|| - 02.20.2007
|One day I had an idea. What if someone were to take my song lyrics and use them in a whole new way? I mean, all that work I’ve done, slaving over the exact word to rhyme with “prestidigitator,” and it only gets used for one thing? A song? There’s got to be something else we can do to make use of these lyrics!
Think about it.
We recycle millions of tons of cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, plastic bags, and glass bottles every year. At least we should. It’s good for the environment. Nothing should be wasted. Nothing should end up in a landfill. Didn’t I read somewhere that Styrofoam takes like a million years to decompose? So those pesky, always-at-least-one-left-in-the-box, static-clingy packing peanuts should somehow be re-used over and over until that glorious day when they finally become whatever it was that they were before they got the embarrassing name “packing peanuts.” Who named them that anyway?
“Mom, why’d you have to name us that?”
“Oh, my dear little ‘packing peanuts!’ You should be grateful for such a wonderful name!”
“Didn’t Dad have a better idea for our name?”
“Well, he wanted to name you ‘lightweight void fillers.’ Can you imagine! But I convinced him that we needed a cuter name for you, since you were gonna last almost forever!”
“Why can’t we each have our own name? Since we’re gonna be around forever, what about our individual identities?”
“Well, I’ll discuss it with your Dad.”
“Sweet!” (handless high-fives all around!)
Wow, ok, where was I? Oh yeah, recycling. We recycle a lot of things, because after they’ve been used once, they are still valuable for other things. So, why not lyrics? Why not come up with a new way to use my song lyrics, once they’ve had their first opportunity to be heard on CD’s and on the radio? Or are they going to just end up in the landfill like everything else?
Well, what else could they be used for? How about jingles? I can just hear the TV and radio commercials now:
Jeep Enough To Dream
Life Gave Me Gatorade
I’m Smelling Starbucks
I Need A Giro (pronounced YEE-roh, Greek food!)
Ok, maybe that’s not such a great idea after all.
But, I did come up with an idea for another way to use my lyrics, and it’s actually going to happen…starting this month! (APRIL 2006)
Here’s the story:
So many people have commented over the years (in e-mails, and in fan mail, and in person after a show) that my songs somehow put into words exactly what they were feeling, or exactly what they wanted to say but could not find the words. I'm always amazed at how important words can be to people's souls. And that gave me an idea.
People are always looking for some way to express their feelings to the people they care about. Especially during meaningful seasons or at significant milestones in their lives: birthdays, graduations, loss of a loved one, or just friendship.
Are you smellin’ what I’m steppin’ in? Do you see where I’m going with this? Yeah?
Greeting cards! What I decided to do was to use my lyrics as a basis to design GREETING CARDS! Weird, you say? Get this: At any given moment, 85% of us have the need for a card of some sort in the next two weeks. A friend’s birthday, an anniversary, a holiday, a sibling’s graduation, a word of encouragement to someone going through a rough time. What if someone could use lyrics from my songs in a different form (say, a card) to communicate their feelings to someone else? Something to lift a spirit, encourage a worn-out soul, or congratulate someone's hard-earned accomplishment.
Why not? Maybe one day, I thought, I’ll put together some greeting cards, based on my lyrics, to make available on my website, and at the merchandise table after concerts, or maybe we could find a publisher.
Well, a few years ago, I mentioned this idea to my brilliant manager, David Radke. Radke filed this idea in the back of his mind for ‘someday.’ But it didn’t stay back there very long. The idea came racing back into the front of his mind the day he saw in the local newspaper that two ladies from Hallmark Greeting Cards were going to be speaking at a local bookstore about their work as writers for the card company. They were the ones who came up with the words that go on and in the cards that fly out of racks at the Hallmark stores and wherever else Hallmark cards are sold.
Coincidentally, Radke also noticed that, when asked about what inspires their writing, one of the ladies mentioned ‘a songwriter named Chris Rice.’ (That’s me.)
So my manager attended the meeting at the bookstore (and I think I remember him saying he felt very uncomfortable being the only man there!) and introduced himself as my manager, after the ladies were finished. He brought one of them over to an outdoor concert I was doing that afternoon not too far from the bookstore, so we could meet. She went back to Hallmark headquarters and started talking up our idea to the 'right people.'
The rest, as they say…
Not too long after that, we were called by the good people of DAYSPRING Greeting Cards, a division of Hallmark, who immediately jumped on our idea. Talk about enthusiam! I came to our first meeting with a list of lyrics and sentiments. They came with an arsenal of plans and ideas of their own. I was floored. It’s really happening.
Long story short, for about a year now, my manager and I have been meeting with the designers and marketing team at Dayspring to come up with a line of greeting cards called “INSPIRED by Chris Rice” and they will be in stores starting this month (APRIL 2006) and throughout the summer!
It has been a fascinating process. Visiting the Dayspring offices in Arkansas. Meeting the zealous and extremely capable team working on this card line. Hearing the details of how greeting cards are created and marketed. Sitting with their designers, and talking about colors, images, and the importance of the lyrics. Receiving e-mails from Dayspring, and opening image files to see the artwork they were creating, asking for my opinion and approval. Seeing paper ‘mock-ups’ of each card in the line. Watching the ideas become reality!
The logo for the “INSPIRED” line (on back of each card) is a kid doing a cartwheel. That image is perfect. That’s exactly what I feel like! My lyrics are not headed for the landfill afterall! They’re headed for mailboxes! And Christmas stockings! And graduation ceremonies! And to accompany mounds of roses from sweethearts on anniversaries! And tucked into kids lunchboxes! And taped to Dad’s steering wheel when he leaves for work in the morning! And left thoughtfully by ‘her’ sink in the master bathroom! And tucked into the book you bought for your friend, just because.
So, since 85% of us have an almost immediate need for a card at any given time, be sure to stop in later this month, and all through the summer, wherever Dayspring cards are sold and ask where the “INSPIRED by Chris Rice” line of cards are.
‘Cause you see, lyrics are not just for songs anymore.