So, I wrote a song with Sally DeFord + The “Only Love” Vocal Competition

So, do you know who Sally DeFord is?

I lifted this picture from her site. With her permission. Because I’m ethical. Sorta.

Chances are, if you’re Mormon, you’ve probably heard some of her songs. Like this. Or this. Or this.

She is a well known composer, and runs a pretty famous website known for being a place where you can download good, playable music for free.

Anyway, I’ve known her music for many years as a violinist and as a person who has sung in tons of ward choirs. So, imagine my surprise one day when she showed up on my blog’s Facebook page saying that she had read my blog.  I was shocked and flattered! “Golly gee,” I said. “That makes my day!”

I thought nothing more of it. Until she messaged me one afternoon and asked me to write a song with her.


So, you know how sometimes dreams are really weird, and you dream that a celebrity shows up and interacts with you like it’s totally normal and not at all weird? That’s the feeling I had after this moment. I was like “Um, Lolly, Sally DeFord reads my blog. And she wants to write a song with me. And have me record it. In her studio. Also, is this a dream? Does my face look distorted to you? Like a Picasso? Do we live in a castle? Can I fly?” *tries to fly* *fails*

Turns out, it wasn’t a funky dream. She was actually asking me.

And when I asked her why, she was equally baffled. She was like “um, I just feel like I should. Like God is telling me to do this with you.” Which is the only possible explanation, because the thing she saw on my blog that indicated I might actually be able to do this? Yeah. It was this rendition of Trololo I did as complete joke a couple of years ago. (Yes, Lolly did make that trellis out of hangers, and yes, that was 87% of the reason I made that video.) Also Sally doesn’t typically even do collaborations (with a few exceptions).

So yeah, obviously there was spiritual finagling going on. Or Sally is crazy. Or Sally likes weird Russian TV shows. One of those three things.

No, but really it was that first thing. Because when we actually started writing the song, it turned out that our visions of the message we needed to share were so identical that it shocked both of our spouses that we hadn’t discussed it before hand. Our ideas converged beautifully, and I’m actually really moved by the song we ended up creating together. It feels like the theme song to this blog, maybe. Or at least to our coming out post. Like, if I could put the sentiment of how I hope all families would treat their gay loved ones into music, this would be that song.

She’s releasing that song today, and I wanted you to know about it. I’m not a professional vocalist by any stretch of the imagination, but with Sally’s help, I feel like we got a recording that ended up being something I feel good about. I hope you enjoy it.

Here it is:

(The widget isn’t working for some people. If that’s you, you can click on Sally’s site below and listen there, or you can download it Here. The Internet is magic!)

And here is the page on Sally’s site which has the recording, the sheet music and the accompaniment track. (I’ll talk about doing the recording in a later post, complete with pictures of me standing awkwardly at the mic. and also a picture of us near kissing camels made of stone).

I hope you download the music (for free) and sing the music yourself. I hope you feel the spirit of its message, and find a way to convey it so that it becomes your own. I’m sure there are MUCH more amazing versions of this song that can be created. And I’d love, absolutely love, to hear you performing this song. Therefore I have decided to host:

The “Only Love” Vocal Competition

So, here’s the deal.

Sally and I have talked, and I’ve decided that I really would love to see the message of this song conveyed by many people. I’d love to see how you would sing this song. She doesn’t have room to put all of the renditions we receive permanently on her website. But we will select the top three and give them placement on the song’s page of her website, to be there forevermore. In addition there will be a prize for the top three renditions. First place will win $100, Second, $75 and Third, $50.

At the same time, I want to celebrate anybody who takes the time to make this song their own. Because of this, I’ve decided that I will feature all of the submissions here on my blog. I’m anxious to see your interpretation, and the spirit with which you sing.

So, here are the contest details. All entries need to be received by Sunday June 30th, 2013. Please upload your version to youtube (you can either video-record yourself singing, or you can use to record your vocals and then upload it to youtube with images in the background), and then send a link to your version to joshua (dot) weed (at) gmail (dot) com. (Please note that that’s joshUA weed.) Give your name and contact information, and any story behind your version, or feelings that you had as you prepared your submission. Feel free to use the sheet music as well as the accompaniment track which are both found at Sally’s site here.

I will form a small committee (of musicians more professional than me!) who will help me narrow down ten semifinalists (depending on how many entries we receive of course), and then I will put those out for a public vote. The public vote will narrow it down to the top five. Then Sally and I will award prizes based on a combination of public appeal, and the spirit we feel each version conveys.

I hope anybody who feels the desire to sing will find a pianist or use the accompaniment track and show us their beautiful voice. This competition is not looking for the best singers in the world–that should be clear in the fact that my recording is out there! Instead, I’m hoping to see good singing as well as singing that comes from the heart and conveys the message of love and acceptance of others that Sally and I saw as we wrote this song. Be brave! Show us what you’ve got!

All right, I better go. I have another really important (to me) post I’m working on. I think it’ll be up on Thursday. It’s about a hard subject (porn). So be prepared.

Before I go though, again, the pertinent links:

Here is Sally’s page where you can find the sheet music (along with everything else).
Here is a link to where you can download the accompaniment track.
Here is a link to where you can download my version to hear the vocals.

