Recording With or Without You

I had never planned to record With or Without You.  
   
In fact, I planned not to. A few years ago, I planned on recording a very different song I wrote that quotes part of U2’s famous song, but had a very different message (I may still yet record it).  

I was always deeply moved by the song’s epic and distinctive beauty. But the paradox of the words had always troubled me. How Bono could feel so internally torn, I didn't fully understand. But I still listened and sang at the top of my lungs in my car, because it was beautiful.  And then one day the words became real to me.  
   
It’s odd to me how one simple question can feel insignificant one day, yet can trigger a thousand floods of emotion the next. I broke down into tears one morning when my recording engineer just asked me how I was.  My engineer was also a long-time friend, so I shared with him the news that a serious relationship I was in had just ended. A songwriter I was producing vocals for was running late for the session, so we had some time to unpack a bit of my story. I tend to be somewhat private about my dating life when it comes to social media, but we had had some of these dating conversations in the past, and I expressed how deeply significant and meaningful this relationship had been to me and how letting go of it was honestly the hardest decision I had ever made.  
   
Waves of grief kept knocking me over. I told him how even though the relationship had ended a couple times before, my heart truly struggled with what felt like an impossible decision. I had invested significant time, even years, along with my entire heart, in this relationship, and I was buried in an ocean of sadness over it. That morning, in my friend’s small home studio, it was hard to keep my emotions in check. My heart felt achy and raw. I found myself saying, "Its' just so hard. I don't want to let him go, but I know I need to. It feels like I can't live with or without him."  
   
My friend gave me an odd look, went to his keyboard and began to play the familiar chords to the U2 song. He motioned for me to head to a makeshift-ISO-vocal-booth and sing. Oh no, I thought. I did not feel like singing that morning, and I walked to the booth feeling some weird mix of numbness and searing-hot heart pain. The kind that chocolate and Netflix can’t even begin to fix. I sang anyway.  
   
Singing those lyrics hit my soul like someone had ripped my heart wide open to expose my rawest and deepest, fleshiest, most tender feelings. Although I had loved the song, I had never identified with its words like that before. Suddenly, the lyrics became personal. Bono’s song became sacred ground for me that morning. I sang it from a different place, present to all the loss and pain and bittersweet feelings of a relationship I had wanted so much to work, but didn’t.  
   
In that moment, Aaron, my engineer, shared not only in my pain, but also added his voice to mine. His is the other voice you hear on the track.  
   
Though the healing journey would be far from complete for a long time, I began the sticky process of tending to my heart and picking up the pieces to begin my journey forward. Sometimes the heart can take a long while to recover from an ending. Especially when a relationship holds so much potential and the “without you” part feels incredibly difficult and unclear.  

But one thing I am discovering is that we can move forward. However, first we need to stop and grieve. And just feel. And sometimes we need to sing in the moment it hurts the most, as raw and shaky as our voices may be. And sometimes we need to cry our eyes out all night and use every tissue in the Kleenex box. And pray. And talk to friends. And listen to sad songs. And sometimes we need to repeat the process again and again. And again.   
   
After I recorded With or Without You, I never planned to release it. I figured it was just kind of for my own processing. But recently, in my own efforts to be courageous and vulnerable, I decided I wanted to.   
    
And so I offer it to you. May it help you feel... and, if needed, even grieve.    

I wish you real healing and love. From my broken—and still healing heart—to yours.

23 comments

  • Larry Johnston

    Larry Johnston Idaho

    Thank you for sharing your story in words & music... Crying like a baby on my lunch hoor. So beautiful!

    Thank you for sharing your story in words & music... Crying like a baby on my lunch hoor. So beautiful!

  • Boyd Curtis

    Boyd Curtis Lehi, Utah

    Thanks April for being so real. Sometimes real is hard to find these days. I always I have enjoyed your friendship your music and especially Who You Are, what you stand for, and your high standards in a world that is crumbling all around us.

    Thanks April for being so real. Sometimes real is hard to find these days. I always I have enjoyed your friendship your music and especially Who You Are, what you stand for, and your high standards in a world that is crumbling all around us.

  • James

    James Watertown, MA

    Not sure what to say, but I'm so glad you released this. It's really powerful April.

    Not sure what to say, but I'm so glad you released this. It's really powerful April.

  • Jason Graham

    Jason Graham Utah

    This is beautiful, April. Thank you.

    This is beautiful, April. Thank you.

  • Ban

    Ban Platteville, WI

    Wow, such a real, heart-searing, vulnerable, emotional backstory, so eloquently put in words! Not so easy to share, I understand. Still you did! Bravo! And thanks so much for sharing!

    Wow, such a real, heart-searing, vulnerable, emotional backstory, so eloquently put in words! Not so easy to share, I understand. Still you did! Bravo! And thanks so much for sharing!

