With Singer: Kim Virant
Welcome to Artist Waves’ Pearl Jam week. Leading up to their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction on Friday, we will have one unique feature per day as a small token of our appreciation, and in effort to give back to band to that gives so much.
Part 3: ALS awareness is a subject matter we take very seriously. Here, we go behind the scenes of the songs Kim Virant and Mike McCready wrote for the incredibly powerful Gleason Film.
Steve Gleason is one of the most inspiring human beings in the world to me. His story and amazing work with Team Gleason revolves around a subject matter that hits very close to home. To accompany his incredibly moving documentary, Gleason wrote lyrics for two songs entitled, “Space in Between” & “Her Again.” The music was written by Josh Evans, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam and acclaimed Seattle singer, Kim Virant, who also provides lead vocals on both tracks.
Two weeks ago, the original songs were released via McCready’s Hockey Talkter records and are available now through Amazon Music or through Pearl Jam. The beautiful 7″ package includes original artwork by Gleason’s wife Michel Varisco Gleason, as well as two different limited and special edition vinyl color options — white to honor Steve’s motto, No White Flags, and transparent blue, matching Michel’s cover art. Proceeds will benefit Team Gleason.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Kim Virant about how these songs came together:
The Writing Process:
Mike McCready asked me to get involved with the project. I was over at Mike’s when he was recording instrumental music for the movie and he asked if I could do something with Steve’s lyrics so I popped into another room to see what I could do. Mike had the music so I needed to arrange the lyrics to fit it and also come up with a melody to sing.
It’s pretty great working with Mike. He’s supportive and enthusiastic. When I felt anxious about what I was doing or singing, he cheered me on and he’s a pretty funny guy to boot. This is a man who is very giving- of his time and talents. I’m glad to know him.
Capturing the Emotion of Gleason’s Lyrics:
It’s an honor — when you craft a song with someone else’s lyrics you want to do them justice. It’s a gift you’ve been given and you want to do right by them. Watching the part of the movie that Mike was creating the music for was very emotional for me — it was the part showing the romance between Steve and Michel. I wanted to convey the love they have for each other and immense challenges they face.
The montage of Steve and Michel’s relationship — the wedding in particular, spoke to me and translated specifically to the two songs we wrote. Just how full of life and light they are and how fiercely wonderful she is. I don’t know either Steve or Michel, but his lyrics and their movie, show a love that is deep and complex. That’s what I feel his lyrics say.
It inspires me to know the human spirit is strong and resilient and can persevere. That given the immensity of what Steve and Michel face together, they still have grace and courage. It gives me hope in humanity.
To order “Space in Between” & “Her Again” by Mike McCready & Kim Virant visit:
Amazon Music — or
Pearl Jam store for the 7″
- PJ week part 1(tattooed everything, a tribute to ‘black’)
- PJ week part 2 (10 inspiring lyrics w/original PJ art)