When COVID-19 shut down schools, businesses and ski resorts back in March, Aspen Skiing Company employees also found themselves sitting at home. They decided to use the time to write and produce an original song called “See You,” which will be available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music this week.
Matt Jones is Skico’s Mountain Division Chief Operating Officer and the company’s CFO; before that, he cut his teeth in the music industry as a tour manager and backup singer. He said bringing a guitar to business presentations typically gets more attention than a powerpoint, and he often finds fellow musicians within the company.
“Afterwards usually a closet musician or two comes up to me and says ‘Oh, I sang in college’ or ‘I used to be a professional bass player,’” Jones said. “So, I’ve been kind of logging those in my mind.”
Those mental notes came in handy during the COVID-19 shutdowns. He recruited four other Skico music makers to write and produce the song: Jonathan Ballou, the head of Skico’s Ski & Snowboard School, came up with the bass riff, and Jones worked with Auden Schendler and Michael Miracle from the company’s sustainability department to write the lyrics.
Jones and the company’s sustainability manager Hannah Berman added vocals, and Schendler’s daughter, Willa, laid down a saxophone track for the tune. They used a barn at Jones’s house as a makeshift, socially distant recording space.
“I’m really proud of how a group of amateurs who’ve never played a riff together could pull this off,” Jones said. “I think it’s a testament to how much latent talent is out there.”
Jones said that along with general uncertainty about the pandemic, shutting down ski operations in March was traumatic for those within the company and the community, and the project was therapeutic for the group.
“When things get hard you try to focus on some of the things you love,” he said. “It gave us a fun project and a way to be together—even though we were socially distant, we were together in music.”
Jones added that he hopes others find the same sense of fun and resiliency when they listen to the song as the group did making the music.