A Continuing E-Newsletter About the 1st Album…
So it’s January and, as promised, I’m pursuing the album-making full speed ahead! Two weeks ago I began, with the help of some friends J, putting together the list that would be the 13 songs that are on the first album (since I’m no longer doing a “full-band CD”, some of the original songs that were chosen didn’t relate). I also had a short list of 6 that would be “alternates” if one or more of the 13 didn’t come out right at this first session. I then called and made an appointment with Randy and, on Saturday the 17th, Dan and I (and Kenna) went in to the studio and made a dry-run recording!
Yes, it was VERY exciting to be actually DOING it instead of TALKING about it! Kenna and Dan, along with Jake and Kate later, got to be in the studio and listen through head-phones to what it was ACTUALLY sounding like and we just went for broke; I got a basic of all 19 songs recorded in a little over three hours! I headed up to the main sound room then to talk to Randy; he had me listen to myself (for the first time, yay!!) and then gave me the instructions for “homework” over the next week or so…they are described further in the “next steps” section below, but keep on reading…J
One of the things that Randy had originally suggested was that we try for a “studio live” recording. Basically it means that he hits the record button and I play and sing at the same time and, if it’s good enough, we keep it. All the songs would then proceed that way until we were all done. Well, that was a nice idea, and we recorded all of them for just that reason: so that we could hear whether I/the songs had the potential to make that happen. (Why would we try for that? Well, two reasons: it might be a little simpler if it works and, according to Randy, a musical “purist”, it’s a little more prestigious if you’re able to make the claim that you just recorded and didn’t touch the music or the vocals… AND the only way to prove that, is making a simple recording of everything straight as it comes out; in other words, NOT laying down tracks on top of each other, NOT recording things separately and then putting them together.) But, after recording that afternoon, we had a listen to the songs and made the decision that it would be better, for the piano part of the songs, for me to make a multi-track recording (NOT “studio live”) so that I could focus on one and then the other. Ultimately I found that as we listened, I became more convinced that I could play better if I didn’t have to sing at the same time. It will be fine to play and sing at the same time at a concert when someone doesn’t have to listen to it over and over, but on a cd, that’s the whole point, and it had better sound worthy of listening to over and over!
¨ I will be needing to critique and correct the songs that I did in the “dry-run” recording and will need prayer in the areas of being too critical of the music/myself in this process; I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to this…
¨ I will need your CONTINUED prayer specifically when it comes to balancing all that I already do and need to do with “homework” and recording!
¨ I will also need to pick out 3 more songs to complete the albums that we’re going to be making so I could use your prayers for discernment for that as most of my music is starting to all run together in my head at this point…yes, I said albumsssss…keep reading
So after I got up to the main sound room, Randy actually gave me a little more information along with the homework assignments he had for me…
First he told me that usually when someone comes in to do the recording, especially this first dry-run, they rarely get past the fourth song because at that point their vocals, instrument skills, or attitude falls apart and they need to stop or at least take a long break. “The reason I’m telling you this is because you were just as excited and sounded just as good on the last song as you did on the first…it makes me think that this is going to go a lot easier than I thought!” Yay!!!! To say the least, I was really encouraged by his statement and pray that God continues to give me the resilience I’ll need to go the long-haul and complete this project! I’m already getting very goal-oriented (as true to character) and am getting frustrated with not being able to drop everything and “just do this one thing”. Dan has had to remind me several times this week already that I’m more than a recording artist, I’m also a wife, mommy, youth leader, and piano teacher; I’m going to have to take one thing at a time, one day at a time! I know this, but DOING it will be the hard part!
So I mentioned “albums” before..yes it’s true! Let me back up a bit. As I mentioned before, when we got there, I had the 13 songs that were the ones that I and a few friends had put together for this album plus the 6 others that could be alternates should Randy decide that there are ones that need to be replaced. Well right off the bat, he decided that we should go ahead and see how far we get, record all 19 if we had time and energy. So we did and then, after his before-mentioned statement, he asked if we’d like to hear an idea he had since the recording went so well. Of course we did and then he proceeded to explain that he only thought two of the songs weren’t album material at this point and so, if we would add two different ones, plus one more, we’d have 20 total and could instead make two 10 song albums…yes 2! J We thought it’d be a great idea as well, especially since we’ve got most of the 20 at least already demo-ed and ready to critique and begin. Soooo, that leads us to…
What happens next at this point…? Well, it starts with going through the demo CD song by song and deciding what needs to happen for each song to be ready. I’ll need to figure out whether the ending needs re-done, the beginning needs work, the piano part needs help, the vocals are too much or too little for the piano part, and what songs will be the ones that are added to this project to make the count 20. There’s MUCH to be done and, as I said before, I’m a little frustrated with how slow-paced it seems it’s going to be, but I also know that God’s timing has lead me thus far and He will bring to completion the work He has started and for that I am thankful to Him and must trust in Him!
At the point at which I have written down all the ideas I have and things that need to be changed with regard to the songs, I will begin practicing, incorporating those needed changes…then I’ll practice more…then I’ll practice some more…and then…well, you get the idea J…THEN I will make an appointment to get into the studio again. Once there in the studio, I will record the piano tracks (in a sense making an accompaniment for myself) for all the songs…depending of course on how long that takes; if all goes well, I’m hoping to have all 20 done in one day…we’ll see
The next step will then be to lay down the vocal track on top of that; singing to the “accompaniment” that I made previously. The harmony tracks will be laid down next and, at this point especially, I’d be fooling myself if I had the least idea how long those two things would take so, again, we’ll see! If at that point I’m not emotionally and physically “done” with the whole project J and I have resources to spare, we might add some cello, upright bass, or other strings to the album…yep, you guessed it: we’ll see!
It’s going to be a long road ahead; thank you for already sticking it out and waiting a whole year between the first steps and the first basic step forward! It’s meant a lot to have your support and prayers and I know that with them God has encouraged me to do far more than I could have ever imagined He had in mind for me…
In Him and only through HIS strength…
~Gretchen & Family~