  • Michelle

    Michelle Salt Lake City

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful cover and the even more beautiful story behind it. Love and heartbreak are so intensely personal, and yet so intensely universal. I have felt similar emotions over the years - it is so crazy how songs can take on such amazing significance based on what your heart is feeling. Bravo!

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful cover and the even more beautiful story behind it. Love and heartbreak are so intensely personal, and yet so intensely universal. I have felt similar emotions over the years - it is so crazy how songs can take on such amazing significance based on what your heart is feeling. Bravo!

  • Loren

    Loren Kaysville, UT

    A fitting echo of the thoughts and throbs of a heart when one just reads the lyrics. Your version is a perfect match of your experience and these lyrics, and your experience. It's wonderful- and deep- thanks!

    A fitting echo of the thoughts and throbs of a heart when one just reads the lyrics.

    Your version is a perfect match of your experience and these lyrics, and your experience.

    It's wonderful- and deep- thanks!

  • Lyndi

    Lyndi Reno

    Wow, April. I love this! It would be nice if it was a professional breakthrough, but no matter what, it feels like a powerful, personal one. P.S. hello to James and your mom.

    Wow, April. I love this! It would be nice if it was a professional breakthrough, but no matter what, it feels like a powerful, personal one.

    P.S. hello to James and your mom.

  • Julie

    Julie California

    Dearest April, Your voice and permeating emotion behind the song is mesmerizing and absolutely exquisite. I can vividly feel your sadness, loss, and deep pain you feel. Beautiful and sacred. thank you so much for sharing your gifts. You're a beautiful woman inside and out and I wish for you all the happiness in the world and may all your dreams come true. Love you April

    Dearest April,
    Your voice and permeating emotion behind the song is mesmerizing and absolutely exquisite. I can vividly feel your sadness, loss, and deep pain you feel. Beautiful and sacred. thank you so much for sharing your gifts. You're a beautiful woman inside and out and I wish for you all the happiness in the world and may all your dreams come true. Love you April

  • Jeanna

    Jeanna Utah

    April, Thank you for this song. Thanks for being real and sharing your heartache. You are an amazing strong woman.

    April, Thank you for this song. Thanks for being real and sharing your heartache. You are an amazing strong woman.

  • Renee Alter

    Renee Alter lampasas, TX

    Thank you! This is beautiful! You are so blessed to have this engineer for a friend. Yes, it will all be OK. I am 61 and have been through what you are walking through numerous times. I'm back to being single. It's been a few years since the last 'earthquake'. I am finally finding peace as I see each these relationships were instrumental in my growth. I had to do a lot of work on myself in the self-love department before I realized these other relationships were a reflection of how I felt about myself inside. They were meant to be mirrors. I had no idea I didn't love and respect myself because I thought I did. Sending you a beam of love!

    Thank you! This is beautiful! You are so blessed to have this engineer for a friend. Yes, it will all be OK. I am 61 and have been through what you are walking through numerous times. I'm back to being single. It's been a few years since the last 'earthquake'. I am finally finding peace as I see each these relationships were instrumental in my growth. I had to do a lot of work on myself in the self-love department before I realized these other relationships were a reflection of how I felt about myself inside. They were meant to be mirrors. I had no idea I didn't love and respect myself because I thought I did. Sending you a beam of love!

  • Scott

    Scott Wyoming

    April, I recently discovered for myself a new meaning of this song. I have always loved U2's version, but it always felt distant. Your cover expresses a very raw and personal perspective that connects very deeply with me. I'm slowly healing from my own loss, but your cover and back story offer encouragement and strength. April, thank you for sharing your talent and not holding this one back... a lot of us out there need this. Thank you.

    April,
    I recently discovered for myself a new meaning of this song. I have always loved U2's version, but it always felt distant. Your cover expresses a very raw and personal perspective that connects very deeply with me. I'm slowly healing from my own loss, but your cover and back story offer encouragement and strength. April, thank you for sharing your talent and not holding this one back... a lot of us out there need this. Thank you.

  • Sara Lyn Baril

    Sara Lyn Baril Alberta

    I love your real-ness April and the emotion in this recording. Thanks for sharing your heart, your voice, your talent, and all that you offer through your music. Love & Hugs.....

    I love your real-ness April and the emotion in this recording. Thanks for sharing your heart, your voice, your talent, and all that you offer through your music. Love & Hugs.....

  • Bree Toone

    Bree Toone Orem, UT

    I am a fan! I am so intrigued by the stories behind your recordings and the journey you're on. It's exciting and I support you! Keep it coming. The world needs your goodness.

    I am a fan! I am so intrigued by the stories behind your recordings and the journey you're on. It's exciting and I support you! Keep it coming. The world needs your goodness.

  • Zen

    Zen St Thomas

    Love you April! You are an amazing woman! Love your vocals and my heart is right there with you!

    Love you April! You are an amazing woman! Love your vocals and my heart is right there with you!

