Kim Mitchell is making fans Wishes come true with his just-released comeback single and video — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
A preview of his upcoming album The Big Fantasize — the platinum-selling, Juno-winning icon’s return to rock ’n’ roll duty after 13 long years — the ballad Wishes has an origin story that’s truly poetic. “The lyrics literally fell into my lap one day in a waiting room,” Mitchell says. “After very randomly reading A.C. Child’s poem Wishes, I knew immediately I wanted to turn it into a song. After writing the verses, I quickly realized that, while the poem itself felt complete, now being in a song it didn’t anymore. It needed something lyrically and musically to sum up the whole idea. The challenge would be coming up with a melody and music that would harmonically be satisfying to me, yet present itself as simple, pretty, and serving the lyric. It also needed a musical deviation somewhere … A short, musical passage you could just float away with before coming back to the song’s final thought.”
Even for one of the country’s most ubiquitously heralded songwriters — soon to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame — sometimes these things click instantly, and sometimes … they don’t. “Of all the 150 or so songs I’ve written in my career, Wishes took the longest to finish,” Mitchell shares. “It took patience. Lots of trial and error, and for years. I’d leave it for months, come back and work on it, leave it again, and then come back. Then, one peaceful morning looking out my front window, the refrain just happened for me while I was vibing on my acoustic guitar. I wasn’t even searching, but there it was! Sometimes you don’t search for a part, you wait for it to arrive.”
You could say the same for The Big Fantasize, Mitchell’s forthcoming 13th studio offering — including five as the leader of Max Webster — and first since 2007’s Ain’t Life Amazing. “It was like that classic old car that’s been in the garage for a while,” he muses. “You know, the one you’re going to strip down and restore ‘cause you know there’s something special there, but you just never seem to get around to it.”
When he did finally roll up his sleeves alongside co-producer and close friend Greg Wells (Keith Urban, Adele, Taylor Swift, Twenty One Pilots), he found something pretty sweet under the hood. Where its predecessor was a fiery and fierce rock album, anchored by big riffs and bigger swagger, The Big Fantasize is a more dynamic and musically expansive effort that perfectly encapsulates Mitchell’s prowess as a pure and compelling songwriter.
“‘Grant me these before I die and I’ll ask no more of life,’” he says aloud, quoting Wishes. “That line can make my eyes misty some days … Normally your title is ‘composer’ when working on a new song. For Wishes, my title seemed to be song’s roadie, or perhaps its personal assistant. I hope I served it well.”