While we think of musicians as artists working with a sonic pallet, it’s easy to forget that much of the sound and lyrics you hear on records was once an actual image in the songwriter’s head. Maybe people like Mozart actually thought in music but for most musicians, and people in general, we think in images. And words. The composer’s job is to relate those images and words sonically. This is exactly what Paul McCartney has done with a new project he has been working on with Skype for Valentine’s Day.
The fact that we mostly think in words and images is probably why emojis are so appealing; that and the fact that much of what we do in the age of the internet involves text, which is much less expressive than actual spoken language and can easily be misconstrued. Hence the popularity of the emoji. But how do Paul McCartney and emojis cross paths?
In a recent interview with Noisey, the 73 year old musician talked about his latest project with Skype which involves a new line of emojis called “Love Mojis” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But these aren’t your run of the mill smiley faces, fruits, unicorns and rainbows. The Love Mojis combine the image with the sound. And one Sir Paul McCartney provided those sounds using a variety of instruments from guitars and drums, to synthesizers, xylophones, and even that golden McCartney voice.
While this may all seem a bit trite for one of the most influential musicians on the planet, McCartney told Eric Sundermann of Noisey that these kinds of projects get him out of his comfort zone and are what keeps his music fresh after six decades as a composer. The project was also a welcome challenge for McCarney as he explained. "The catch was, they've [the emojis] got to be under five seconds. So, now it was kind of challenging. Ah, OK. A song might be sort of three, four minutes long. If I write a big long piece, an orchestral piece, it might be an hour or something. Or whatever. But never before have I been asked to write anything under five seconds. So now I was kind of amused by this idea. It was like, "let's see if we can do this."
It was for the sake of keeping things fresh and new that McCartney likes to team up with artists like Kanye West. The Beatle took some time to gush about his work with Yeezy. “He’s an amazing talent…he’s a crazy cat with it, but I love him.” Awww…check out Kanye West and Paul McCartney's Grammy nominated collaboration "All Day" below and see Paul recording the music for his Love Mojis above.