The true story of landing the perfect sync
With creators of blockbusters like The Matrix Reloaded and Thor and a brilliant international cast it’s no wonder that Sense8 is one of the biggest Nexflix successes. The binge-worthy show is about eight strangers from different corners of the world who find themselves connected by a violent vision. With the diverse cast of characters finding they have the ability to connect to each other’s thoughts and actions, the series is full of mystery, intrigue and just plain good story-telling.
When season 2 was released on May 5th Stella Rhymes, one of Vocalizr’s top vocalists, was more excited than your average fan. Escalate, a song for which she provided the vocals, and which was entirely Vocalizr produced, was used in a pivotal scene in one of the episodes of season 2 of Sense8.
Musician and DJ ONDRAY and producer Stano Simor were in talks about a new summer single and went in search of a singer/songwriter to complete the track. They found Stella through Vocalizr. After creating a gig, including an instrumental demo of the song and ideas for the collaboration a long list of vocalists applied. Stella was exactly what Stano, Wiktor (another producer) and ONDRAY were looking for, the gig was awarded to her, and work began on what would become the track Escalate – a big success for all of them.
Given that ONDRAY, Stano and Wiktor are based in the Czech Republic and Stella is based in Australia the convenience of Vocalizr’s online collaboration tools was invaluable. “We really utilized the online Vocalizr Studio, sending messages, lyrics and audio back and forth until we were all happy with the finished track. Stella squeezed several versions of hooks and we chatted throughout about next steps in the Vocalizr Studio.” They explain how it was to work together. Afterwards, Stella booked a professional studio where she sang the complete vocal line and sent it to Stano, Wiktor and ONDRAY who put the finishing touches on the track.
It was agreed from the start that the track would have a fun, summer party vibe and the song title would be Escalate. So Stella found inspiration for the lyrics and vocal melody in the uplifting production of the beat but once she began to write the lyrics a deeper meaning came through. She set out to write a party anthem keeping the title in mind and weaved in a strong motivational theme of escalating to your higher or true self.
It is very fitting that the song was used specifically for a scene where one of the main characters comes out and announces to the world his true self – that he is gay. It is the lyrics and the uplifting production that make the track such a perfect fit for that scene.
Escalate is played as one of the main characters, who goes to great lengths to pretend to be a straight man, is invited onto the main stage at a Gay Pride Parade where he announces publicly that he is gay. It’s a huge moment of immense joy and relief for this character that he can finally just be who he is. Stella explains why this scene in particular means so much to everyone involved in creating the track: “We all support the LGBTQIA community and have many close friends and family members within the community so it is a cause that is not only close to home but also one that rings true for all of us as we feel privileged to be living our truth and wish the same for everyone.”
Luck and Persistence
So how did a Vocalizr produced track end up on a major TV show? Stella was a fan of Sense8 from the first season and from her personal interest in regularly reading up on the show she came across an inspiring article about the show’s Music Editor and Additional Composer Ethan Stoller. His extensive expertise and career history together with his down to earth nature struck a chord with Stella so she decided to try her luck and reach out to him.
To her delight he responded! For one whole year she messaged him regularly and sent songs for his consideration whilst being mindful not to bombard him or be pushy. A few months ago her persistence paid off when he delivered the good news that Escalate was selected for the show. Getting a response from someone of such calibre in the entertainment industry was extremely lucky, but it helped that Stella was a big fan of the show and had an intimate understanding of the types of songs previously used and ones that could potentially work well in future episodes. That is the power of taking a chance and reaching out into the world in a genuine way.
Vocalizr and sense8 have one very important thing in common – they both perfectly highlight the power of strangers coming together and connecting. Stella sums it up perfectly:
“We were 4 strangers who connected from opposite ends of the world via Vocalizr sharing our thoughts and skills to create a song together. This song can be heard in Sense8 a show about 8 strangers from around the world who find they have the ability to connect with each other’s thoughts and skills and together they overcome obstacles and create joyous moments together. So this whole journey has become somewhat of a testament to the universal desire for human connection and the power in collaborative creation.”