Next Step...Studio Recording
I would like to meet those of you who have been serious about taking your songwriting to the next level with studio recording. There is so much to learn. I am totally a rookie at this, recording my songs on garage band and logic. I did get some training in pro-tools, but I don't have the program on my mac. I love writing songs, but recently I've been feeling challenged about taking the next step toward studio recording. If any of you have any ideas, advice, suggestions, etc. Please feel free to share. Thank you!
My first suggestion (from experience) is not to proceed alone. You will never do it alone and by alone I am not talking about leaving God out, that is a given, but rather others who share the same passion and other areas of talents. To be honest I have gone down the road of "garage band" and other recording software and it always sounded amateur. I finally gave up and let God lead me instead of me leading God. The months turned into years and I am still waiting for my first Worship CD release, which ironically is set to release in October 2012. This is not the way I would have chosen, but I decided, out of frustration, to be led by God. It has given me new life and a renewed passion for His will. I have very little expectation for this CD. If all it does is bless my church, Crossroads Community Church, of Mansfield Ohio, then that will be what it is. All I know is that I will keep on worshiping Him through the gifts He has given and I will let the outcome be His.
If you are serious about writing music my suggestion is you find someone who does not know you and doesn't care about hurting your feelings. Your friends and family will listen and say it's great, but that is not what you need. You need good old fashioned honest truth from a more weathered song writer. I would be glad to listen and give you my opinion, but that’s all it is; an opinion. I'm not the best writer, but I have been writing for over 10 years and I have been through many times of the despondency of being a song writer. The ups and downs can be very hard. As my friends were all finishing degrees and moving into the real world I have kept the path, I believe, that God has chosen for me, and I have kept it steady. Sometimes feeling lost like I will never write a song again to the euphoria of singing that beautiful melody line that makes you feel so close to Him.
So to answer your question, "If any of you have any ideas, advice, suggestions, etc." The first is don't spend a lot of money on recording stuff. God will, in His time, give you the green light, if it is His will. The second is find a church and serve in the area you feel God calling. If the current church is not a conducive for this dream..then move. Thirdly, find other writers who are as serious as you and then grow as a team. Finally, don't look at Tomlin, Redman, and think, "I will never be that good". This is never the goal; to be like ______. Being a songwriter for God is about just that, God. If He chooses to elevate you to those heights He will. The last thing to remember is always go back to worship Him and nothing else. When it doesn't look like the way is right then just fall back on the worshipping God.
If you are in California I know great Christian producer... Some of my music can be heard at www.edfuchs.com and when I went into to record that I didn't know about official bpm and I didn't have all the accompanying parts, which was fine because I had some parts and we recorded scratch tracks to map out the songs. This time around as I'm in the process of recording a full length album we used all the songs I made on Garageband as scratch tracks, which saved us time and gave the producer a better idea of my vision rather then only hearing guitar and vocals. He also drums on the recordings so a lot of the ideas I put in helped him see what I was going.
Consider what you are doing now all part of a great Pre-Production process and try to find a Christian Producer, and if you are in Cali I can help you...
I hope some of that helps and God bless you in your new adventures!
Those were wise and well spoken words. You totally re-iterated what I heard while watching Pixar movie Cars last night with my nieces and nephews...
"The King: "Hey, buddy. You're one gutsy racer."
Lightning McQueen: "Oh, hey, Mr. The King."
The King: "You got more talent in one lug nut than a lot of cars has got in their whole body."
McQueen: "Really? Oh, that..."
The King: "But you're stupid."
McQueen: "Excuse me?"
The King: "This ain't a one-man deal, kid. You need to wise-up and get yourself a good crew chief and a good team. And you ain't gonna win unless you got good folks behind you, and you let them do their job, like they should. Like I tell the boys at the shop..."
McQueen: A good team. Yeah."
The King: "If you figure that out, you just gonna be OK."
McQueen: "Oh, yeah, that.. That is spectacular advice. Thank you Mr. The King."
I believe that is essentially my next step. Allowing myself to be vulnerable to share my songs with others and to get feedback. Also to meet new people who have similar giftings and talents and to learn and grow from one another. So...nice to meet you Chris. Looking forward to seeing your songs, and I look forward to sharing my songs with you to see what you think. Blessings! PS Thank you for taking the time to share a detailed message with me. I appreciate it.
You can share your songs on here, on the songwriting forum, and you will receive honest feedback from other mostly unpublished songwriters like me. We will be encouraging, offer suggestions, etc. give it a try.
Thanks, Tom, for the invite! I will!
Many producers prefer guitar/vocal or piano/vocal only. They will imagine a groove and be able to build on that with their sound, whatever they are strong in. Demo producers exist anywhere from $100 to $3000+ per song. If you present them with really strong material you will find them willing to work with you at really attractive costs. I can offer more advice, as I have travelled this road.
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One opinion (for what it's worth): verse - great. Then I think you have used a key transition because you felt it needed something new. I agree, but I suspect it needs a new section (pre-chorus, chorus) rather than a key shift. I wonder if the mid section (bridge?) could be adapted to feature more as a pre-ch/ ch?
Also, before spending $1000s on production, I suggest getting your music out there to be heard and commented on (as you are trying to do here). There are many community sites/ opportunities for indie artists to gain a wider audience e.g. Facebook, Soundcloud, www.worshipsong.com. As wannbe-a-worshiper said, get some exposure, and learn from the (free) feedback.
Some good advice on here for sure.
My band from work did some studio stuff trying to enter the 'corporate battle of the bands' and they band learned a lot
* Have the outline of what you want to do in place. Studios charge by the hour- so if you spend your time trying to make up your mind what you want to do, it gets real expensive. So have the framework pretty well nailed down. Of course, there is always room to tweak and adjust, but if you are paying for 6 hours of studio time, you want the most for your money. To me, that's the producer/engineer's time and expertise to get mixes down and the right vibe, not waiting for you to fill in a verse or decide which word to use.
* The producers & engineers are like us- they have artistic input, styles, and approaches. So do a little research that the producer you want to use is on a similar wavelength as you are. For example, if a producer's clients are pretty much all rock & roll, and you want to do something softer, it might not work as well as finding a producer that has more experience with the style you flow in. Some do any style you like and do it well. So make sure you check out what their work sounds like and who uses them.
* Spend some time learning the process. If you can get hooked up with people who are in a studio a lot (engineers, musicians, etc), see if you can spend some time with them to learn what goes on in a studio. This will help you be as prepared as you can when you are ready to record your stuff..
I take a little different approach on feedback. I agree to go with people that aren't afraid to be honest, but balance that with soliciting feedback from people with experience writing and recording that you know will help you be a better artist. I say that because not all feedback will help you. As an artist, you have to keep your center on what you want to say- not necessarily what people want to hear. You can get caught up in 'playing to the crowd', and it's easy to lose your sense of self as an artist. So, like most things, balance is crucial.