Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Duned: Biceps and Brooding

In high school, I was convinced I was going to die alone surrounded by handmade quilts and a bunch of pet snakes. I always felt a little too dark and sarcastic to be worth pursuing, and I was pretty sure that no one was interested in me. Was I kidding myself? Quite possibly, but, remember, I was riddled with insecurities as a teenager. It was difficult to believe that anyone saw anything beyond my academic record. Or maybe I was just too scared to believe such things.

Whatever the reasons, I put a spiny, protective spin on my singleness to shield my ego. I wasn't alone because I was ugly or unworthy of companionship. I was alone because I was protecting everyone from me. I was a hazard that needed to be kept away from people, because I was sure that if I let anyone get too close I would hurt them. I would end up driving them away with my darkness and freeze them out with my fears. I didn't want to hurt anyone. I would absorb the hurt for them and stop them before they got too close.

By the summer after my sophomore year of college, I was still pretty convinced I was going to die alone, but by that point I had experience to help justify my position. The details aren't important, but the mindset is...

That summer I decided to write a new song every day. I wanted to really dig into the craft of songwriting and discover what my limits were. I wanted to understand my process and I wanted to experience it under stress. That summer I wrote a LOT. Most of it was just okay, but some pieces stuck with me.

A month in, songs were getting more difficult to write--I was simply running out of ideas. But, one night I found myself sprawled on the living room carpet watching Prince of Persia, and inspiration struck.

I honestly don't remember what happened in that movie beyond Jake Gyllenhaal and his arms climbing up the sides of buildings, but I'm convinced that watching it affected my writing, because what I came up with that night was different from my previous songs. It contained interesting chord progressions and a very strong desert motif.

But while the sound was new, the content was not. Wrapped in the ancient desert sands was teenage pain that hadn't gone away.





Duned
By Rachel Oto

Drink up lips and fingertips, ‘cause I
Will likely leave you parched, desperate and dry

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out to die

Lose your mind while you dehydrate and run for your life
Dream of green and trees with fruit so divine

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out to die

You’ve traveled so far
Forgot where you are
I’m heat and hot sand
Get out while you can

Drink up lips and fingertips, ‘cause I
Will steal all your passion and desire

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out

To die


(NOTE: I realize as I write these posts and expose my soul, just what a mess I sound like and just how many issues I had (maybe still have). I'm not looking for pity or compassion--writing has given me as much catharsis and clarity as I could hope for. It's just that it struck me after writing my first few posts that most people don't really care about the mechanics of songwriting as much as they do the emotions behind it. So, it is with that thought that I give you a look into my mind and provide you with something human to hold on to. However, once these songs hit your ears, they are yours to interpret and integrate into your world as you will. I would love to hear your impressions and interpretations.)

Be bold.

R

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gray Coat: A Dance with Insecurity

I've gotten better over the years, but when I was younger I was a huge show-off. I absolutely loved getting in front of people and [insert action here]. Sing, dance, sing and dance, act, do cartwheels and walk-overs (both front and back), talk in accents, be absolutely ridiculous, you name it--if I could do it I would and if I couldn't do it you were going to watch me try.

I want to be very clear--my parents were (and still are) very loving and gave me plenty of attention. It was just that...I needed the rest of the world to love me and give me plenty of attention, too. For whatever reason(s), I didn't have very many friends when I was a young child. It always seemed like people didn't want to play with me. I imagine I was something of a bossy and melodramatic preschooler (yes, that's how young we're talking), but I think a lot of my insecurities stemmed from that. 

And from my insecurities (and whatever natural inclination I had) grew my love of performing, because you didn't have to have a ton of friends to be the center of attention on a stage. You could just be you, do your thing and substitute the adoration of a crowd for the closeness of a group of friends. 

Don't worry. Like I said, I've gotten better. I still love performing, but I do have some incredibly close friends who I hold dear. The thing is that we cannot completely get rid of the wounds from our childhood. Part of me will always feel like I don't quite belong, that people don't want to interact with me or don't see me, that I am best kept at a distance, to be observed but not held close, that my worth is only apparent when I am onstage. I realize that these things are probably not true, but these are the scars that I wear. And while most of the time they are faded to the point of being almost invisible, they sometimes flare up, pinch and burn bright.

