A Terrifying and Gratifying Experience

As a professional vocalist/songwriter I have spent plenty of time in the studio, recording with a band, overdubbing my vocals, editing and mixing my albums. This year, for reasons as of yet unknown, I decided to up the ante a bit for myself, and instead of simply booking the studio and laying down some tracks of new material I had recently written I went for the LIVE Video Recording route.

Now I consider myself a pro in the recording environment, having done it for about 15 years with two fistfuls of albums to my name, and even owning my own recording studio. But I could not anticipate the terror I inflicted upon myself by doing an audio/video combo WITH A BAND! The sensation of being placed under a microscope to be inspected and possibly dissected from all angles clung to me like a panicked chihuahua. And that was BEFORE the lights came on.

I still think it's a great thing to do, because it's as close to the real thing as the audience can get without actually being at your show. However, you can't overdub. If one band member makes a mistake, you have to do the whole song again. If you hit a bum note, forget a lyric, have to swallow in the middle of a word - you guessed it: back to the top. There is no editing, no tuning, no fixing of things. You gotta get it right, or the whole thing ends in the virtual bin, never to see the light of day. And since everybody is on the clock around the clock in New York City, you don't want to waste anybody's time and money. 

A live audio/video recording experience appears to come down to this:

You have to make sure your make-up doesn't run.
You have to plead with whoever does the lighting to be kind to your face.
You have to ascertain which of the five (that's right, people: FIVE!) cameras is actually pointed directly at you.
You have to make sure the musicians know the tunes, have the right sheet music with the right chords etc.
And that they are actually in the frame of their very own cameras.
Do not wear any noisy jewellery! (Been there, done that.)
And THEN - you have to perform the song. Sing with feeling, with authenticity, with the correct lyrics, and on key. And make sure not to pull any weird faces while you do it. 

Sounds easy, right? Hmmmm...

In the end the session went really well, my musicians were stellar, and I got one take of each song in the can that I was reasonably happy with. Here's a shout out to Walter Fischbacher on piano, Evan Gregor on bass and Jordan Perlson on drums. These guys are top notch, excellent musicians who can lay it down like nobody's business and look good while doing it :)

I will let you know once the videos are up on Youtube. Should be soon!

Here's to new songs, and to stepping out of one's very own comfort zone!


1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to that YouTube video. An audiobook narrator has much of that to worry about -- but you had to worry about FIVE OTHERS all hitting their marks while being filmed as well! I do not envy you that experience. But having survived it, you can mark other experiences to it, saying, "Well, at least the cameras weren't recording this!" :-)

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