Inspiration can come at the most unexpected moments. Owl and four-time Grammy winner Brandon Paak Anderson
(who plays Anderson Paack), these peak creative moments can occur between 3 and 9 a.m. Unsurprisingly, his original Oscar-nominating song, “Fire in the Sky” from Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, came together in the wee hours.
“We went to the studio and ‘Fire in the Sky’ was a song that we pretty much came up with, for example, at 4 am,” says Anderson. “Right before we left, we were in some kind of delirium and started writing another song, and it became ‘Fire in the Sky’. This is completely different “.
Anderson, who says there are about 50 versions of the song, originally wrote the track without seeing the movie. He spoke to his friend and co-star of the film, Aquafina, and its director, Destin Daniel Cretton, for initial inspiration, but watching an early cut helped him focus on what turned out to be optimistic and soulful closer to the film. He was also able to hear the demo in context as it plays a key moment at the end of the film, when Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Aquafina) are interrupted by Doctor Strange’s troubled colleague, Wong (Benedict Wong). ).
“Often times, when people like a melody before it’s done, it’s easy to ruin it. You immediately start to overproduce or change it, ”notes Anderson. “So we got together and [Cretton] played us a rough cut, and I saw them go through the portal and all. And we already had these sound effects like psychedelic sounds and the like. And I had no idea that it would fit so perfectly with their passage through the portal, and then the rhythm would subside. “
And of course there was a problem with Cretton falling in love with what turned out to be a very unfinished demo.
“I mean there were a few things that remained, but some of the lines, I didn’t even speak English. It was just gibberish, Anderson says timidly. “And he was like,“ This is it! “And I thought,” I need to say the words here. ” Do you know? And I just made sure to keep the essence without changing too much. God bless him. I sent him so many different versions because I constantly found different things wrong, I had to fix certain things, and he just went on the wire with us. “
When he received additional feedback from his Silk Sonic co-writer and songwriter on the track, Bruno Mars, another round of rework began. “I started to finish it. Then I played that for Bruno, and then I had a whole new list of problems that I needed to solve because Bruno said, “This is great, but it takes this to do that. He needs it. ” And he came there as the mathematician that he is and pointed out a few things that needed to be changed. “
While busy working on Silk Sonic’s debut album “An Evening With Silk Sonic” during this period, Anderson admitted that time was not always on his side.
“I didn’t even know if this song would come out,” says Anderson. But the production team liked it and they really wanted to include it. “He was still in the demonstration stage. I came back and we started giving it up, doing different things that needed to be done. “
He adds: “I mean there are certain songs, there are some booby traps in them, and you just have to line them all up and figure it out. And this one had a lot of them from start to finish. “
This project meant something very special to the Oxnard, California native. Especially after other impressions of the soundtrack, when he felt there was no cohesion or “real atmosphere.” I remember the fact that his little son Soul Rashid, who is heard at the end of the recording, was part of the team along with colleagues Dumbfoundead and Rogét Chahayed.
“Being able to work with them on this and being able to work with Roget for the first time means something,” says Anderson. “He did a few big recordings, but we tell each other that this is one of our favorite recordings I’ve ever done. And to make it our first recording and to include it in this film … it meant a lot. “