Earning a living as a full-time musician can be a tough gig, so it’s no wonder Halifax singer Ryan MacGrath can be yours for a song. Literally — MacGrath auctioned off the composition of an original love song for Valentine’s Day.
Bidding was fierce at ryanmacgrath.com and even after the winner was announced, a second would-be Romeo hired MacGrath to write him a birthday gift. MacGrath will now write a song based on the winner’s own love story and create an original painting for the CD case.
He said the idea came when he had some down time before his full-length debut album, Cooper Hatch Paris, drops in May.
“I like the challenge. I like the notion of going outside of myself and ultimately having to write something more universal,” he explained. “When I’m writing my own songs, it tends to be very personal. Something like this, it gets me out of my own head and my own fear and forces me to think in a broader way.”
He’s done commissioned songs in the past and he’s eager to do more. He can be hired via his website.
“I love the idea of having the audience contribute to the music they will ultimately listen to,” he said.
The song was bought for a mere $200 by Halifax businessman Michael Christie. He met with MacGrath early this month to give him the raw materials to turn into tune by Valentine’s Day.
Christie had seen MacGrath perform before and loved his Rufus Wainwright-esque songs.
MacGrath will write about Christie’s romance with Nicholas, his husband of three years. Their first Valentine’s Day eight years ago set the bar low, with Nicholas offering Michael a hotdog-shaped card.
“It was the tackiest Valentine’s card you could possibly find. It looked like something Homer Simpson would buy,” Michael Christie said. “Maybe this year we’ll be inspired to at least listen to the song and have a nice glass of wine.”
Always the businessman, Christie hopes it’ll accrue in value. “Maybe one day when he’s successful, I’ll have a very early song that was commissioned just for me,” he said. If not, it’ll surely appreciate in sentimental value. Christie imagines coming across the CD 40 years from now.
“After we figure out how to play it, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, it’s that song!’”