  • Cori Connors

    Cori Connors

    Your vulnerability is part of your gift. A painful part, but a gift to all of us nonetheless. Thanks for letting it happen. This is a beautiful recording. <3

    Your vulnerability is part of your gift. A painful part, but a gift to all of us nonetheless. Thanks for letting it happen. This is a beautiful recording. <3

  • Brent Beachem

    Brent Beachem Utah

    April, Thank you for sharing part of yourself, your life, and your emotions in the background of this song! It is obvious in the recorded rendition that you're sharing yourself with all those that listen to the song. Thank you for pushing through the vulnerability and pain to share this with us. It will help others more than you may realize in knowing they are not alone in feeling similarly to how you felt/feel and perhaps provide them the strength and encouragement to push on in their own lives. Thanks for sharing your amazing talent!

    April, Thank you for sharing part of yourself, your life, and your emotions in the background of this song! It is obvious in the recorded rendition that you're sharing yourself with all those that listen to the song. Thank you for pushing through the vulnerability and pain to share this with us. It will help others more than you may realize in knowing they are not alone in feeling similarly to how you felt/feel and perhaps provide them the strength and encouragement to push on in their own lives. Thanks for sharing your amazing talent!

  • Christina

    Christina Santaquin, UT

    Beautifully done! Love you tons!

    Beautifully done! Love you tons!

  • Rickey G. Lloyd

    Rickey G. Lloyd Montello,Nv

    I feel it. Thanks April

    I feel it.
    Thanks April

  • Brent

    Brent Roosevelt, Utah

    Thanks April for sharing. I wish so much good for you. Thanks for your kindness and goodness. I have never heard a better version. As a friend, I wish you the best. I'm glad I heard about this so I could hear the song.

    Thanks April for sharing. I wish so much good for you. Thanks for your kindness and goodness. I have never heard a better version. As a friend, I wish you the best. I'm glad I heard about this so I could hear the song.

  • Liz Wylie Lockie

    Liz Wylie Lockie Sagle ID

    I just have so enjoyed listening to you and the words you share as well as the emotions that move us thru this Beautiful and unique version of “With or Without You “ It’s amazing how everything unfolds and is revealed to us in its perfect time !! Bless you on your continued journey of this life in music &amp; song ! (I’m still writing as well adding some guitar and keyboard as well !! If you ever get up this way to Idaho we’d love to visit with you and I hope you know you’re always welcome to stay !! Blessings in all your endeavors !!! Love Liz Lockie

    I just have so enjoyed listening to you and the words you share as well as the emotions that move us thru this Beautiful and unique version of “With or Without You “
    It’s amazing how everything unfolds and is revealed to us in its perfect time !!

    Bless you on your continued journey of this life in music & song ! (I’m still writing as well adding some guitar and keyboard as well !!

    If you ever get up this way to Idaho we’d love to visit with you and I hope you know you’re always welcome to stay !!

    Blessings in all your endeavors !!!

    Love
    Liz Lockie

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    I am a sucker for a great female voice, but yours haunts me like the fond memory of a forbidden moment of passion lived and lost long ago.

    I am a sucker for a great female voice, but yours haunts me like the fond memory of a forbidden moment of passion lived and lost long ago.

  • Josh Dieterich

    Josh Dieterich Phoenix, Arizona

    Ok, so, my girlfriend has a very beautiful voice, thought I stay off with that. My sister's baby shower is in two weeks and this is her first baby. So, Emma (my girlfriend) my mother, and myself came up with this idea to put together a photo compilation of all my sister's baby photos, and her husband's baby photos together. Also, it will include week one pregnancy up until about week 30. We are putting a lot of work into this. However, there is a problem. My sister mentioned April's cover of "with or without you" to my girlfriend (Emma). Emma thought wow, that is the song I will sing! So Emma invited her friend Jay, who lives in San Francisco, and we live in Arizona, to sing this song with her. Good news, Jay bought his ticket immediately and will be out her on Wednesday. Problem, we can't find the instrumental of "with or without you", April's cover of course, not U2. Can you guys please help us!!!! I mean, it would mean the world to me, Emma, Jay and my mother!!

    Ok, so, my girlfriend has a very beautiful voice, thought I stay off with that. My sister's baby shower is in two weeks and this is her first baby. So, Emma (my girlfriend) my mother, and myself came up with this idea to put together a photo compilation of all my sister's baby photos, and her husband's baby photos together. Also, it will include week one pregnancy up until about week 30. We are putting a lot of work into this. However, there is a problem. My sister mentioned April's cover of "with or without you" to my girlfriend (Emma). Emma thought wow, that is the song I will sing! So Emma invited her friend Jay, who lives in San Francisco, and we live in Arizona, to sing this song with her. Good news, Jay bought his ticket immediately and will be out her on Wednesday. Problem, we can't find the instrumental of "with or without you", April's cover of course, not U2. Can you guys please help us!!!! I mean, it would mean the world to me, Emma, Jay and my mother!!

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