“But,” you say, “13 years is such a random anniversary to celebrate. And13 is bad luck!”
Well, you know what else is bad luck? Contracting genital herpes. I sat down with singer-songwriter, Amy Flynn, to discuss the tune that catapulted her into the national spotlight and soundtracked countless, awkward American Idol commercial breaks with mom and dad.
Amy, thanks for chatting with Blocland.
Thanks for having me.
So, how did you get involved with Valtrex?
What? Who told…I don’t know what you’re talking about.
No, I mean how did the commercial come about?
Oh, right. Well, I was a struggling singer living in Panama City, Florida back in 2003. I had been playing cover gigs around town for a few years to help make ends meet…mostly during spring breaks. Playing for a bunch of drunk college kids wasn’t exactly doing anything for my career though, so I decided to buckle down and start writing some original material. One of those early songs was “Brand New Day”.
I tried it out one night at a gig, and a representative from GlaxoSmithKline happened to be at the bar handing out coupons for Valtrex. After my set, he approached me and said the song would be perfect for their new commercial.
Wow, good timing! Did you have any apprehension about featuring your song in a Valtrex ad?
Not really. Honestly, I didn’t even know what Valtrex was used for at the time. I…do now, though.
Interesting. So, I can’t help but notice the glaring lack of a verse in your song. Was that intentional?
Not really. I was struggling with writer’s block back then, but I had this great idea for a chorus. I wrote the rest of the music around it and hoped the lyrics for the verse would come to me eventually. They never did. Luckily, the wordless verses were the parts that the representative liked most. He said they left a lot of room for “voice over work”.
So, the song wasn’t written specifically about genital herpes? I did not know that. What is it actually about?
It’s actually about my sister who passed away on 9/11, but I’d hate to lift the curtain too much! I don’t really like explaining my song meanings to people. That, sir, is your job.
Then it’s about herpes. Ok, so what have you been up to since then?
Well, after all the success of “BND”…the commercial ran from 2004 till around 2007…I was a hot commodity. I did some work for anti-bloating meds, IBS, frequent urination…that sort of thing. Basically, if you wanted to convince people that they weren’t gross, you called me. I tried getting some mainstream work…Advil, Nyquil… but it’s a tough racket.
The last piece I did was for a Gardasil commercial…it does something for HPV, or periods or something. I called it “Frequent Infrequence” and it had full lyrics and everything!
Might I have I seen it?
Oh, I’m sure you have….but you’d never know it was me! They muted my singing, added weird drums to it and downtuned the whole track! It’s totally unrecognizable now!
Anyway, it was pretty clear around this time that my “sound” was no longer what the drug companies were after. The song “Suddenly I See” was a huge hit on the radio, and that style of music was no longer deemed “appropriate” for ads about debilitating illnesses. They were all, “Give us something with a clarinet or an oboe.” Something, “playful but mopey”. Pathetic.
But that fad was short-lived too. You see how it is now… all mischievous Randy Newman, 12-bar blues, Cialis bullshit.
Totally. I hate “Suddenly I See”, too. Pandering garbage.
Right? Fuck that song.
Yes, fuck it.