Losing somebody you love is one of the hardest things we have to go through in life. To express those feelings in music or to deal with the struggle by making music or art is one of the most beautiful ways we can keep their memory alive and dedicate something new and lasting to them. Lisa Hugo’s single Fly Away – In The Arms Of An Angel, is a direct and wonderful tribute to her late father, and the emotion and creative effort that has gone into it is wonderful.
For what emerges as a gentle piano ballad, led by a stunning performance of the instrument, surrounded and supported by a simple string section to warm up the outer edges, the song evolves into something mighty and striking. The music builds in the way that classical pop songs build, the sort that make the final few moments of any epic or love themed movie. In this case though, it represents much more than that – an ode to a life well lived, well loved, and deeply treasured. It’s emotional to witness the rising energy of the music, and then there’s Lisa Hugo’s leading voice – gradually increasing in passion and intensity as the scene moves by. It’s a beautiful voice, soft and delicate at first, almost whispered, later bursting into life as this powerful and captivating performance that meets the weight and drama of the music flawlessly.
The final element involved in this piece of musical artistry is the lyrics, and you really have to appreciate the detail, the story telling, and the smooth and genuine movement from the past to the now within a less than five minute space. From the light hearted memories of the opening verse, to the intensity and struggle of the later years, the pain, and then on to the peace, the reminiscing again of his strength, his positive influence. The arrangement of these lyrics work in unison with the development of the music and showcase sublime songwriting abilities and structural awareness.
Considering that this is an incredibly personal song, it actually transcends the specific identity of its maker in some ways, becoming accessible to all – a gift for perhaps anyone who has been through the same. The final few moments are huge, the joy and optimism returns in full force, and that finishing line makes for a perfectly fitting end to the whole piece – Fly Away… You can go now, I’m OK.