A couple of months ago, I started a blog series called “Story Behind The Song”, where I write a little bit about the background for a particular song. I already wrote about my song, “The Sun Will Shine Again” (you can read that post here) and this time I will write about “Little Boy”. This song, like the first one, is off of my debut EP, released back in 2008, and is one of my more popular songs.
To me it’s important to write song lyrics that are meaningful and often deeply emotional, uplifting or a combination of the two. When writing a song, I always start with the lyrics (well, most of the time, anyway), and to me they are just as important as the melody and production of the song. Although I suppose most people, myself included, decide whether they like a song based primarily on the melody and production, having meaningful lyrics is still important. When I write a song, the melody and production springs from the lyrics, and they are what creates the mood for the song.
“Little Boy” was conceived while traveling on the train down from Los Angeles to San Diego. I find I often get inspired to write while traveling, and especially on trains for some reason. I suppose it is a combination of the movement of the train, the idea of being on my way somewhere and the view outside the train window. The view on the train ride from Los Angeles to San Diego is particularly nice, as parts of the journey goes down by the ocean. I find it calming, and it gets me in the right frame of mind for writing.
As I have written about in my bio and in other blog entries, I grew up with severe mental illness in the family. My mother had schizo-affective disorder since before I was born, and my older brother tragically also developed severe mental illness in his early 20s. He had moved away to go to college, but had a psychotic break while there, and had to come home and live with the family again for a while. It was quite challenging to be around him at that time, as he was very withdrawn and could be aggressive at times, so it definitely put a strain on the family. And of course we all felt bad for him, too.
I have fond memories of my brother from when I was a little girl growing up. He used to read to me sometimes, and we would play soccer together, go cross-country skiing, or just talk about stuff that was going in our lives. Unfortunately, after my brother got sick, he was never really the same again. He became withdrawn and difficult to talk to, having strange ideas and laughed to himself often. It was very sad to see, and difficult to deal with in many ways. Although he moved into his own place in time, and I visited him there a couple of times, our interactions were often awkward and I didn’t always feel comfortable being around him.
Having grown up with mental illness in such close proximity, I have often thought about what causes mental illness and what goes through the mind of someone who suffers from it. I suppose the former varies from person to person, and can be a myriad of factors including genes, environment, food allergies, viruses and so forth. The latter also varies, as even though someone is mentally ill, they also have their personality and unique experiences, that will influence who they are and how they think. Of course, you can never really fully know what goes on in someone else’s mind, but “Little Boy” was my attempt to get inside my brother’s mind, and try to understand what was going on with him, and how he was experiencing the world.
Check out the song lyrics here, so you can see for yourself my interpretation and thoughts of my brother and his illness. Tragically, my brother took his own life right at the beginning of 2008, and never got to hear the song (it was released just after his death). We didn’t find out until after he passed that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. It didn’t come as a surprise though, as he really became more and more withdrawn into his own twisted reality in his final years. The reason I called the song “Little Boy”, is from the idea that we all have an inner child that is wounded. His inner child was just a bit more wounded than most. I had wished for his inner child to be healed, and to be able to help him in some way, but alas that was not to be. I hope and trust that he is better off where he is now, his soul whole and happy again. I send him love, wherever he is, and I hope he likes the song. ❤️
You can listen to “Little Boy” via my Spotify player below, or in this YouTube video. Although it is a somewhat sad and melancholic song, it is also meant to give hope and healing. I hope you like it too.
Until next time, sending you love & light,