Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mark Chait ("The Power of One" Co-Writer) Interview-Part 2

In the second part of our interview with Mark Chait (co-writer of "The Power of One" by Donna Summer), we talk about the song's production and its legacy. Is Herman Cain mentioned? Probably.

In the next part, we'll go over what Mark has done since this song (Hint: A lot).

Mark's web site


Steven: Nice. So, let’s move on to “The Power of One”. Do you know, how did you get chosen to work on this project?

Mark: I had met the head of music at Warner Brothers at the time. He still is, actually. And a very nice man who was a fan of my music. And he said, “We’re doing this Pokémon, do you want to have a look at the film and see if you can come up with an idea?” And I did. And then, I invited Merv Warren to join me in co-writing the song. Basically, that’s how it got started.

Steven: What was the writing process like? Did it come together quickly? Did it take a lot of time? How did that come about?

Mark: The first draft came about pretty quickly, like they always do. If you’re a musician and an artist, you understand. These things come quickly. And then, there was a lot of time involved in changing things and producers involved. The lyrics, I would say, was much harder than the music. The music took about 2 weeks to come together. But then, we had to actually find the correct lyrics that matched the movie. That was about a 3 week to a month process. It was a very pain staking process to get that correct. I loved working with Merv Warren. He’s a fantastic songwriter. We really enjoyed the process. I think that’s the key to writing a hit song.

Steven: Definitely made quite an impact.  Very memorable. Are there any particular lyrics that you’re particularly proud of, or have an interesting story behind them?

Mark: Well, the obvious one is the one that everyone talked about with Herman Cain. It inspired a lot of people in avenues that I never thought was even possible. The opening four lines, I think, are the ones that are mostly used, even to this day. “Life can be a challenge/Life can seem impossible/It’s never easy/when so much is on the line.” I think those lines pretty much say a lot.

Steven: Absolutely. Anyone can relate to that. We’ve all had times in our lives that are like that. You did mention, of course, Herman Cain. For those who aren’t aware, about 4 years ago, he was a politician running for US President. He sort of misattributed your song. He thought it was from the Summer Olympics and didn’t realize it was actually a Donna Summer song. First of all, how did you find out that that happened, and what was your reaction there?

Mark: It was very easy to find out, because it was all over the press all over the world. To be honest, it was at the Olympics, but it wasn’t part of the Olympics. NBC would cover the Americans during the Summer Olympics and at the end of every day, they would have the outtakes of all the events that occurred during the Olympic games. And, the song was perfect for covering that. The song was used many times by NBC to cover the Summer Olympics. It wasn’t the official song of the Olympic Games, but the confusion was pretty easy to make.

Steven: Was it funny when it happened? Did it make you feel like you had created something that was really memorable?

Mark: As any artist would tell you, any artist would be delighted that anyone would be talking about their work. Negative or positive, that’s not for me to say. But the fact that it inspired a conversation on the level for the Presidency of the United States, it tickled me pink. It really created a very warm feeling in me that somebody would use something that we created to further their career and use it as an example of, I think, the courage within themselves. So, any time anyone uses a song, it’s always wonderful. I had a similar experience with Hillary Clinton when she was at a dinner in New York for the Democrats. They chose my song, “The Power of One” and I got to perform it actually, with a wonderful singer from Broadway, Lillias White. And the same thing, it sparked a whole conversation. At the end of the performance, Hillary Clinton walked on stage, smiled, grabbed my arm and said, “Mark’s already summed up my entire speech in that song. So, any time anyone uses a song for that purpose, that you create as an artist, it’s a wonderful thing.

Steven: Just to clarify, that thing with Hillary Clinton, was that before or after the Herman Cain thing?

Mark: That was before. It was before, yes.

Steven: That is absolutely fascinating. I love hearing that type of story. You’ve really shed a lot of light. We knew a fair bit about it, but you’ve really put in some interesting details. Really glad to have that.

