‘Good Vibes’ offers sing-along theme for virtual Annual Meeting

This article appeared in the November 2020 edition of the Chickasaw Times

ADA, Okla. – “James Brown meets Stevie Wonder.”

That is how co-author Philip Sullivan describes the 2020 Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival’s theme song, “Good Vibes.”

“Good Vibes” is certainly a departure from the Annual Meeting and Festival’s previous theme songs.

It was written as a sing-along with dozens of Chickasaws citizens joining in via today’s modern technology to sing, dance and be a part of a video. It can be viewed at AnnualMeeting.Chickasaw.net.

“It’s totally different than anything we have written in the past,” Mr. Sullivan said while giving a nod to co-author, Chickasaw musician Jeff Carpenter.

“It kind of had to be (different),” Mr. Sullivan said. “Usually we sit in a room, brainstorm ideas and play guitars to see if we can find a melody or hook. With 2020 being what it is, we didn’t have that togetherness. I had the idea of having citizens record themselves singing along with a song about a year ago, but we decided against it. This year was the perfect year for that.

“Sending out a song to Chickasaws to join in the fun, we didn’t want a sad or slow song. We needed something so different it would make the listener perk up and maybe smile! It may not be everyone’s favorite style or genre of music, but that’s okay. Hopefully, everyone will get a kick out of it. We wanted it upbeat and groovy. Something that would make you smile, bob your head and make you feel good and maybe want to go dancing.”

The song, musicians, singers and video are chock full of talent, too.

Las Vegas Chickasaw singer/musician Shaun DeGraff performed lead vocals for “Good Vibes.”

“Shaun is an immensely proud Chickasaw citizen and is extremely talented,” Mr. Sullivan said. “He shaped the sound of many of our recent Chickasaw productions with his singing. You can find him featured on several of our past Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival music videos, as well as the ‘Te Ata’ soundtrack.”

Mr. DeGraff also plays piano, horns and keyboard on “Good Vibes.”

Mr. Carpenter, senior audio producer for the Chickasaw Nation, mixed and produced the song; Mr. Sullivan, senior producer for Chickasaw Nation Multi-Media, laid down bass and guitar tracks; and Kade Norton played drums. Mr. Norton is an audio and technical coordinator for the Chickasaw Nation and has been involved with several Annual Meeting and Festival theme songs.

With the continuing COVID-19 public health crisis, this year’s celebration was virtual. The virtual element meant the musicians recorded from their homes, a new challenge. Multiple tracks were sent to be layered into the final song.

Mr. Carpenter mixed and mastered the files to create “Good Vibes.”