There are two origin stories for this song: one musical and one lyrical.
Musically, this song emerged as two melody ideas that we couldn’t decide between. To make matters worse, neither melody really stood out on its own. Both melodies (and the classic jazz chord progression) were the verge of being discarded to the island of ideas that started strong but never really went anywhere, inspiration intervened and it suddenly became clear that we could use them both. Simultaneously.
At that point, it was clear that we would sing this song as a duet, each of us singing one part while the other person sang something completely different. An unusual idea, but just interesting enough to get us both excited. But what would these two voices be singing about? Was it the song of two new lovers or of two broken hearts? This stalled us for quite some time.
Then, on a drive home from work, we were listening to talk radio and an interesting story came on. We’ve always been interested in just about anything to do with outer space (see: The Story Behind Our Name). But this story was an unusual one, to say the least.
A husband and wife, both dreaming to slip the surly bonds of earth as members of the MarsOne program.
MarsOne plans to send the first manned voyage to Mars in 2027, to be followed by 4 subsequent follow-up missions at two-year intervals, each crew consisting of 4 people. By 2035, the human colony on Mars would consist of 20 people.
MarsOne instantly received overwhelming interest from would-be final frontier explorers from almost every country, including Christy & Ian. A husband and wife from Edmonton, this Canadian couple had prepared themselves to be among the first humans to ever plant their boots on the red planet.
The catch? Admission on the MarsOne space shuttle included a one-way ticket only. They would never return to Earth. Ever.
They would spend the rest of their lives on a planet that, at its warmest, is a little colder than Antarctica at its coldest. But in the face of the unknown challenges, they would at least be together… right?
Interestingly, Christy was accepted to the next level of the MarsOne audition process, but Ian was not.
Surely, this would be a deal breaker. How could they spend the rest of their lives separated by 54.6 million kilometers of uninhabitable space.
What inspired us about their story was that, despite being madly in love after several years of marriage, they couldn’t imagine standing in the way of each others’ dream. Love, for them, meant being willing to never see each other again, if it meant realizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Ultimately if she goes I’m going to miss her – there’s no way around that,” he said. “But I’m going to be tremendously proud and already am proud – I don’t see how anybody could stand in the way of a dream like this.”
This was a love story that we had never heard before. And one we felt we could sing about. This is the story behind The First Cosmic Troubadour. It is a song about two people following their hearts: One, to leave everything safe and comfortable behind to embrace the spirit of human exploration. The other, to commit the ultimate act of selfless love by choosing to put someone else’s happiness ahead of his own.
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The word “Troubadour” is a reference to any wandering singer or minstrel, particularly a reference to a traveling musician from the Middle Ages. The idea of making the character a musical astronaut or “cosmic troubadour” came from imagining ourselves in their shoes.
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THE FIRST COSMIC TROUBADOUR