Hi everyone!

The Somewhere Project is ramping up! If you haven't yet started writing a song based on "Somewhere" from West Side Story, it's not too late!

If you haven't heard about the project yet, go HERE for a great overview on Carnegie's Somewhere Page, and to see artistic contributions from young people all over the city.

Then, there are lots of ways you can contribute or participate. Start by checking out the amazing resources at SOUNDFLY: They've crafted lessons, informational content, and fun challenges around The Somewhere Project.

To learn more about all of the the music from West Side Story, and to get started writing your own song, go HERE.


Recently, I was lucky enough to work with a fantastic choir of young women from Celia Cruz High School, The Sweet-Out-Of-Lines. We had 10 sessions to come up with original songs and lyrics, all based on the song "Somewhere" (to watch the movie musical version of "Somewhere", see my first blog post).

To prepare, the choir watched the movie, and discussed various themes with their director (the fantastic Lisa Gwasda). Then we brainstormed song ideas as a group. We asked ourselves, "Where is our own 'place'?"

It was important to the Sweet Out-Of-Lines to write a song about their two most important "places": first, the city of New York, and second, their choir, which they considered their home away from home. (The second song, "Unstoppable", will be coming in my next blog post).

Once we settled on writing about New York, we had some fun coming up with rhyming words which captured the spirit of the city (personality, diversity..), as well as some fun words just describing parts of it (museums, shopping..) We split into three groups to come up with mini-songs. I gave each group 20 minutes. One wrote a fun ditty on Starbucks, another on tourists. And one group came up with the seeds of what would become the song.

Here are the opening lines from that group:

"A city of skyscrapers and dreams to be achieved"

We took this to the group, and expanded on the words, culling from what we had written on the board. 

Next, we had to come up with a melody! We started with part of the chorus.Here's a clip:

New York Brainstorm

Finally, after a few sessions, we had two verses, a bridge, and a chorus. (A lot of songs these days don't have a third verse, but we wanted to include one, in order to bring the energy back down and focus on an individual perspective, so we could build it back up. This came in the form of a girl daydreaming about being famous, and asking herself if it is possible.

It was important to the girls that we didn't make it all "HAPPY HAPPY SMILE SMILE!" Because, let's face it, living in NYC is not always easy. And being 16 years old and living in the Bronx is not always easy, either. Here are the finished lyrics, which include lines like "Wandering alone, the streets are like a maze".


inspired by “Somewhere” from West Side Story

Words and Music by Sweet Out-Of-Lines

A city of skyscrapers and dreams to be achieved

Everywhere you look there's possibility

A place to explore your personality

It's time to unlock your creativity

Wandering alone, the streets are like a maze

Find my way home, it's like I'm in a daze

Everywhere I look there is no escape

If I shine my light, I'll find my way

Find a way

Find my way

Another masterpiece New York, New York

You've captured me New York, New York

You've got a piece of me New York, New York

Will I ever leave New York, New York

Where's my place

Where's my place

Gonna find it someday

Don't run away

Sits in class lost in a daydream

Wondering if she'll make it to the big screen

It's a long shot, they're telling me

But who's to say it cannot be

Another masterpiece New York, New York

You've captured me New York, New York

You've got a piece of me New York, New York

Will I ever leave New York, New York


Here is the version we did in class once the song was written:

NY NY Class Version

BUT we weren't done yet!

We first performed the song at the Winter Concert.

There was some initial nervousness, as the girls were used to singing classical pieces and had never written or performed their own music before. But they quickly got into the spirit of things!

In January, we were lucky enough to record a professional version of the song in the renowned Lehman College Multimedia Center, with James Shipp and the Lehman team producing.

It was a long way from start to finish, with lots of feedback and revision in between. I think you'll agree that the final version is STUNNING. It captures The Somewhere Project, The Sweet-Out-Of-Lines, and the city perfectly.

Stay tuned for my next blog post, in which I will follow the group's process from start to finish as they wrote their own theme song, "Unstoppable", ending on a high note at a Neighborhood Concert in The Bronx.

Enjoy listening, check out all of the awesome content from the links above, and write your own song! Don't forget to post it with the hashtag #somewhereproject.

NY NY by The Sweet-Out-Of-Lines

Views: 122


You need to be a member of Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange to add comments!


Carnegie Hall created this Ning Network.

About Musical Exchange

Connect with other young musicians (ages 13 and up), share your performances and compositions, and join creative projects led by professional artists from Carnegie Hall.





 Proud Sponsor

Digital music workshops produced by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Building Beats are supported by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust.


© 2018   Created by Carnegie Hall.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service