One of the consistent themes throughout Kimberly’s poems is self-discovery. Several of the songs we had already written offered advice (All That Drama, What Haters Do, This Is Your Time, In My Own Skin and Don’t Give In), and a few told a story (Complete, Best of the Best, Girl’s Club, Hip Hop Music and Sisters). None of them were about self-discovery from a teenager’s perspective. This was our opportunity.
Even though we had yet to write a story line for ALL THAT DRAMA the musical, I could envision a single teenage girl talking with a group of friends, explaining to them her new world of self-discovery. It was her coming out party, and her friends all cheered her on. My initial title recommendation, Aim High, was nixed by Joe in favor of FLY HIGH.
Now it was time to find the teenage girl voice. One evening last spring I went to a theater in uptown Charlotte to watch Matt Carlson, singer of Don’t Give In and In My Own Skin, perform in a musical called Next to Normal. Acting opposite him was a girl that caught my eye and ear. She had a beautiful, pure and innocent voice, and totally in control of her talent. I guessed that she was 20 years old or so, playing the role of a teenager. When Matt introduced me to her after their performance, he told me she was only 15. I couldn’t believe it; so much command and composure at such a young age. Her name is Abby Corrigan and I knew she was our girl.
I was still working on our song when we first invited Abby over to my rehearsal studio (we call it the “man cave”). Abby and I worked on my initial melody and lyric ideas. She did a good job taking our song and giving it her own spin, but something was wrong. I just wasn’t pleased with my composition. It needed work. In the following week I re-wrote the entire song, giving it more energy and conviction. When Abby came back for a second rehearsal she was surprised that the song had changed as much as it did. She adapted and gave it her all. Joe loved the changes.
We now had our song and our singer. Our final session was soon in production. FLY HIGH hit the mark.