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Just wanted to share some thoughts with you which came to me while I was meditating today. It goes something like this:
Wait for it …
There is no better time than the appointed time. Even the fastest runner will lose the race if he darts off before the POW! And WHEN the TIME is right, you will know EXACTLY what you need to do and WHERE you need to go. Only a thief or someone who is scared would run aimlessly in the dark without knowing where they’re going.
Productivity vs Activity …
They are similar but not mutually exclusive. Just because you’re hustling doesn’t mean you’re getting anywhere. It’s all about strategy. There is a time and place for everything under the sun and when you’re in the right place at the RIGHT TIME things just seem to work out. When I have a clear focus and plan in mind … I seem to cosmically attract better outcomes; When I am connected to that higher power, more of those right places and right times appear. And these most auspicious moments are like landmarks on your journey in the right direction.
Peace be still …
My father will tell you - I’m one impatient girl. But these days I’ve been very slow to act. You see … If you have peace, stillness and listen acutely, wisdom is often not too far behind. And you will learn to be respectful of the appointed time. The mango will never be as sweet as it is when it’s perfectly ripe. I know half of my problems and much of my success will be linked to how much wisdom and prudence I can apply to my situation. And inspiration & wisdom WILL come … in the wee hours of the morning. And I’ll have so much conviction and clarity in this moment … so much drive … because I’ll know deep down that IT IS the appointed time.
Peace, Love and Blessings!
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So here are a few things I’ve learnt on my journey so far with studio recording. Of course, we all still have a lot to learn, but this is for the amateur just starting out. When you approach the point where you are paying bigger and bigger bucks for studio time… hopefully these little tips will help!
1. Choose your engineer wisely!
This may be tricky starting out, but generally, you want someone with a good vibe that will make you feel comfortable in the recording booth. If I’m not feeling your energy … I will find it very hard to record with you. I also want someone who I know will take the time to bring out the best in me.
2. Know the set up
Have an idea of what you will be working with and the possibilities. This can make all the difference in your delivery. Will you be wanting reverb on your mic? Do you prefer to be in a darker room? Take time during the process to note your preferences.
3. Know your stuff in and out
So, I used to just go in the studio somewhat unscripted and say I would just catch a vibe in the booth … until I started paying $$$ an hour! Lol. Always know your stuff inside and out … for the poor engineer’s sake too! In preparation for recording Another Way to Die, I drilled it, recorded it on my computer a million times, then went to do it.
4. Establish a rhythm
Engineers will inevitably ask you how you want to record: all the way through or section by section etc. I usually do the lead straight through a couple times first, then listen back and touch up each section. I then do doubles and harmonies etc. I make sure to solo each harmony after each take to ensure accuracy. I then do an adlib track, and then touch ups on the lead again because my voice is usually extremely warm by this time. In other words, kinda related to #3, just map out your stuff and have a good idea how you’re going to execute it.
4. Be aware of the technicalities
Make sure you’re on pitch etc. Yes, emotion is more important, but when you’re starting out, you won’t be able to afford much post production fixes and you will hate your recording like the plague if it’s not on point. Tempo and tuning (instrumentalists) is important too. The less that has to be fixed after, the cheaper. And if you’re really not comfortable with a take, don’t allow the engineer to convince you to leave it. It will ultimately annoy the crap out of you after the fact!
5. No stress before the recording!
Get yourself in the zone sufficiently in advance. I always visualize myself having a perfect recording from that week. I also cut out dairy and baby my voice.
6. Lose yourself
Similar to the stage, there’s an invisible wall between you and the microphone that absorbs all the emotion you think you’re giving out. So just loose yourself and give it everything from the get go. The worst feeling is listening to your final recording and saying “If only …”
7. Listen back!
I personally think it’s a good idea to take a listen as early as possible … even when you know the take sucked. And this listen is for bottom line things only: Is the tone right, am I on pitch, is the appropriate emotion there? You can then make a mental note on how to proceed.
8. Get a copy!
Don’t leave the studio without a draft copy of what you’ve done. You’ll regret it when you get home. Plus you will need to listen back with fresh ears. Also ask the engineer to ensure the vocal volumes are sufficiently up on the copy!
9. File properly
This will save you time, money and a lot of frustration. Have your tracks ready and organized before hand. Know where they will be saved and establish a naming method. Also, encourage the engineer to save regularly. They will get offended … but do it!
10. Be vocal
Don’t be afraid to tell the engineer EXACTLY what you want to ensure a stellar recording. Yes, you may feel you’re being annoying, but It’s worth having a great recording. Plus, good engineers are usually very patient. Just learn to strike a balance. Being overly anal can be counterproductive :)
Well, c’est tout! I would love to hear other tips and pointers from you guys! I’m sure we could all learn from them :) Hope this was helpful. Happy Recording!!
