i warm up first. the sound system is on and i wail through the building like a country artist on a flatbed. the sound takes on air with the natural reverb of the room; it encourages me to sing more, sing louder, sing with abandon.
i’m recording nine pieces of music a week right now. five of these are vocal songs. i stand in the venue in front of the piano, boom mic in place and turn on the voice memo on our island-iphone-which-is-newer-than-our-other-iphones. i play and sing from the beginning to the end, without stopping. there is no tracking; there are no editing features, no going-back-and-fixing-this-or-that, no auto-tune, no equalizing, no other instrumentation, no balancing wavelengths, no mastering, no amazing engineer, no producer. any ambient sound becomes a part of the recording. we listen afterwards and decide if i need to re-record, which simply means starting over from the beginning. it’s more recording than i have done in-studio in a long time. and it’s vastly different, this straight-up tape-it-with-the-phone recording. in the last bit of time i have recorded over 90 pieces of music. that’s a serious amount of recording. in album terms, it’s at least seven CDs worth.
it makes me want to stand -again- on a wooden stage in front of a piano and a boom and sing my heart out. it makes me want to maybe get some of my own stuff – the stuff lingering in notebooks and folders of scrap paper – on tape. it makes me think about rv’s and touring and the little voice in my brain reminds me that i’m 61. “ONLY 61,” i retort. it makes me wonder.
it’s a common story. ask carole king or phil vassar. they wrote songs. lots of them. and other people sang them. until one day…and then they forever owned that boom mic over their pianos.
decades ago, i thought i’d just write songs. i’d play all my instrumental pieces in concert – like george winston and david lanz – and i’d grant permission to ‘real’ singers to sing the songs i had written. but then one day…and now you would have to wrestle that boom mic from me. different stories, same principle.
we are singer-songwriters. we are people who sing.
all warmed up, it’s easier to get from the beginning to the end without too much pitchy-ness. it’s easier, warmed-up, to know what to expect from my still-healing-broken-wrists. it’s easier to know what to expect from my voice.
and so i keep singing. i wail through the building. and the sound takes on air with the natural reverb of the room. i sing more, i sing louder, i sing with abandon.