Love Me Now (cover) – Đàn Bầu Remix #23

About one and a half years ago, I was invited to perform at the 12th annual conference of the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Association (UNAVSA). At the time, I hadn’t started my YouTube channel yet (other than the half-dozen videos I had uploaded a decade ago) and I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to play for the them. All I knew was that I wanted to play đàn bầu, and I was afraid of boring these 20-something-year-olds with my regular act of Vietnamese traditional songs.

At the time, I was really into musicians who used loop machines, like the amazing cellist Zoe Keating, so I wanted to do one piece that was just đàn bầu loops. So in between the two other parts of my set (starting with Vietnamese royal court music and ending with cải lương folk opera over the instrumental from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “N*ggas in Paris”), I built up a looped version of John Legend’s “All of Me.” While it was maybe 3 minutes of the entire set, the John Legend joint was revelatory for me, making me really think outside the box in terms of what a đàn bầu could do technically and what I might be able to do in terms of musical production. Since then, I haven’t stopped. I created my channel and started exploring sound and production.

So I have to thank John Legend for a lot. Heck, one of the first concerts I took my wife to when we were dating was a John Legend show during his first album’s debut, so he’s even been helpful for my love life. He’s been a crucial part of the soundtrack of my twenties, so it made sense to come back to him now.

“Love Me Now” was surprisingly difficult to play. It doesn’t lay very well on the đàn bầu no matter what key you choose to play it in. The fast little 16-note riffs in the melody (e.g. the phrase “I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone…” is particularly annoying) require some technically advanced solutions: either you strum through the fast notes with the pick like on a guitar or you pitch-bend through the notes carefully enough to maintain separation between them. I usually don’t practice that much for these pop song covers, but this song made me sweat.

I also really wanted to foreground the way John Legend sings the melody, so I spent a lot of time mimicking his ornamentations too. And though I built the instrumental from scratch, it’s basically a part-for-part recreation of the original.

As is the habit these days, Parul handled the filming and I edited. There was no crazy scenic background this time since we really wanted to focus on the đàn bầu part and all the time I had spent practicing it (LOL!).

Hope everyone enjoys!

signature


Original lyrics to “Love Me Now” (John Legend):

Pulling me further
Further than I’ve been before
Making me stronger
Shaking me right to the core, oh
I don’t know what’s in the stars
Never heard it from above, the world isn’t ours
But I know what’s in my heart
If you ain’t mine I’ll be torn apart

I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone
So I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I want you to love me now

Love me now (love me now)
Love me now (love me now)
Oh, oh, love me now, oh, oh, oh, yeah
Love me now (love me now)
Love me now (love me now)
I want you to love me now

Something inside us
Knows there’s nothing guaranteed, yeah
Girl, I don’t need you
To tell me that you’ll never leave, no
When we’ve done all that we could
To turn darkness into light, turn evil to good
Even when we try so hard
For that perfect kind of love, it could all fall apart

And who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone?
Oh I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
And I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I want you to love me now

Love me now (love me now)
Love me now (love me now)
Oh, oh, love me now, oh, oh, oh, yeah
Love me now (love me now)
Love me now (love me now)
Love me now

Oh!
I don’t know how the years will go down, it’s alright
Let’s make the most of every moment tonight

I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone
So I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I want you to love me now

I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone
So I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
And I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I just wanna love you now

Love me now (love me now)
Love me now (love me now)
Oh, oh, love you now, oh, oh, oh, yeah
Love me now (love you now)
Love me now
Oh love you now
Oh oh oh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s