Singled Out: Michael Pollack's Chances Are (Billy Joel)
I started writing "Chances Are" when I was asked to write a song for the finale of the Jeff Probst Show. The producers wanted me to perform an original song about my experience with Billy Joel at Vanderbilt University back in January.
Unfortunately I only had five days before I was heading into the studio to record my self-titled EP. I began writing lyrics on my phone as I walked through downtown Nashville and the first lyric that came to mind was 'chances are this chance won't come again'.
Right away I knew that was going to be the tag line of the chorus. Within five minutes I had the chorus ready to go:
You may be alive but are you living
I walked back to my dorm room and put together a simple melody for the chorus and then I started to consider the verses. I wanted the song to address the type of person that typically gets swallowed by a big moment and becomes so overcome with nerves that he or she misses an opportunity. Although it may not appear so from the video with Billy Joel, I am that exact person. So I went onto YouTube and watched the video of the performance and tried to relive the nerves I was experiencing as I asked one of my biggest inspirations to share the stage with me. As the anxiety started creeping in, I pulled out my phone and described what I was feeling. I wanted to make the verses conversational, as if to make this person who is struggling to understand that other people go through the same setbacks.
Within the next few days I completed the bridge, tightened up the verses, and found a catchy riff to open up the song and tie all of the pieces together.
I can only hope that when people listen to "Chances Are", they are reminded that everyone gets nervous in the biggest moments. You just have to push through and make the best of an opportunity when it presents itself.