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Last weekend I did something I haven’t done for almost a decade: I started recording a new song.

I’ve been semi-retired from music since I finished Unqualified in 2002. I did record a handful of songs for my “Unfinished Business” project, and I produced four CDs containing remixed and remastered music. But all of that work was focused on the past. I hadn’t written a new song since Unqualified.

During the last year and a half I’ve had some real reasons why music wasn’t an option. There was the breakdown of my music-production system, which left me unable to record anything even if I’d wanted to. And then there was my thyroid surgery and the long, slow recovery of my voice, followed by a persistent sore throat that lasted the better part of a year. It was within the realm of possibility that my musical career (at least, my singing career) was over for good.

But sometime around the beginning of the year, without intending to, I started writing a new song. That in itself isn’t too unusual; even during the last decade, there have been a few false starts or ideas I never did anything with. But this one, for whatever reason, interested me enough that I kept at it, and after a couple of months of intermittent work I found I had a song completely written. I honestly wasn’t sure whether this was something I knew how to do anymore.

Last Saturday I could find no reason to procrastinate further, so I opened my recording software, powered on the keyboard, and started recording a proper take of the song. I started this process almost reluctantly, but I quickly gathered steam and continued working on it for much of the rest of the weekend. It’s still far from finished, consisting of just piano, bass, and drum parts, but it was satisfying to get that far.

I also attempted a rough vocal, just to see how it was coming together, and was not at all happy with the result. It is clear to me that the quality of my singing voice has changed, probably permanently, and it remains to be seen whether I’ll be able to manage vocals I’m happy with. I’m not sure yet whether my voice is simply shot, or whether I just need to learn how to use it again. (I haven’t done any significant amount of singing in years, so even if my voice were undamaged it would be out of shape.)

But ultimately, none of that is the point. The song I’m working on is a small thing, a slight composition under three minutes in length, and I can’t even be sure it’s any good. Nor am I at all sure that I’ll be able to record it satisfactorily. But it’s time I found out.