Goal for today – finish acoustic guitar
tracking for the remaining 5 songs,
and as many vocals as possible.
We, once again, started around 10am,
with guitar for “March On”.
It went very smoothly – only a few takes.
Then we tracked “Clouded Eyes”, “Life Changes You”,
and “So Long Insecurity”. Ryan played acoustic
for me on these 3. I liked how he was playing them
better, and it would have taken too much time for me
to learn them properly. Apparently it’s common for artists
not to play on their own records, but this was my choice,
so we were both ok with it.
While he played I got to be producer. I sat in his chair,
pushed the talkback button, and pushed the record button.
So I officially get an engineering credit!
Oh, the power you feel from that chair, pushing buttons!
Only one song left, but it’s not going to have acoustic
guitar in it, so we aren’t doing it today.
Next we did more vocal tracking.
This works similarly to guitar tracking. I am in the
tracking room with headphones and a mic setup,
standing up this time of course though.
Ryan will play the track through the headphones,
and I’ll sing through the song a few times until
he feels like “we’ve got it”. After each time through
the song he’ll say "encouraging things", and we’ll
talk about anything I should do differently or any
changes, then go again. If I mess up, he stops the
music, then I “punch in” – go back before the mess up,
and sing it again.
It’s a bit unnerving having someone sitting
in close proximity, listening to every waver
in your voice, and every wrong note
(not that I ever hit a wrong note ☺), quite loudly,
on enormous speakers, knowing they are recording it.
It takes some time to feel comfortable enough to
sing without worrying about making mistakes.
You can’t worry about that though, otherwise it won’t
turn out well. You just have to let it go and go for it.
Fortunately Ryan is very easy to work with.
He never makes you feel bad, and is very
encouraging (mostly ☺) I can’t imagine being more
comfortable doing this around anyone else.
We tracked lead vocals for “Clouded Eyes”,
“Life Changes You”, “March On”, and “So Long Insecurity”.
They all went really, really well. Just a few takes of each.
We will probably do a few more takes of “So Long Insecurity”
on another day since there is some belting in it,
and my voice was getting pretty worn.
Erik and the kids left this afternoon for home.
I now get to savor this time on my own
for the rest of the week.
I’m just a tad bit ecstatic about this!
Not that I don’t love having my family here,
but it will be nice to just get in the zone and
not worry about anything else – to really be able
to soak up this experience!
Now I’m sitting here writing this while I listen to
Ryan “comp” my vocals. “Comp-ing” vocals consists
of listening to each phrase of every take,
of every song, over and over, while he selects
which portions from each take he likes the best.
He then puts them together to form the vocal track
that will be used in the final mix of the song.
It can be funny and terrible listening to yourself sing
something over and over. I enjoy listening when he
does this (although it's not recommended that an artist
listen at this point) because I feel like I learn a lot about
how to improve my vocals, but then I easily get very sick
of hearing my voice! In my mind I think he’s sitting
there suffering through trying to decide which takes
don’t sound as terrible as another. In reality he’s listening
to the different inflections, and tones, and quirks in my
voice and picking which are his favorite.
Today, although loads of fun, has completely
exhausted me! I put a lot of energy and passion
into my singing – it’s a whole body experience.
I dance and jump around a lot when I record vocals.
Ryan always has all the lights off and candles lit in the
tracking room (helps the mood), and fortunately
he has me positioned in the room where he
can’t see me looking ridiculous. :-)
Another very exciting, very successful day has
come to a close. Time for bed!
Bed, by the way, is the leather couch in the control room.
There is a twin mattress I could sleep on in the
tracking room, but that’s too much effort to set up and
put away everyday. I’ve also been offered to sleep
in the house, but I prefer the solitude out here
in the studio. It’s very peaceful.
It’s about 3am. I’m out…