Birth of WO!
by Bobby Susser
I had a few melodies, and was
talking with my youngest grandson, who's three years old. I
asked him what he felt like doing. He said, "Make faces." So, I
asked him to start. He said he did, and was laughing. I didn't
get it, so, I asked again, and he laughed more. "What's that", I
asked?" He replied, "A face. It's a face." "I don't understand"
I replied. He said, "It's a Smiling Face, Grandpa."
Within about 30 seconds, I introduced him to just the melody of
a chorus, and we were quickly singing, "Smiling Face, feels so
good to wake up with a Smiling Face." I knew and, could FEEL,
that a new collection of songs had started, and would be
recorded soon. We kept singing Smiling Face, made smiling face,
and I kept adding lyrics for us to sing. It was flowing, and we
were having lots of fun, so much so, that it felt dreamlike,
pretty much like the feeling during a creative process, when
that special gift you've been waiting for arrives.
Suddenly, I introduced another melody that I had, and starting
singing, "You Ought To Have Fun, fun, fun, fun, lots of fun." We
were having lots of fun, as my grandson shouted, "We are having
lots of fun." It was a very different experience, one that I
never had, though I would highly recommend it. We were actually
singing songs together, as I made them up. I say made them up,
because that sounded more accurate, than "I wrote them." Of
course, I knew I was writing them, but I FELT as though I was
MAKING THEM UP, because that phrase was truly in the moment.
It's why I feel the songs feel so natural. I was having fun, and
the communication made it apparent to me, that my grandson was
having fun too.
In addition, he seemed to be having a discovery, or further
discovery of self, that is, his self. It's a big part of this
album. Feeling is probably the most significant part of these
songs. I've always felt that way, and as we all know, the
feelings in the moment are most prevalent, and I try to capture
that in each song. I love to write songs, or make them up, and I
especially love the ones that are fun, while they are conveying
a feeling and idea. (Watching a child learn from a song I've
written is a wonderful feeling, and how wonderful it is, to
introduce feelings themselves, to children, through a song. The
universal language: Music).
I spent the entire day and then, a few more weeks with my
grandson, singing, and making up more songs to sing. One
morning, I greeted him with "Oooh Good Morning", and he
instantly sang along. It was great. While I visited a few
schools, to test the songs, as I usually do, I was getting
immediate feedback, having fun, and making up songs and faces.
It was a very cool thing. I wrote almost every song to the album
that way. When it came to The Wo Wo Song, I had the melody and
the lyrics to the first verse. It was fun, and was a nice,
inviting sing along "Everybody get ready, we're all gonna sing
together." It was nice, and simple. Easy to sing, and engaging
for the children, which are elements that I think are most often
required for the young audience, so they can join in. We were
having a lot of fun with The Wo Wo Song , but I knew I had a
problem, though I did not express it, and was thinking. I did
not have lyrics for the chorus. I just could not come up with
any, and so I just filled in the chorus, for the moment (so I
thought) with, Wo Wo Wo Wo Wo, and my grandson lit up, and
shouted, Wo Wo Wo Wo Wo. It was a magical moment, especially
when he said and sang, "Wo. Wo, grandpa. Wo." At that moment, I
knew, this collection of songs was gonna be written as we sat
together, and that WO was unquestionably gonna be the title.
Yes, it was a magical and learning experience. It was classic
communication, between two people, stimulating meaning, in the
minds of one another. As I introduced this beautiful boy to each
melody, and we sang, Any Time Of Day, A Party Today, Let's Dance
And Dance Forever, I'm Ready To Rock N' Roll, and even, Good
Night, he enthusiastically said, "WO." It was very contagious,
and he quickly had me saying it. I was saying it as I recorded
the songs. It's a real nice expression of "Cool." I knew and
heard the word for years, but my youngest grandson made it a big
part of my professional and personal life. I thanked him for
that. I hope everyone likes the songs, and feels a sense of “WO”
within each one.