Singled Out: The Life Electric's The Real You

The Life Electric guitarist Ben Leang tells us about their brand new single "The Real You", the title track from their forthcoming album, which will be released on March 25th. Here is the story:

One of the measures of a truly great song is how timeless it becomes. As songwriters, it's easy to fall in love with a new composition, much in the way a new romance starts. It's fresh, it's exciting - you feel as if you can take on the world. But as artists, timelessness is measured by audience reaction, not how continuously enamored you are with your own song. So you may have written what you think is a great song, but until it finds an audience, there's no sense of legitimacy to it. Such is the case with our new single, The Real You, which went from being one of my favorite unused songs to being the title track of our new album. It was just waiting patiently for years for the right home.

When I wrote the song, I was still a recent transplant to Boston. What I didn't realize at the time was that finding a new home is isolating, and all the people you depended on for socializing are all a thousand miles away. But while I was ready to connect all the new friends I could find, that was easier said than done. Whether it was my coworkers or other musicians on the scene, people seemed content in staying in their own circle. Or maybe Midwestern temperament is peculiar if you're from the East Coast. Whatever it was, through that longing for connection, I got to be more perceptive of who people really were, and even further than that, I got pretty good at sensing people's emotional baggage as well. I've heard that our core personalities are solidified by the age of seven, and that from a certain perspective, it's actually our life experiences that can get in the way of our true, authentic selves. Well, that's what I was getting from people time and time again: their personal history was preventing me from truly connecting with them.

So that's what I wrote about in this song, and hence the main refrain of the chorus: "...and I'm searching for the real you." I was looking to connect with the best in people, but sometimes what I got was their baggage.

After I finished writing it, I spent a lot of time recording a pretty little demo of it using my home computer. And I was really proud of it. But, all I could do was play it for a few friends, and The Real You needed a BAND behind it. So for years it languished, waiting while I eventually joined different bands, none of which could use the song. Some bands weren't the right genre, while other bands had the insecure lead singer who couldn't do "other people's" songs.

But as luck would have it, my bassist Cory and I eventually found ourselves in need of a new band. In walks Joey, the guy who would eventually become our lead singer. Tall, six feet something, long hair, full beard, already looking like the rock star he is. He says to me that he likes our sound, but, "what was this track on this old Myspace page?" And I thought, "oh yeah, I've forgotten about that song at this point!" And the rest, as they say, is history. I give Joey all the credit for loving the track and championing it from the start. My song is now the band's song, and it's found a home on our new album. Time will tell if the track will really be great, but after all these years, The Real You will finally get its turn.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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