To be honest, this too has gotten better over time, but there was a point when my scars would appear as I watched others perform--as I wished it was me onstage being cheered by the crowd. I would think about how much the audience loved the performers, how much better a job I could do, how much the crowd would never know, how much attention I was not getting because I was not the one on stage. I would leave shows and concerts feeling jealous and frustrated, because I felt I could do better and I wanted that recognition. 
Do I sound like a horrible person yet? 

I learned. Shows are to be experienced and enjoyed. Performers are to be appreciated, encouraged and supported. There is no room to be jealous of our contemporaries. That is not to say that there is no room to try to be better than our contemporaries, but there is no point in letting pride and/or insecurities get in the way of what is supposed to be entertainment.


However, an emotion as strong as jealousy sure does make for interesting songwriting.




Gray Coat
By Rachel Oto

Through the haze of lantern-lit
Smoky rooms with gold coins spent
On shots of courage with a twist
On coasters on an old oak bar
Heels stomp a salted stage
Ruffled skirts kiss fishnet legs
This the best parts of their days
Hoping to attract her gaze
From me they all look away
But

Slip me in a red lace dress
And I’d bewitch and make them twitch
Oh, I could make them want me fast
Just as she makes castanets
Of their hearts
She burns her mark on their poor hearts
Each fiery dance
It’s clear I never had a chance
Here

Condensation starts to drip
Down the sides of glasses sipped
And down the sides of minds unzipped
With all the ways the night could end
Roses thrown at dainty feet
A graceful bow, but doesn’t meet
Their hungry eyes as she retreats
Disappointment squirms in seats
And not a second glance
But

Slip me in a red lace dress
And I’d bewitch and make them twitch
Oh, I could make them want me fast
Just as she makes castanets
Of their hearts
She burns her mark on their poor hearts
Each fiery dance
It’s clear I never had a chance

The tab is paid and I slip out on crowded streets
The sidewalk full of pretty girls in pretty things
Me and my gray coat pass by so quietly
They don’t know what they’re missing
But

Slip me in a red lace dress
And I’d bewitch and make them twitch
Oh, I could make them want me fast
Just as she makes castanets
Of their hearts
She burns her mark on their poor hearts
Each fiery dance

Slip me in a red lace dress
Just as she makes castanets
Of their hearts
She burns her mark on their poor hearts
Each fiery dance
It’s clear I never had a chance
Here

Just for the record, you don't need a red lace dress to get noticed.

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monsters: Rats, Cats, Misery



The house looked nice enough. The floors had just been redone in most of the rooms and the kitchen...Oh, the kitchen! The kitchen had these beautiful, huge counters that screamed to be covered in platters of homemade cookies and cakes. Yes. It looked nice.

But that was because we couldn't see the vermin running in the walls. We couldn't see their beady eyes staring at us from under the cupboards. We couldn't see their little rat faces going through our things (at least in the beginning), but man, could we hear them.

Thudding in the walls, scurrying behind the oven, thrashing under the sink, and one terrifying night, rustling and squeaking in my bedroom as I tried to fall asleep. Many nights were spent making angry cat noises in the dark trying to keep the rodents away. I know that rats are smaller than me, but that doesn't stop them from being scary and unwelcome.

I guess there is some truth in the idea that our struggles give us material to write about, because in my frustration and anxiety over the rat infestation, I was inspired to write lyrics to a tune I had been working on for months. It was a song complete with lines about "beady eyes searching the floor," "hasty hands through careless piles" and heavily veiled references to rat poison. It was great! And then I re-read what I had written and went,"Are you kidding me? A song about rats???"

There's really nothing wrong with a song about rats, but to me this song just felt so...Domestic? Contrived? Not cool? Like an ad for an extermination company. That's what it was--this song could have been the anthem for some pest control operation. I put it down, let it simmer on the back burner.

Writing about rats wasn't going to work, but the first draft did start me in the right direction. Working in my favor--though I don't think I realized it at the time--was the underlying concept about fighting things in the dark. At some point (almost a year later), I realized what I needed to be fighting. I had to fight what we all fight in the dark--our monsters.

I wouldn't say that it came easily. If you look at my notes you'll find many, many layers of edits and rewrites, but in the end, it seemed to come together.




