Singled Out: Dany Horovitz's Be Good

Keavin Wiggins | 12-05-2023

Singled Out: Dany Horovitz's Be Good

Canadian singer-songwriter Dany Horovitz just released his new album "Phanerorhyme" and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about the song "Be Good". Here is the story:

"Be Good" is the advice that I would give to my nieces and nephews if they ever asked me, written and produced an intimate acoustic track. It's the advice I give to myself. Normally, I write stories instead of truly personal songs, but all of my songs have a bit of me in them and some have more than others. This is one of the "more" songs.

A few years ago, my eldest brother, Robert, came by my place in Toronto for coffee and dropped a bombshell on me: that he was moving his family out west. Our two other brothers and their families had already moved out west for different reasons, so that left just me and our parents in Ontario. Robert and my sister-in-law had a few kids, and they weren't babies anymore, but they were still definitely children. When Robert left, I sat down at my guitar to play some music, and Be Good sort of poured out of me as a meditation on what I heard.
What was going through my mind was, we never have enough time with the people that we love and so how we spend the time we do have is the most important decision we can make in our lives. I envisioned myself some years in the future when, or if, some young person in my life asked me for advice. And what came out of me is a lot of the stuff I tell myself - forgive others, forgive yourself, do your best and you'll feel all right through life. I dislike preachy songs, and I wouldn't have recorded Be Good if I thought it was preachy, but it is contemplative.

Be Good is a pretty simple song, musically and lyrically. I suppose a lot of my songs are. The chords and finger-picking pattern are easy to move through, and the melody makes for fun singing, at least in my voice. In other words, its the kind of song that's easy for me to get lost in without having to remember too much or do too much work, but at the same time has a full sound and fills me with great joy to play. I love it when things work out like that.

In the studio I chatted with my producer, Calvin Hartwick, about how to construct the song. We agreed to keep it simple with a stripped back, bedroom sound without drums. For so much of my music, I work with Sean Royle, who is an absolute musical genius. He plays every instrument beautifully and his contributions make my songs really soar and normally I let him do his thing. With Be Good, I was attached to the finger-picking pattern and wanted him to replicate it so I was showing him what I was doing. Calvin and Sean thought it would make sense for me to play the guitar so that's what I did. The guitar happened to be dropped down, and I was going to tune it, but Calvin said he liked where the song sat in my voice for the recording. So that's why the recording is a step down from my live performances. It is also the rare case where I am recording guitar and vocals together. Sean added some light keys and Kara MacKinlay added strings, and voila.

Be Good is the last song on my album "Phanerorhyme" because it is such a lullaby, and so intimate. It is also thematically similar to "Passing Through" which is the final song my first album, "Free Times". I like ending albums on a soft note, a pleasant goodbye.

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

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