Thanks for taking the time to listen to the songs of "Smile"!
As you preview the tracks above, you’ll hear classical selections that I remember learning when I was kid, a few popular tunes that for me, captures the essence of childhood wonderment and imagination, and finally, two original songs that I believe will become family favorites over time.
It is my sincere hope the songs of "Smile" will inspire your smile as much as it has inspired mine.
- Josh Tuburan
A FAIRY TALE
This song is my spin on the classic and timeless stories that inspire children to find true love, believe that good always conquers evil and achieve a fulfilled life destined for a “happily ever after.”
I asked Matt Thomas, a music teacher and choir director at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California, if he would be interested in singing "A Fairy Tale." When he agreed, I asked him to recommend a female singer whose voice quality was similar to that of Lea Salonga in "Aladdin" and "Mulan" or Mandy Moore in "Tangled."
Matt suggested I contact Kelly Muller. When I first met Kelly, she surprised me when she mentioned that she’s half-Guamanian. Being a native of Guam myself, it’s quite seldom to randomly meet a fellow Gumanian, so I knew in that fortuitous moment, even before she sang a single note for me, that we were meant to work together on this song.
Recording "A Fairy Tale" was Kelly’s first studio experience ever – not bad for a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school.
ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE
This is from "Seussical," the Broadway musical, and I feel the underlying message of the song is that no matter how alone you feel at times in your life, know that someone in the universe and in my opinion, someone greater than the universe, truly cares, accepts and unconditionally loves you for who you are.
I was inspired to include this song in the album after hearing that three of my close friends would be premiering a brand-new Dr. Seuss-themed pediatric dental office in Southern California. I’m honored that my arrangement is the signature song on their website: www.pediatricdentisryofredlands.com.
TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR
I first became aware of this piece a few years ago when my friend Randall Bills needed me to play a few excerpts from it for a wedding ceremony. I wish I could claim this arrangement as my own but it’s really my personal homage to the master arranger himself, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The melody to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is actually from a French folk song and it is believed that Mozart heard this tune when he was in Paris around the late-1700s. He composed this piece for solo piano and it contains thirteen sections – the first section is a theme and it is followed by twelve variations.
Many researchers and scientists believe that listening to Mozart’s music may improve the development of one’s spatial-temporal reasoning. So, that basically means that listening to this song may not only inspire you to smile more but it may actually make you smarter!
I was inspired to write this song after my close friends, Evan and Cameron, brought a beautiful baby girl named Jane into the world last September. I’ll never forget the moment I held her in my arms a few hours after she was born…it was a remarkable event that gave me a renewed sense of optimism and desire to become a father someday.
"Jane’s Waltz" is essentially divided into three parts, each section representing a specific chapter in life. In the main theme, picture proud parents with their newborn baby, slowly “waltzing” with and humming the tune to him or her before bedtime.
As the years go by, their baby grows up and experiences life – they go to school, make friends, work on a career and eventually find true love. In fact, if you listen carefully to the piano, you’ll hear “wedding bells” at the beginning of the last section.
That former bundle of joy is much older now and is slowly waltzing with and humming a nostalgic tune to a baby of their very own.
This is from the musical "You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown" and I actually first heard this song a few years ago on an album by Lea Salonga, a Tony award-winning singer and actress arguably best-known for her singing voice in Disney’s "Aladdin" and "Mulan."
The song’s philosophy defines true happiness not by the standards of adults, but by how children perceive the world. For me, it’s those moments in life – being alone now and then, walking hand in hand and coming home again – that truly make me smile.
Robert Schumann wrote this song in 1838 as part of a collection of pieces known and translated from the original German title as "Scenes From Children." I first learned this piece when I was a young kid so as you can imagine, recording it in the studio was quite a nostalgic experience for me.
I appreciate how this song encourages the listener to dream. Imagine how different our world would be if everyone stopped to consciously dream (or meditate) for a few minutes every day – not for the sole reason of hoping that our dreams will come true, but knowing that our thoughts have the power to ultimately change and transform the world by guiding us to discover our most authentic selves and inspiring us to live fulfilled lives motivated by absolute purpose.
I first heard this tune when I saw "The Mission" many years ago in a high school film class. I remember thinking, “Wow, I want to write music like that.” I love the child-like simplicity of the melody and the accompanying chords that provide lush harmonic texture and support. For me, this song is a great soundtrack to some of life’s sweetest moments – like experiencing a baby fall asleep in your arms, bringing a new puppy into your home for the very first time or witnessing a beautiful wedding ceremony in a spectacular setting.
When I decided to produce a children’s album several months ago, I knew I had to include Brahms’ lullaby but the arrangement of his well-known theme had to be fresh and original.
"The Seal Lullaby" was composed by Eric Whitacre, who, according to his website, is one of the most popular and performed composers of our time; “a Grammy award winning artist, distinguished conductor, broadcaster and public speaker.” Interestingly enough, a review of Mr. Whitacre’s work by Robert Hollingworth from the BBC declares: "What hits you straight between the eyes is the honesty, optimism and sheer belief that passes any pretension. This is music that can actually make you smile."
Dr. Andrew Crane, a former colleague of mine who is now the Director of Choral Activities at East Carolina University, first introduced me to "The Seal Lullaby." And just like "Gabriel’s Oboe," when I initially heard this song in a choir rehearsal, I remember thinking, “This music is awesome!” I’m a big fan of simple melodies reinforced by lush chords, and I think that formula works especially when fusing a relatively new choral piece with a classic and familiar lullaby tune.
WHEN SHE LOVED ME
When I initially began choosing songs for the album, I knew I had to include a selection from the vast and well-known catalog of Disney songs. I eventually chose "When She Loved Me" not only because I think it’s such a great tune from a poignant scene in "Toy Story 2" but it also gave me the opportunity to work with Jeffry Kaatz, an amazing cellist who I’ve known for years.
Charlie Chaplin wrote the music to this song in 1936. Years later, in 1954, John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the classic lyrics that still resonate with people today.
During the production of "Smile," I actually went through a very challenging time in my life, both professionally and personally. But the encouraging message of sheer optimism in this song helped me through those difficult moments, and that is really the underlying manifesto of my album.
Smile though your heart is aching,
Smile even though it's breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through for you.
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness,
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying,
You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.