South Charlotte

Songwriter creates new reality show theme song

Sean Trainor, who grew up in south Charlotte, is grateful for the national exposure his song “Wonderfully Made” is about to receive because, he said, “I want to make my living as a songwriter.”
Sean Trainor, who grew up in south Charlotte, is grateful for the national exposure his song “Wonderfully Made” is about to receive because, he said, “I want to make my living as a songwriter.” TANISHA UZETA

Sean Trainor knew in high school that music would be his career.

He picked up the guitar in sixth grade and learned piano as well. As a Providence High School student, he had weekly gigs in restaurants, bars and churches playing the guitar and piano and singing.

“I think when you’re young and you’re a musician, you don’t really know that you’re talented,” Trainor, 22, said. “It’s just what you like to do.”

When Trainor was deciding on his college and career, his father asked him if music was his first thought when he woke up each day. The answer was a resounding “yes.” Then, Trainor’s dad told him, music is what he is meant to pursue.

Trainor attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating in May with a degree in songwriting, contemporary writing and production.

He is moving to Nashville, where he will be pursuing an internship at The Parlor Studios.

“I always knew that I wanted to end up in Nashville,” Trainor said. “It has an unbelievable culture and respect for music and musicians.”

The degree in music from his school of choice, which was Berklee; the mentorship at a studio he was able to line up through one of his college professors and the move to Nashville were all stepping stones he identified back in high school.

Whatever your doubts, you have an identity and a strong sense of self that will see you through.

Sean Trainor, songwriter

What was not part of the original plan was having one of his songs selected as a TV show theme song. When the new reality show “Answered Prayers,” starring Roma Downey, premieres on TLC on July 26, it will feature the song “Wonderfully Made.” Trainor wrote the piece in spring 2012.

“I usually take a long time writing songs,” Trainor said. “But this one came out in one sitting.”

Trainor wrote it to encourage himself during a tough time, when the stress of having talented, competitive peers was getting to him. The song is about having faith in yourself.

“Whatever your doubts,” Trainor said, “you have an identity and a strong sense of self that will see you through.”

The song’s title comes from Psalm 139:14, which reads, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The following year, Trainor submitted the song in Berklee’s annual Perfect Pitch competition, in which student songwriters pitch songs to student artists and producers, and the team efforts are then judged and ranked.

“Wonderfully Made” was paired with James Burnett, a fellow Berklee student, as its producer. Burnett’s father is reality television producer Mark Burnett and his stepmother is actress Roma Downey.

The song won the competition. Burnett’s parents heard it and were impressed. They decided this song was the perfect fit for their reality show, which is about people who have experienced extraordinary events.

“It’s really cool that my first national exposure happened so organically,” Trainor said. “There was no wheeling or dealing. I never even pitched it.”

Trainor copyrighted the song and will receive royalties every time it plays. It will eventually be released as a single, but for now, a 20-second clip serves as the theme song for “Answered Prayers.”

“It is surreal,” Trainor said of hearing his song on the promotional clips for the show. “It is very humbling that I have been able to walk out of college and have something like this already in place.”

Trainor looks forward to receiving royalties, but he said the real payment is “to have a song that meant so much to me go out into the world.”

He added, “It was cathartic to write, and now I hope it can help other people who need to hear that message.”

Katya Lezin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Katya? Email her at bowserwoof@mindspring.com.

Learn more:

Visit www.seantrainor.com for more information about Sean Trainor’s music and upcoming album and gigs.

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