Get downloading. And singing. (And if there are only three entries, then by golly, you are an automatic winner!!!)


  1. Beautiful Josh, really. It reminds me that I miss singing in the choir with you.

    You know what you said about celebrities, well I once had a dream that my husband and I went to dinner with Steve Irwin and his wife. (I adore him!!!) If I get some inclination that HE is visiting my blog…well, let's just say, I'll increase my therapy to 3 to 4 times a week. 🙂

  2. Song was beautiful! (although you really shouldn't have had me listen to Trololol beforehand!) On my computer, "Here is Sally's page where you can find the sheet music (along with everything else)." isn't linked to anything. (I'm sure people can find her website, I just wanted to give you a heads up 🙂 )

  3. If you needed a musician to tell you that you sound AWESOME, here it is: I'm a musician. You sound AWESOME.

  4. this is truly a message that should be heard by all, the music is absolutely beautiful as well as the message, thank you, thank you for following the spirit when prompted and for being willing to share your numerous talents.

  5. Are you trying to make me cry, Josh? Because you did. Even though I listened to Trololo first (you really captured the sociopathic look of the Russian, except with better teeth), I was able to compose myself and listen with my heart.

    1. Excellent question, Katie! I should have made this clearer. No, it doesn't have to be professional at all. As Sally says, you could record it on a Fisher Price Karaoke Machine for all we care. We just want to hear your rendition. Live performance has a beauty and arc that recordings might not attain, so we're fine with either–basically anything at all.

  6. You are such a mormon! Therapist/songwriter/singer/violinist/showman… way to go for building on your talents in more areas than just the one that supports you financially!

  7. Ditto what Audrey said — such a Mormon! 😀 And you have a lovely voice. I had no idea. (As a lurking reader — "Weeder" 😀 — why would I?)

    Oh, and there's this lady I keep seeing in Costco in Bountiful, Utah, who looks like Lolly with short hair! But then, I am known for mixing up faces, big time. 🙂

  8. Ha ha, what Audrey said — classic multitalented musical Mormon! And you have a lovely voice, as just a reader –Weeder 🙂 — I wouldn't have known.

    And there is a woman who looks like Lolly w/ short hair who I keep seeing at Costco in Bountiful, Utah. But then, I am known for mixing up faces. Big time. 🙂 😛

    (And sorry if this posts twice! I always have issues w/ making comments! :P)

  9. I have been a huge Sally DeFord fan for years. Used her music many times as choir director. This song is beautiful. You never cease to amaze me. You've been a little busy. Now maybe I will forgive you for ignoring your Weeders for so long.

  10. Josh, (and Sally), I just have to say that the song is very beautiful. And Josh, You did a GREAT job on the recording. I have used many of Sally's songs in my personal singing and in our ward choir. They are always beautiful and touching. My emotions were strong as I read about this song, and the tears were falling as I listened to it. As the mother of a son who struggles with SSA, I was touched at the wisdom in these words and the beauty of the melody. Josh I have a questions for you. I am on the NS leadership council. I can't find your personal e mail, so if you have a minute in your busy schedule could you send me a quick note. Thanks. Charlotte

  11. Joshua Weed, legitimally has a freakin' awesome singing voice. Who woulda thunk? I am a long time Weed reader, and I am totally excited for you! What an amazing experience. 🙂

  12. K-after hearing your beautiful man voice I am DEFINITELY calling you JoshUA from now on. That was fantastic! What a neat opportunity for you! You inspire me JoshUa. I just may have to submit something…:)

  13. P.S. I too love Sally deford's music and arrangements that she generously shares with all. I am our ward choir director and 2 of 3 of our next numbers are hers :-).

  14. Question- for uploading images to the "tunestotube" thing, are the images part of the judging for the contest? Like, can I just put up an image of the song title or does it need to be like a slideshow of carefully considered images? 🙂

    1. Good question. The images aren't part of the competition. Putting up an image of the song title would be just fine. It might matter in the public opinion vote a little–people like to be visually stimulated, I think. But as far as the competition itself goes it is not part of how you will be assessed.

    2. Hmmmm, is that a maybe? 😉 I guess I just don't want to use any images that will violate copyrights… I wonder if entering a contest where there is the potential to win money counts as "non-commercial, personal use"? Any copyright lawyers out there want to weigh in?? 🙂

    3. IMHO, I'd say go with a static image or you'll spend way too much time on the part that doesn't really matter. Just a title would be fine. Or a picture Josh would enjoy–you know, like a squirrel or something. 😉

  15. I want to write something about how I felt while listening to your song and all I can think of is Wow. That was amazing, I have not felt the spirit so strong in a long time and this song brought it to me. You have a wonderful voice. Thank you.

  16. I love the song and the vocals, Josh! Maybe I'll even get around to a quick recording attempt before the end of the month. Let me know if you're interested in some future musical collaboration.

  17. I'm only 11-12 days late! (my girls are still helping me load it to You Tube with a little more than just a shot of my very brown wall 🙂 ). Have loved searching for the other entries and listening to them.

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