Through many heartaches and headaches, I scratched out several versions of my next project, constantly looking deep inside of my heart to come up with something solid. Upon encouragement from my friends Anniece Warren and William Tonissen, I resurrected my unfinished operetta that I started in 1996, "A Tale of Two Fools" and started to look at human emotion differently. Although I would change the story, I kept the characters names and most of the original music. My concept would be about a young musician who falls in love for the first time and the songs would add to the story. Initially, a written synopsis would be included with the album.
However, I was still stuck. Do I make this an opera, a musical, or a stage play? A musical seemed fine but people don’t finance eighty-piece orchestras any more. I could get the instrumentation I would want for an opera, but I wasn’t feeling “A Tale of Two Fools” in that medium.
A stage play COULD work, but once again, I could have the musical setting I would want. After reading my story summary, Kindra Parker suggested that I just write a novel. Then it hit me: how about if I would write a novel with an included soundtrack. This would give me the freedom to write the music exactly how I would want it. I wanted this to be more than just a soundtrack; the music, although strong enough to stand on its own as the story, should not be songs plastered together. It should compositional sound work of art.
I had to give this genre a name, something catchy. After saying a musical novel in my head, I flipped the words and came up with novical, an anagrammed amalgamation for musical novel or better yet, a novel with a musical experience.
To have my novical make literary sense, I studied with my best friend, Earl H. Brooks, an upcoming scholar of African-American rhetoric and literature. Vast in knowledge, Earl challenged me in many areas of my writing. My editor, Shonell Bacon, would always tell me to "expos" more, which made feel like an undergraduate all over again.
Not wanting to leave behind my love for composing, I wrote more music to aid in telling the story. Using leitmotifs to aid in the album's melodic consistency and development. At times, I would go into the studios with only Nate Winn, drummer extraordinaire. He would lay down just the skeleton tracks to record my vision. Traveling throughout the city of Detroit and out-of-state to record orchestra members would become routine for the novical.
With eight woodwind parts, full strings, french horns, big-band brass, harp, timpani, and seven-piece rhythm section, the novical was now born.
Chad “Sir Wick” Hughes