Brooklyn musician Grey Gersten, who performs under the name Eternal Lips, spent 10 days in June meeting over 100 people who visited his “Custom Melodies” booth in Manhattan. From the booth, surrounded by instruments, Gersten wrote a song for and about everyone he met.
“I like the idea of exploring people through songs and having the site be a constellation of stories that reflect the people themselves and not just their specific musical tastes,” the songwriter explained to Rolling Stone. “You can see what random people’s advice and dreams are. Visitors become part of the songwriting process, and that’s a place most audiences haven’t been before,” Gersten added.
From his cinema-style booth, Gersten would greet visitors and have them fill out a questionnaire that contained questions about dreams and near-death experiences, and then create and record a custom song about the visitor’s life complete with their choice of band and song name and cover art.
A website that’s set to launch later this year will feature every one of Gersten’s “collaborations,” with the option of creating custom playlists. For example, users will be able to create a playlist of songs by people who answered “Yes” to “Have you ever been involved with space travel?”
“To not know them and try to figure them out and reflect that in a song in 20 minutes is a big artistic challenge, but very exciting,” said Gersten, who despite writing and recording each track, plans on crediting each song to to the person’s “imaginary band” and wants to expand out of New York City.
Watch: Eternal Lips feat Sharon Van Etten – Dream Hesitate