When the Lights Go Down
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As a musician and composer, few things can bring as much joy in the musical realm than a successful collaboration. When Jonathan Hadley first approached me to work on arranging an orchestral backing to his track, “When the Lights Go Down”, I was nervous; when he told why he wrote it, I was darn near petrified. In his own words:

When the Lights Go Down was written shortly after my sister passed away from cancer. She suffered through for two years beyond her life expectancy timeframe, during which she never seemed to focus much on herself, or her condition, but worried far more about what her eventual passing would change in the lives of those she left behind. It caused me to think about the same scenario for those I would leave behind and changed forever the way I think about death, and departure.

Knowing this changed my whole approach to the arrangement. I tried not to deviate too much, using Jonathan’s original vocal take as my guide. I tried to keep the solo instruments purposefully unobtrusive and retained some of the motifs from the original track; the piano being the main one. I think the swells helped to bring the emotion to the forefront, something I know Jonathan was keen to portray.

There were several moments when I considered adding more, but each time I considered it, it felt like I would reduce the delicacy that I was striving for. As a result the arrangement was simpler than I had originally envisaged it to be, as can be seen from the image below.


I’ve always loved strings for portraying emotion, I think the versatility of the instrument for this is largely unmatched. I’d love one day to see this played by a full string section.

Showing Jonathan the initial stages of the track was a nerve wracking experience, but only because I was worried that my interpretation had been wrong. Though the arrangement could be seen as reasonably straightforward, I still wanted to make sure I captured his vision, so I was pleased when he replied with:

Oh wow Cobey. That’s beautiful bro, I mean really beautiful. And perfect.

I really hope you can find the time time to listen to this thought-provoking and emotional composition. I feel so privileged to have gotten to work with Jonathan on a piece that means so much to him.