05/14/2012 05:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Song Blog #1: 'Still I Rise'

Hello, and welcome to Project: Song Blog! My name is Carmel Dean and I am a Broadway musical director and composer. I recently had the idea to create a video song blog with established Broadway actors singing brand new musical theatre songs composed by myself and other up-and-coming writers.

Project: Song Blog is a YouTube series for those people who are interested in not only hearing and seeing original work being performed for the first time right before their eyes, but who also like to have a behind-the-scenes look at the Broadway actors who learn and perform these songs. As someone who has worked on many new musicals in the last decade, I still find it fascinating seeing how each different actor learns brand new material and then makes each song their own, having never heard anyone else sing them before. Each installment of "Project: Song Blog" will result in a completely original (and entertaining!) rendition of a brand new song.

Song Blog #1 features Rebecca Naomi Jones, who most recently played "Whatsername" in the hit Green Day musical American Idiot (for which I was the musical director). Rebecca is an incredibly dynamic and unique performer whose voice brings such pathos to every song she sings. When deciding what song to give her, I thought that "Still I Rise," a setting I did of Maya Angelou's powerful anthem to female courage and strength, would be a perfect choice. She sings it beautifully -- and we had a lot of fun doing it!

Please enjoy Project: Song Blog #1 Still I Rise: