Those acquainted with The Gina Furtado Project already know something of its namesake’s fresh, deeply individualized approach to songwriting, but with the release of each one of her singles, Furtado proves anew her ability to use old forms in new ways — and the group’s latest release, “Made Up My Mind” is no exception.
Built around a durable chord progression that feels instantly familiar to the listener, the verses of “Made Up My Mind” display the banjo-playing Furtado’s talent at contrasting melodic and rhythmic patterns before sliding into an undeniable sing-along of a chorus that affirms her strength and determination to grow:
It’s been a long time coming but now I know
There’s always room to grow
There will be people fighting, other people crying
And people who are kind
I’ve made up my mind
Still, a careful listen reveals that “Made Up My Mind”’s positive outlook is hard-won, with its roots in “The day my heart was broke and buried in my pain.” As Furtado explains: “‘Made Up My Mind’ is about accepting, and even welcoming, life's challenges as opportunities for growth. The idea came from my experience of having lost my newborn daughter ten years ago to a heart defect. Her name was Phoebe, and I have an Eastern Phoebe bird tattooed on my chest now. In the pain of that loss, I was forced to discover a strength in myself I wasn't aware that I had had before.
“I learned that we can't stop life from throwing those curve balls, we can ONLY control our reactions. We are all tempted to let anger take over when something like that happens, or self pity, but the only escape from the hurt is to look outward and choose kindness. Or, that was my experience, anyway.”
With sympathetic, gently swinging backing from the rest of the Project — sisters Malia and Lu Furtado on fiddle and bass respectively, along with veteran member Drew Matulich on guitar and a guest appearance by mandolinist Wayne Benson (Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out) — Furtado lets the melancholy aspects of her experience find expression in an instrumental interlude that introduces new minor chords before returning with renewed optimism for the final verse and chorus.
“I feel that I owe it to my life's toughest lessons for the perspective they have given me,” she concludes. “As outlined in the song, they have led me to being happier and connecting with people who share similar life philosophies — and that is a limitless blessing.”
Listen to "Made Up My Mind" HERE.