I typically categorize the songs on this upcoming album into three groups: pre-pandemic, post-pandemic, and songs that were written well before the pandemic but might as well have been written during the pandemic. This first song fits two categories. Two out of three ain’t bad, right? (Rest in peace, Meat Loaf, and Jim Steinman).
In 2019, I was dating this girl who might as well have been a Disney princess come to life. She was the sweetest thing, with big hazel eyes that were just unreal. Honestly, she looked like a legit Disney princess, and she had the personality to match it. Not just that, but was a gorgeous singer. In December of 2019, I asked her if she could be her own Disney princess, what would her princess be like. She told me she’d love to be a fairy princess- very earthy and woodland. So, I decided to attempt to write a musical around that for her. The musical was garbage, but it did give me a few good songs.
“That First Step” was supposed to be that “I want” song that you’d hear early in the first act that sets up the main character’s motivations. The song had a whole other name at first, but much of the verses were the same. Flash forward to July 2020, through all the craziness, I found a sliver of inspiration. I thought, “I’m getting sick and tired or feeling sorry for myself.” Then this other line was stuck in my head, “Do you ever get that sense or feeling that you were born for so much more?” That was very profound to me. I went back to the songs from the musical, came across those old verses and tried writing it again.
Talk about Christmas in July, but one song that influenced the theme of “That First Step” was “One Foot in Front of Another” from Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It may be a seasonal movie, but that’s an inspirational song for any day.
When it came to arrangement, I was heavily inspired by the Tarzan soundtrack by Phil Collins and Mark Mancina. It is easily my favorite Disney soundtrack. Plus, the jungle vibes were perfect for the woodland feeling I wanted when I was originally writing the musical. This is the first song that I presented to the band, and I think our efforts on it laid out the groundwork for everything else that was to come.
Special thanks to all who played on this track: Alex Hitrick, Ben Grant, and Joe Benevento!