Transcript by

Additional information for this video comes from the Wikipedia pages for Mervyn Warren and Lillias White.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mark Chait ("The Power of One" Co-Writer) Interview-Part 1

In the first part of our interview with Mark Chait (co-writer of "The Power of One" by Donna Summer), we discuss how he got into the music industry:

In the next part, we'll discuss the writing and legacy of the song "The Power of One". Will one (or more) politicians be mentioned? We can only hope.
Mark's web site


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at the Poke Press Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m on the phone with Mark Chait, who co-wrote “The Power of One” song from the second Pokémon movie. But Mark, before we get into that, why don’t you start at the beginning? How did you get involved in doing music?

Mark: I grew up in South Africa as a child prodigy of music. I actually have a Masters of piano performance and violin. So, I was an early start at music. And classical music, I actually represented my country at 15 years old. So, I traveled the world as a classical musician. So, I was a very early starter.

Steven: So, that was your education in music. How did you get involved in the music business itself?

Mark: Well, I actually went to Columbia University for 5 years. And when I was in New York, I started playing around with film music. And I had met a lot of people in the industry who forwarded my music to Los Angeles where I met a lot of film producers who saw that I had a talent for doing film scores. So, that’s how everything started. And that was Steven Segal, the actor, who actually gave me a big piece of music to write for a film that he ended up not doing. Basically, that’s how I ended up having a big large orchestra score that ended up in my first film, which was 1992 in a small short film for Sony Pictures that had Brad Pitt staring in it. It was a very interesting way of entering the film business.

Steven: What were some other pieces you worked on during the 90s?

Mark: I wrote a lot of film score music in the style of Ennio Morricone, because the first film that I did that actually went to the Oscars for Best Live Action Short, was a film that Morricone was going to do. He told Sony Pictures and the studios that they would have to wait 9 months. So, the director wanted somebody that could do him. When I first started, a lot of the film music that I wrote for the various films that I did work on in the 90s, were of that genre-the very melodious, similar orchestration pieces. And I also wrote a lot of piano and violin, but they weren’t published at that point. So, I just mainly did my work for film score music. And this is way before I started doing songs for films.

Steven: What eventually led to you doing vocal songs? How did that get started?

Mark: It was a lot of interest from record producers, actually. Like David Foster and Charlie Midnight, who said that my music has a very good song quality and we should try and put vocals to them and see how I am writing songs. I wasn’t sure that that was the way I wanted to do it. But I, nevertheless, tried it. And I have a good talent for summing up a feature film in 4 minutes in a song. I originally started working with Randy Goodrum who wrote a lot of hits in the 90s as well. He took me under his wing like a lot of other film composers did as well.

Steven: Keep listening for more from this interview…

Transcript by

Additional information for this video comes from the Wikipedia page for Ennio Morricone.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pokemon Red/Green Soundtrack Announced for Japan

The next Japanese Pokemon CD set goes all the way back to the beginnings of the franchise!

Perfectly Nintendo Article

Also, just in case you're curious, here's what it looks like when you invert one version and mix the waveforms from the Super Mario Maker and CD versions of the track:

As you can see, once the tracks are properly aligned, there is a significant amount of cancellation, as shown by the increase in volume once the Mario Maker clip ends. This strongly suggests that the sources are the same, though it's by no means a guarantee the tracks have been licensed for a Western release.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Reflecting on (the Album) Pokemon X

Back in 2006, Pokemon released an album to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the franchise. In our latest video, we look back at that album:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

This Week in Pokemon Music-2/1/2016

Welcome to "This Week in Pokemon Music", a feature on the blog where we go over some of the Pokemon music that's been released recently.

Our first featured track comes from a first-time video uploader:

Artist: PortmanTone
Title: Bicycle - Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum [Cover Arrange]

The artist admits to having a few production issues (both in performing and editing), but for a first video, this is quite impressive, and I hope to see much more in the future.

Our second featured track is another remix of the Zinnia battle theme from ORAS:

Artist: ArtLex
Title: Pokemon Omega RubyAlpha Sapphire Battle! Zinnia Music

This track is proving to be extremely popular, and I expect we'll hear more renditions as time goes on.

Also, as a side note, although it doesn't talk too much about music, the Pokemon YouTube channel did put up a video with Junichi Masuda:

Here's this week's playlist:

Happy Listening!