Vow in the studio

January 22, 2011

Went into the studio yesterday with Grandmaster Kevin (MacDowell) and recorded almost all of Vow. We just need to add the drum line and then edit the spoken word section to the sung part. I’m hoping Lara will drum. I would love her energy on this project.

It’s a demo recording, so it’s pretty rough. You can hear the pages of the sheet music turning, for instance. I’m not thrilled with my vocal performance but it’s not bad, considering we did almost every line in one take. The alto line sounds bad because it’s right at the bottom of my range and my sound production cuts out by half on an F so I just go with this really breathy sound—awful. Especially considering it’s supposed to be this powerhouse bass.

Kevin attempted to do everything through Garage Band but it kept freezing up. So he pulled out his venerable analog 4-track and recorded onto tape! Très retro. But he knows a way to get it transferred to digital without losing quality, so I say all the better for him. It was just ironic that the $400 equipment trumped the $4,000 set-up.

Mucho thanks to Kevin. More news as it’s fit to print!

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Redbird set free

December 3, 2009

Wow, this feels really good: Redbird is ready for release! After months of sitting on the mp3, I’m making it available here.

Except I can’t! Oh, I don’t believe this! <rant rant rant> Stupid WordPress won’t let me upload the mp3. Blast!

Okay, calming down. What I can do is make the mp3 available to anyone who asks me for it. So comment on this post or email me and I can send you the mp3 directly.

For those who haven’t read every post in this blog, Redbird is a song I wrote based on a children’s song that Lara Weaver wrote based on a snippet of a bluegrass tune she heard at some point in time. Her song is happy; my song’s about suicide. Just goes to show ya. I was fortunate enough to record the song with the amazing and astounding Kevin MacDowell. Who you can hear if you request the mp3 file. Grrrr….


tensiontension

July 12, 2009

…so anxious I wait.”

That was the opening line from a bad poem I wrote in high school but it describes where I am now. Got a message from Lee Williams this week saying he may let me know as early as next week whether Kaia will be invited to sing at Lotus. We’ve been waiting for The Werd for almost a year, focusing all our rehearsals around the possibility, and it’s finally coming down to the wire.

I worked some more on the recording of Redbird and sent it off to Kevin for his approval. As soon as I get it, I’ll post it here for free. I’m anxious to get the recording complete and to be able to share it!

Tension is also the watchword (though to a lesser degree) for my pending callback audition for Cardinal Stage Company‘s production of The Sound of Music. I’ve been working with Janiece to prep and did some “research” last week by watching the movie and noting all the things I would do differently. 🙂 But really, there’s no substitute for Julie Andrews, is there? The most daunting challenge facing anyone playing the role is that most people have never seen or heard a different Maria. There is only “one way” to play the role and that is the way owned by Andrews. Sheesh. No pressure.

Hopefully next week will see some of this tense waiting resolved. I feel like I’m ready to explode out of the starting blocks but I’d settle for just knowing one way or the other.


Garage Band 001

June 20, 2009

Yesterday I began learning the most basic Garage Band features with Kevin, mighty Teacher of All. We worked on Redbird and I learned how to chop off unwanted parts of each track and how to do fade-ins and fade-outs.

Garage Band has all the ease of use that Apple is famed for. Especially once you get into any Mac program, you begin to pick up the inner logic, and one task follows sensibly to the next.

Kevin has mentioned previously that, at a conference he attended, an Industry Bigwig noted that most of the music we hear today as incidental music in commercials and such is made in personal recording studios and mixed in programs like Garage Band. Like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, Garage Band democratizes the creative process. It still doesn’t mean you’ll create great music; it just means your great music is easier to create on a low budget!

Our next challenge will be adding reverb to a bleed-through track. I was right on top of the Zoom H2 and Kevin was standing back a bit when we recorded, so my vocals are on both the “vocals” and “instrumental” tracks. We wanted to add reverb just to the instrumental but the bleed-through makes it impossible. We’ll find a happy medium. Kevin’s also going to teach me how to record directly into Garage Band.

I’m really looking forward to learning more about the tools of the craft—now if only I were writing songs to record!


Redbird flies!

June 13, 2009

Thursday night Kevin and I debuted Redbird on Carolyn VandeWiele’s Womenspace show on WFHB. It was a fantastic experience.

Due to other commitments, I arrived after the show had begun, but in time to hear Curtis Cantwell Jackson backed by Janiece Jaffe and possibly Bobbie Lancaster. Curtis is tremendously talented and has a great voice.

Kevin arrived with his hollow-body electric guitar and we nipped into a back room to run the piece and get used to the different sound. We then went into the studio to set up while Arbutus Cunningham had everyone in stitches. Krista Detor was in before us, prepping to play, so she was the only one with headphones. We couldn’t hear Arbutus but heard everyone in the sound booth and Krista bursting out laughing.

Krista dedicated her delightful Teeter-Totter on a Star to Arbutus. I could only listen with half an ear because I was keeping my nerves under control and staying “in character” for Redbird. In the midst of my stage fright, I suddenly got clear. I looked around the room and realized this was part of my dream come true—to be in the midst of truly talented musicians, performing music I’ve written the way I want to sing it, rising up in the hopes I could be anywhere near as good as they were, and having the scary-yet-exhilarating thrill of singing live. This is what I want to be doing with my life. It was a wonderful realization.

We had no time to run the piece, so I could only hear the mix on the fly. And I couldn’t hear much at that! I pulled one headphone off an ear so I could hear myself and kept the other in place to get a sense of the mix. Kevin played beautifully and I—well, I tried my best! 🙂

Everyone was very gracious afterwards, complimenting the piece and our performance of it. It’s been terrific to get the feedback and support of the family and friends who listened to it. I loved having my friend Bry in the lobby—it was wonderful to know I had a groupie no matter what I did! 😉

Since I couldn’t hear very well, I don’t know how well the piece worked, but Kevin thought it was our best effort yet, which is pretty damn good. And lots of people seemed to like it. I am very satisfied at having more of my creative path affirmed! It was a great night.


WFHB update

June 10, 2009

Kevin MacDowell and I will be debuting my original song Redbird on WFHB on Thursday night (11 June) between 9:30 & 10pm.

The show is Womenspace and it runs from 9 – 11. The show will feature live, in-studio performances from:

Krista Detor
Bobbie Lancaster
Curtis Cantwell Jackson
Jaime Sweaney
…and more 

You can tune in at 91.3 or 98.1 FM or listen online through the magic of the Internet. You’ll definitely want to stick around and hear the other talent!

Way excited!! Thank you, Carolyn VandeWiele for the promo! The show is to help promote the upcoming Rock the Shops event on 26 June at Wandering Turtle Art Gallery. Sponsored in part by the City of Bloomington, Rock the Shops encourages residents to shop downtown and support local business. Kaia will be performing at Wandering Turtle along with a boatload of others to help support the cause!

Please have a listen tomorrow night and then come out on the 26th! (For more info on the gig on the 26th, see Kaia’s site.)


Deadbird debuts!

June 7, 2009

Hey, Kevin and I will be debuting Deadbird this Thursday (11 June) on WFHB’s Womenspace. We’ll be joining a bunch of other artists in the studio, including Krista Detor and others you’ve heard of but I have no confirmed list yet.

The show starts at 9. We’ll be on sometime between 9:30 and 10 and just do the one tune. You can tune in at 91.3 or 98.1 FM or listen online through the magic of the Internet. You’ll definitely want to stick around and hear the other talent!

Way excited!! Thank you, Carolyn VandeWiele for the promo!