'Lovely' beginning

Young songwriter wins The Herald-Mail's lyric contest

Young songwriter wins The Herald-Mail's lyric contest

April 26, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

Upon hearing she had won The Herald-Mail's second lyric contest for teens, Dani Ward was at first quiet, then surprised and politely said "Thank you."

Her original lyrics for "Lovely" were unanimously chosen for first place by the three-judge panel, winning her $50. The contest was open to youths ages 12 through 18.

"If I would have heard that on a professional album, I would not blink," said judge Christopher Bell-Boudreaux, a studio musician, actor and freelance guitar player who lives in Hagerstown.


"Lovely" is an original ballad written by Ward, a Hagerstown area resident who turned 18 on Friday. Ward also played piano and synthetic strings and sung the song recorded on compact disc.

Five teens submitted a total of 13 songs for the contest.

The judges also were impressed with Hagerstown area teen Erin McGowan's "Fear," which judge Carl Disque referred to as a rap, although it also could be considered spoken word put to music.

"(Fear) touches on really good emotional issues, for any age," Bell-Boudreaux said.

"It had direction. 'Fear' had a purpose. The title really brought it all together - it's about being afraid of fear," said Rob Hovermale, coordinator of visual and performing arts for Washington County Public Schools.

The judges also liked the cleverness and craftsmanship in Hagerstown teen Kyle Walkley's "She's With Him."

Entries included metal, inspirational, rap and pop. The winner could be considered easy listening.

Concerning "Lovely," Bell-Boudreaux said he was impressed with the music and Ward's harmony.

While the judges were impressed with Ward's performance, they picked a winner based on lyrics.

"I think that poetically, it's beautiful," said Carl Disque, a Hagerstown lawyer who plays the saxophone for Koko Blue and wrote songs for his previous band, 2Blue Ensemble.

Hovermale said the lyrics were well thought out. "It wasn't just verse, chorus," he said.

Ward was inspired by a friend with a birth deformity whom Ward said "never thinks she's pretty or worth anything like that. It really made me upset because she's one of the most beautiful people I know."

Ward is the daughter of Mary and Jeff Ward Sr. Her father mixed her instrumentals and voice for the recording. She was home-schooled through Grace Academy and wrapped up her credits last semester. She will graduate in June.

Ward has been working part time at Christian Light Bookstore by Valley Mall.

She plans to attend Hagerstown Community College in the fall to earn an associate's degree in graphic design technology.

"I really would like to go into mission work, local or the foreign field. I thought, if that doesn't end up being an opportunity, then (I'll) do freelance graphics for small Christian organizations that can't afford famous, big-time graphic people," she said.

She is going to compile a CD of several songs she's written and send it to a few recording companies, "just for kicks," she said.

"Lovely" - written by Dani Ward

is a word that
seems so unlikely
to describe you
or so you think

seems so far away
precious jewel
you hide your face
it'll never be
a word describing
you, you think

but you are
teardrop starting
so magical
you're gorgeously
in love with life
so lovely
but so fragile

is what you think you're not
never represents you
or what you see

oh, but what I see
is compelling, stunning
inexplicably exquisite
this portrait of you
is breathtakingly
teardrop startingly
because you're gorgeously

in love with life
you radiate
you're so lovely

shake off your skin
see the one within
who is delicately gorgeous
who is strong, who is free
who knows how to believe
she's lovely

you are
and happily
and totally

is a word that
is so likely
to portray

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