimme an email address so I can send you the mp3 asap.

arky said...

Greetings mr Mathews,

I was a teenager when i first heard your song "My one and Only".
Your song, for me, remains one of ,if not the best, song to emerge from this lil island. It's evergreen melody lingers on in my head over the years.

You see mr Mathews, I sang your song to my then girlfriend in my secondary school. And now, almost 14 years on, I'd like to use your song yet again as a dedication to someone very dear to me now(if you don't mind that is).

I really do sincerely hope I may have the honour of receiving the song from the very person who wrote it and along with it his blessings as well.It would mean a lot to me.

God Bless you Mr Mathews and may meaningful words flow from you always.

And urmm...my addy is gantenque@hotmail.com

Cheers,
Arky

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin, an excellent song, i heard it a couple of times a long time ago and the song still sticks in my head after all these years. I've been trying to get the MP3 of the song but could only find versions of this song on Youtube.

Please do send me a copy, thank you!

Somvira
email: somvira@yahoo.com

marilyn said...

Hi, I've been crazy about this song since my school days, and it really brought back a lot of memories, hope that you can send me the mp3 of this song (hope I'm not too late).

Anonymous said...

Hello there! I love the song so much till i search for it. Glad to chance upon your site. Can u pls email me the song at :
Cheryl_lims@yahoo.com


Thanks

Rahul said...

Suresh Menon is my uncle. He passed away in 2004.

[s: alt] said...

Hi Rahul

So sorry to hear about your uncle's passing. He was a true blue supporter of Singapore music and someone who made a difference to the 90s music scene. May he rest in peace.

Thanks, Kevin