By Mike Ritchie

Scottish singer-songwriter Elaine Lennon did not flinch when she was invited to present a motivational talk at a prestigious, sellout, 150-strong conference with countless more people in attendance online.

She not only embraced the challenge, but also knew immediately how to tackle it – by presenting a mini-show at the conference based on a supportive musical project she launched earlier this year.

She approached fellow Scottish artists Yvonne Lyon and Adriana Spina to ask if they would be part of the special performance.

They agreed and the idea to create a new song together then emerged, with the women saying it was the perfect time for it.

The result of this collaboration is a song called The Light, which will be revealed at an upcoming TEDx Women What Now? event in Castlecary, near Cumbernauld – the first time a new song has been sung at any TED event.

“It has been brilliant the way we have all worked together on this song, which is now recorded as a single, and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it,” said Lennon, a winner of a Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections in January 2019 and rated as “one to watch” by the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

“We think it is a captivating song because it reflects how we have pulled on inner strength, the power of friendship and respect to create light in each other in times of darkness caused by the pandemic when musicians really did struggle.

“We are always seeking out new ways to adapt and evolve as artists, individuals and, equally importantly, in a community of songwriters, so the new song is very much an example of that.”

Lennon, who was a 2019 TEDx speaker, will open this 18-minute slot by talking about The Homebird Sessions that got under way originally online earlier this year. Two live shows were held recently and others are in the pipeline.

These sessions are all about creating an intimate and welcoming space for Lennon and her musical guests to connect with audiences by taking turns to perform acoustic versions of their songs, sharing the stories behind them alongside little gems of wisdom from their musical journeys. “At TEDx I will open the talk with a Homebird Session intro then we will each take turns at performing one of our own songs with a short lead-in from each of us,” said Lennon. “Then we will perform our co-written song together at the end, which is hugely exciting for us all.”

Lennon, the winner of Celtic Music Radio’s Album of the Year in 2020 for her Creative Scotland-supported, self-titled, debut release, was full of praise for Lyon and Spina.

“I’ve loved every minute of co-writing and performing with these two insanely talented humans and am extremely proud of what we have been able to bring to life in our song, The Light.”

This is the third consecutive year of the TEDx Cumbernauld Women event, which runs in parallel with its sister event held in Palm Springs, California.

“I’m delighted to be returning to the TEDx stage with The Homebird Sessions and to be given this chance to showcase the musical talent we have in Scotland while connecting once more with a global audience,” said Lennon.

Maureen Hascoet, the TEDx Cumbernauld Women event director, said a total of 14 speakers are lined up for the December 5 event in the Castlecary Hotel.

“I do really admire the drive, ethos and professionalism with which these women lead their careers and I can’t wait to hear what these talents have created for us – what a treat,” said Ms Hascoet.

“A video of the performance will be added to the TED platform and YouTube Channel so a global audience will be offered a taste of what happens when you bring artists together to sing their songs and share the stories behind them while shining a light on Scottish songwriting talent for all around the world to hear.”

Lyon, who recently released her tenth studio album Growing Wild to great acclaim, said: “It’s so good to have a focus for our friendship and collaboration, which has been growing over the years.

“It feels like we were meant to create this song for this moment and it’s a lovely culmination of our collective songwriting experience and shared respect for one another.”

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Sandy Jones at Motherwell’s Foundry Music Lab, The Light is described by its trio of writers as having a classic folk/singer-songwriter sound.

With Lyon taking production lead, all three artists worked together to co-produce and create what has become a beautiful musical landscape, featuring Lyon and Spina on guitars and Lennon on piano, with additional creative support from Lyon’s husband, David.

All three artists take turns on lead vocals and add delicate, enveloping, layered harmonies.

Spina, who is now working on her highly-anticipated third album with producer Boo Hewerdine said: “It’s been a thrill to be collaborating with Yvonne and Elaine, both as part of the prestigious TEDx event, and in the co-creation of The Light.

“This is a song that sums up perfectly how our friendship has been a source of encouragement for us over these difficult times. I’m so excited to be part of it all.

“It’s a pleasure to be working alongside such good friends and immensely talented women.”