An Abbotsford woman has released a new single, a song titled Define Happy that she wrote 20 years ago.
Wendy Gray, who is semi-retired from a sales background in interior decorating, said she has always had an interest in music.
In the 1990s, she and her husband of 34 years were living in Toronto when she flew to Saskatoon to record a few songs that she had written.
One of them played on the radio in Moose Jaw, Sask., and later that year Gray played for a Red Cross benefit in her hometown.
But then she had two children – a son and a daughter – and “priorities change and you get busy,” she said.
The family moved from Ontario to western Canada and in 1994 Gray released a CD, which was played on Canadian radio.
“I did this the old-fashioned way. I stuffed many envelopes with my CD and mailed them to radio stations across Canada. I was interviewed by Diane Copeland on Kiss FM radio,” Gray said.
She also pitched one of the songs on the CD to iconic Canadian singer Rita MacNeil, and Gray jokes that it was “one of the nicest rejection letters” she has ever received.
“It was hand-written on her stationery. I’ll always treasure that – not the rejection part, but that she took the time to hand-write a letter.”
Gray said she has won some singing contests over the years and is always sending her work to songwriting contests, placing in the top 100 out of 7,000 entries in one of them. Gray also sings on worship teams.
She wrote Define Happy 20 years ago, and it’s about a relationship that ends in which one of the partners – most likely female – “feels completely used up and finds the strength to move on and leave.”
It includes the lyrics “I find myself more in love with the memories, and how once you loved me” and “One last look around at deserted halls. No pictures left hanging on the walls.”
Gray said, with the extra time she had this year, she went through some of the songs that had not finished or reworked. A friend of hers, Sami Ghawi of FUSIONpresents in Coquitlam, and others encouraged her to release Define Happy. She recorded it in Ghawi’s studio.
“He’s brutally honest and pushes you, but he’s a fan of my voice and writing. So now the push is on to complete more songs to follow up this single,” Gray said.
The song is available on all major streaming sites, including Spotify, Apple and iTunes.