Blog Post No.3
I was able to witness talent like I had never seen before. Not only did I see the most talented musician of my life, but I also saw the most keyboards and pianos of my life. I can’t really describe in words what Zac was like. He was definitely like a character in a movie. He had a beard that was easily 9 inches long, talked in a low voice with a British accent and, he learned the songs on a ukulele! Needless to say, he was interesting. He didn’t ever practice any of the piano parts.
He just played them on the ukulele, then went in and tracked the parts on the piano. And he didn’t just play the piano…. He dominated the piano. More time was spent on picking sounds then actually playing the parts. Keys for two songs were finished quickly and Zac was done for the day, with plans to return the next day to finish up.
Next, we moved on to setting up for vocals. Picking the right microphone was very important, so we searched until we found the microphone that fit best with my voice. One thing Sunset Sound does not have is a shortage of microphones…. Aaron and Warren decided which microphone they liked best for my voice. Then, they brought in another microphone exactly like it, to compare its sound to their first choice. From experience, they knew that each microphone has its own unique sound and they ended up choosing the second option over the first choice.
The vocal setup did take some time, but I was ready to get going and we started vocals on “Phoenix”. Aaron and I talked about a few things before I started singing. One issue that we discussed was the fact that I prefer to sit down while I sing. Traditionally, people stand while tracking vocals. Ultimately, Aaron left the decision up to me, but I said I would stand because I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to change.
I did five takes and Aaron said he felt like we had enough to build a comp. If you don’t know, a comp is a compilation of the best parts from all takes. After the fifth take, personally, I didn’t think that I had sung the song the way it needed to be sung. I couldn’t tell you exactly what wasn’t right, but my performance just didn’t feel right to me. I expressed my feeling to Aaron, but he decided we needed to move on because we needed to track vocals for another song that night – and he said he could hear my voice getting tired. I took his word for it and we moved on.
We decided I should do “Cowboys Forever” next. I can’t remember how many takes I did for this song, but I do know that when I was done, I felt great about my performance and I knew that we had what we needed. Singing is such an interesting thing…. It’s all about feel for me – I felt good about “Cowboys Forever” and never thought twice about whether or not my performance was good enough on. At the end of day four, all I could think about was the fact that I didn’t feel like I delivered the vocal performance that was needed for a song like “Phoenix”.