Making Music

Great recording session yesterday. Was good to shift gears and work in music. The thing that floors me: for the second session -my musicianship is not up to snuff. I’ve GOT to play better and be more precise, and do more and make more music within a song.

For the most part, it was a very good session. Mostly on these, I’m laying down piano/vocal demos. On one song, I needed piano, rhythm guitar and lead guitar. Whew. That didn’t work at all. I will come home and work my piano playing and guitar playing up to higher levels. I’m not exactly sure what my problem is. I have an electronic metronome, but maybe I need a louder one, or something louder, to practice playing to a beat. If you’re not used to that click track, it can throw you off.

But, I’m happy with several of the demos we did. Last session I had blown out my voice by the end, but for some reason, vocals were working good yesterday. The last song in that last session I knew we had to re-record, but I got it yesterday and got a good track on it.

The uptempo songs are easiest to lay down, and most easy to control vocal-wise. Or maybe I’m more comfortable singing them, because they are fun and sassy. The slower songs tend to have more emotional content. They have “real” emotions in them, and those emotions come from the heart, and come from things I’ve lived, so they are much more personal. You are truly laying yourself on the line, and when you think about it, it isn’t easy to be that vulnerable.

I’m someone that doesn’t talk about relationships, etc, at all, but to convey those relationships in song, for all the world to see? It’s scary out there.

Anyway, I tried to lay down the song that is the most vocally difficult to sing. I will re-record it someday soon, but now I have a template for knowing what to work on, etc. The most disappointing was another song with the piano and two guitar tracks (three guitar tracks if you consider that I laid it down acoustic first, which wasn’t working at all, then I switched to electric, figuring I’d have more control that way. I did, but the playing still was not at all adequate.) I laid down the structure of the song on the piano, just hitting the one measure downbeats, but didn’t like that at all. So, next time I’ll use a bass as the anchor, and I’ll figure out a way to play rhythm better. And I’ll re-structure the lead break, playing the same notes, but in different places on the guitar. At least now I know where I stand, and know what work needs to happen next.

But, with the vocals working overall, I decided to lay down a song that requires extreme vocal control, but since my fingers weren’t in the best shape, could I pull off the piano parts? So, we started in. The song has a great structure and chord progression. Everyone loves the chord progression. C, Cmaj7, C7, F, Dm, Gsus, G, C. It’s a sad song, talking about heartbreak in its purest form. Once we finished it in the studio, I listened to it once all the way thru, but didn’t even want to listen to it again. It just hits you in the gut. Total sledgehammer to the mid-section.

I’ve listened to it since I got home, and it does something to me. It takes me to another place. I try to listen to it with a critical ear, trying to figure out what edits it needs, and where my vocals or piano need to get better for the future. And I can’t critique it, because every time I’ve listened to it, it transports me to another place.

Okay, if it affects me that way, when I’ve had literally years to get used to the emotional effects, how does it affect a first time listener?

Anyway, the engineer wanted to build orchestration on that song, so we will work on that next time. I think we’ve got ahold of something special.

I call this “synergy in music”. Synergy is a business term when the whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

Synergy in music is when the music becomes more than the instruments and vocals and things that are on the tracks. Something more happens. When that magic happens, treat it as a gift. It’s rare.

Having this recorded music is a dream come true. Now…finally, I’m at the place in my life where I can hand someone a CD and say “This is me.” It’s taken years of work to work up to this level.

And what surprises me the most? On some level, and I don’t understand it…I’m scared of this. Dealing with fear is not something I’ve had to do in my life. I’ve worked my whole life towards “success” towards “making it”. My whole life is geared towards this, today, making the world aware of who I am, sharing my art with the world, etc. This is the threshhold. The time is now.

It should be exciting that people are hearing my music/reading my books/seeing my movies and tv appearances, etc. It is…sometimes. But wow, mostly it’s just scary being in this whole new realm/being judged/being open to criticism. Never would I have thought that I’d react this way.

I feel like a turkey with its neck on the chopping block.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful. This whole life is a gift. I’m trying to use it the best way I know how.

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