It's not often you'll hear a story about label interference making a record better, so let's marvel at Hey Rosetta!'s Second Sight.
The band was twice short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize and has been nominated for a Juno Award - the Canadian equivalent of the a Grammy - and Second Sight has been warmly received. SputnikMusic.com described it as "a collection of profoundly beautiful and well-arranged songs that I'm sure will stand the test of time."
Yet the story of its creation shows some of the opportunity inherent in a little adversity.
The Canadian septet had finished recording the album's 11 songs, and the band's label liked it, but ... the staff felt it needed a single, something to launch it. Singer/guitarist/pianist/songwriter Tim Baker - in a recent phone interview promoting the band's April 24 Communion Tour gig at Rozz-Tox - said he disagreed.
"We thought we had a great record, and we had to go back in" to the studio, he said of the band's frustration. Hey Rosetta! assented because they also wanted to make the album as commercially viable as possible, "to get it out to people."
But writing to grab people's attention is difficult, and something that was foreign to Baker as a songwriter. "I'd never written a single before," he said. "We'd gotten this far just playing our sprawling tunes and touring all the time. If we were going to try to get something on the radio, then I really wanted it to be moving and really mean something to me. And hopefully be one of those songs that isn't just skin-deep, kind of asinine music. ... A song that actually reaches past and does something to you. ...
"We took it as a challenge ... trying to write something short and catchy but meaningful. ... I think we got it, but it was a trial for sure."