This week, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate gratitude with a song written by one of my favorite children’s songwriters/performers, Raffi. It’s called Thanks a Lot. I appreciate the meditative quality to the singing and guitar playing. It’s a simple chant that kids (and adults) can sing anytime with gratitude for another day of life. May you have a peaceful and joyous time with your family this Thanksgiving season!
Adventures in Music Producing
Over two decades ago, I worked in a studio for the first time to record my original tunes. I had my friend, Christian Heilman at Bender Studio, on the journey with me as my musical cohort. He was my co-producer, engineer, and resident drummer. It was great fun to bounce musical arrangement ideas off of him and also listen to and put his musically creative ideas into action on those songs. We had a great time working with each other. Looking back at what transpired back then, I see what a blessing it was for me as a musician/songwriter, as well as a person. I’m grateful that my first adventures in recording were blessed by a good friend who encouraged me to explore and take chances with my music. That definitely empowered me to follow my own vision of what I wanted to manifest in the studio for future musical exploits.
More Thank Just Singing a Song
As most of you know, during this past year, I’ve been in the process of recording my new album, In this Circle. I’ve come to realize that I’m not just the songwriter, musician, singer, project manager, and financial backer on this endeavor. I’m also the producer for this project. I don’t have a co-producer this time around to depend on or get a second opinion from. When I considered the history of popular music, I was reminded that I’m in good, illustrious company with a number of other artists who were performer-producers of their own music: The Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, the Kinks. Some of them (ex., Donovan, the Small Faces, and the Who) later asserted that many of their recordings were either self-produced or collaborations with the recording engineer in the studio at the time. (for more on this, refer to this online article.
The Role of the Producer
I’ve experienced new responsibilities and opportunities while acting fully in my role as producer. Here’s a list of some of them.
* Contacting and scheduling other musicians and singers for studio sessions
* Communicating with those musicians and singers around what sound or feel I’m going for on each song
* Paying attention to my financial expenses and the album’s spending plan (studio fees, etc.)
* Tracking the recording progress of songs and practicing flexibility around initial musical arrangements
* Holding the overall vision of what I want to accomplish with this project
* Encouraging and challenging other musicians and singers recording tracks to do their best and bring on their brilliance while having fun at the same time
* Working with my marketing advisor to create a weekly blog and the Notes from the Meadow that captures the process of making an album in the studio
This whole enterprise has definitely been a labor of love. I hope it will reflect my passion for music and creative expression. I’m grateful for the gifts of tenacity and musical inspiration.