Anyone who knows me would have heard me say at some point that a passion-filled life is not an easy life. You’ll hear it in my songs too. Some may disagree, but It’s like my mantra. However … here is the upside to all this:
You will never have as much drive and determination as you do in your most passionate moment. Your beautiful illusions will never seem as real as they do in your most passionate moment. The impossible will never seem more possible than in your most passionate moment. You will never be as bold, or as valiantly stubborn as you will be in your most passionate moment.
Your road may be long and blurry and the journey tiring, but yet still failure will never be an option and giving up will never be a solution … not in this most passionate moment. And for this precise reason, greatness is born, history made and records are broken in these most passionate moments.
When you see someone riding the wave of their most passionate moment … build them up … don’t tear them down. Who knows what greatness they are destined for and furthermore, who are we to tell someone they “can’t” do something? We all have this greatness inside us.
I say go for it … every “crazy”, “impossible” dream you have … go for it without apology! Why not? You will never be as powerful as you are in your most passionate moment.
Just my little two cents :)
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The young professional musician. There is something very unique about this special fraternity. These people have been a big part of my life in California … they constitute 99% of the people I know! I just wanted to share some of my reflections on this group; a group of people who have changed my life! Enjoy! …
~ —— ~ ——- ~
He/She is in music school or has just graduated. He has more drive than anything, and music is always at the front of his mind. You would have seen him practicing ‘till the wee hours of the morning in his “spot”, and you will never see a more focused look of determination. If he has a girlfriend … it has been established that he is already married to his music. Lol.
He is a lean mean gigging machine. He would have more than likely bought a specific car to suit his instrument. Probably has a change of clothes reserved just in case of that last minute gig. He may not have much clothes, but for sure has black pants and a black button down. And if he doesn’t have a car, he has been known to travel miles with instrument and amp/pa in hand (not light) to get the job done. Sleep is over-rated because there are simply too many scales and licks to learn. Plus, creativity is sleep’s worst enemy. His recount of an amazing guitar solo is like a sports fanatic retelling a historic score by his favorite team, or a movie buff during an action scene.
He may live in a living room, eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner, or if he really wants to treat himself, a taco from the taco truck; his barber may be his girlfriend or any friend who can hold a pair of scissors … but don’t worry - he has the baddest drum set, the sweetest bass, the sexiest guitar … he gets abnormally excited over his new amp … and you better not fold his brand new chords incorrectly! A trip to Guitar Center … he’s like a kid in a candy store.
He is always punctual and always prepared for rehearsals and knows that building a good relationship is one of the most important parts of the job. He is there at the very least 30 minutes before the gig and you better not waste his time because it is precious. But … he would drive 5 hours for a 30 minute gig in a heart beat. And … he would do this for free.
Let me tell you … behind every good singer are amazing musicians. Don’t get it twisted! They have your back and many times keep the boat from sinking. They have this secret code language onstage, sometimes just a glance, that ensures that even when you mess up a cue and don’t know where the hell you are … they do! They know every key of a 45 minute set … they know the form better than they know themselves! And … they are freakishly talented!! *Sigh* Whenever you see me close my eyes on stage during one of Ramabama’s solo … it’s because I’ve mentally gone to another place. *Big Sigh* Listen to Better Days, or our rendition of Is this Love, or Andrew’s solo on Another Way to Die. You’ll understand!!
This blog is dedicated to all the young professional and insanely talented musicians I have been blessed to meet in California. I have had the honor and the privilege of working with many of them! They inspire me. I get chills listening to some of them play … I get excited … they make me smile :). Were my reflections accurate?? Hehehe.
FOLLOW THE MUSIC!!
Another Way to Die:
Fabio “Fabiocito” Poian - Drums
Joseph “Big lil’ bro” Salcedo - Bass
Andrew “Roomie” Moore - Keys
Andrew “Andrew #1” Cheung - Guitar
Ramanan “Ramabama” Chandramoulli - Guitar
Jonathan “Jonnyboy” Osterling - Guitar
Joseph “Big lil’ bro” Salcedo - Bass
Spencer “Spenca” Wynn - Drums
So! … welcome to my blog! This blog is a place where I come to offload my thoughts, perspectives and inspiration as well as share a few highlights of this CRAZY and ever-changing musical journey. I want to hear from you too if you’re a musician or part of that special fraternity of dreamers with a unique passion … We are very special people :) Let’s share ideas and encourage each other! Or - if you’re intrigued by a musician’s everyday struggle to make the big break - you might find this interesting. So please stay tuned, and be sure to leave comments and share your opinions!
Peace, Love & Blessings