The 2015 ATB Financial All-Albertan Song Contest was our closest one ever.
Words: Michelle Stead
I find my way back home by the birds and bones
By the westbound sun, to a place I’m known
The streets will remember, even if I don’t
I’ll find my way back home
What would an Alberta version of Amazing Grace sound like?
That was one of the questions the team tasked with building a new brand platform for ATB tried to answer earlier this year. They had settled on the ATB Listens idea and they knew the music would matter. There was a plan for something big that they began referring to as an anthem.
That anthem is now real. It’s a song called Resonate and it’s very much an Alberta song. But we’ve got to go to Montreal to find out where it came from.
Ben Spencer was living there in November of 2015. The native Edmontonian had been in Quebec for a decade when he accepted a position with ATB as a creative writer.
“I started writing a song about finding my way back home, which was a very literal sentiment at the time,” said the singer-songwriter in an interview at ATB Place in Edmonton.
Months later, back in Alberta, Ben is a full-fledged member of ATB's Reputation and Brand team entrenched in the brand work. His role had him searching through licensing websites where music is available for advertisers to buy.
“One thing we were sure about was that we didn’t want to be jingly, we didn’t want stock music.”
That’s when his own song came to mind.
His humility kept him from believing it was what they were looking for. But when you’re doing creative work you bring everything to the table. He was thinking the song they needed was something “like” his song.
But the rest of the team thought it hit all the right notes.
“The lyrics are a perfect love song about home, about Alberta,” said Jacqueline Comer, Associate Creative Director.
Even after hearing it hundreds of times during recording, production and editing work, the song hasn’t lost its meaning for Ben.
“It’s obviously super nostalgic and sentimental in some ways. Resonate means to sound again. And coming back home is to re-experience Alberta and all the things that I left behind. But at the same time to sort of rejuvenate.”
Ben is quick to credit all the other musicians and artists who’ve made the anthem what it is. He’s also adamant about what it’s not.
“I can’t emphasize enough that when I was writing this, I wasn’t in an advertising frame of mind. This was really just a song.”
Perhaps that’s what makes it feel so genuine. A fitting soundtrack for the ATB Story.
If you're interested, you can download the sheet music.