The landlords never took care of the rat problem, but thankfully I have since moved out of that house. However, while the rats are gone from my life (hopefully), there are still nights when the monsters come out, and at those times, it's nice to have a song to combat them with.



Monsters
By Rachel Oto

Shadow crawling ‘cross the floor
Crept right under the closed door
Hope that it’s a dream
Hope that I don’t wake screaming

Darkness slinking to my bed
Blistered lips beside my head
It’s getting stronger
Loneliness is a monster
Whispering my missteps
It goes on and on and I want

Sleep or I want sun
I begged it, “Please
Leave me alone”
Pleaded

Don’t haunt me with my suffering
I made my choices and drink their poisons
Don’t eat me have some mercy please
Frighten myself with all my misery

Sharpened claws around my throat
Evil weight press out my hope
Red eyes are gleaming
 Calm turns to rapid breathing
Slimy arms take hold
And I am told I must be bold if I want

Sleep or I want sun
I told it, “Leave
Or there will be blood”
Told it

Don’t haunt me with my suffering
I made my choices and drink their poisons
Don’t eat me have some mercy please
Frighten myself with all my misery

 
Turn the lights off
Let’s go
I will win this round
Turn the lights off, let’s go
I can take you down
Turn the lights off, let’s go
Turn the lights off, let’s go
Turn the lights off, let’s go
Turn this nightmare right around

You don’t scare me with suffering
I make my choices and know their poisons
Won’t get me begging on my knees
Go spend the night with all your misery

‘Cause you won’t scare me
You don’t scare me
You won’t get me begging on my knees

Go spend the night with all your misery

Here's to fighting our monsters, both in our walls or in our heads.

Be bold.

R

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stained: Specific to Universal


Sometimes I write because I'm inspired. Sometimes I write for the release. Sometimes I write because it's an assignment. I would complain, but writing a song for class is just about the most fun type of homework I can think of.

"Stained" was one of those "assignment songs." For a songwriting class, we were instructed to write a ballad (which was defined as "No faster than 65 beats per minute"). For some people that's easy. For others, like me, that's something of a challenge--my default tempo is around 180 bpm.

So, I was moseying along like a lethargic horse and managed to come up with a chord progression and melody that I liked. Actually, if my memory is to be trusted, I came up with the chorus pretty quickly. I remember making the conscious decision to keep it really simple, because in my mind there is little as boring as delivering a lengthy, verbose chorus at a snail's pace. And then repeating it. So, very early on the chorus was set as this:

Oh, you seep into all that I see
Oh, you seep into all that I see


The problems were the verses. With the chorus set as it was, it felt right to have the verses be lists of the things that "seeped into all that I see." The issue was coming up with what those things were Actually, coming up with things that could be "stained" wasn't really the issue either. In a darker time I had written a poem about all the things that reminded me of someone special and it contained a rather long list of things. No, the problem was coming up with the right things.


In a previous songwriting class, we were introduced to the notion of taking specifics about a situation and tying them into universal experiences. Though I had a LOT of specific details to help me write "Stained," many of them were too specific, some of them were just kind of strange, and some of them made no sense out of context. And while I made a few attempts to add context back in, it just slowed down the song (which you don't want to do when you're already going really slowly).

There was lots of writing and scratching out. Lots of brainstorming and scribbling. Lots of trying to figure out what details from my own experience would resonate with other people. This was a song about my own heartbreak and at the same time it needed to be a song about all heartbreak ever. This needed to be a song that people could play in their heads as they hug their knees trying to keep the feeling of humanity inside and the loneliness and sheer emptiness out. This needed to be a song that I could sing to myself when faced with reminders of sweet moments that would never happen again. This needed to be...a song to cry to.

And for me it was. Perhaps it was the stress of the semester or a myriad of other things on my mind, but the first time I played it through to myself...Sometimes you just know you have it right.

(NOTE: I know the assignment required the song to be slower than 65 bpm, but sometimes songs just want to go a little faster than what the teacher wants...)



Stained
By Rachel Oto

Tainted are the city streets, hot French toast and worn out jeans
I pray it will go away
Long train rides and cotton sheets
Rock guitar—these memories are stained
I say, “It’s all okay”
But

You’ve seeped into all that I see
Oh, you seeped into all that I see

Soccer balls and laser beams
Cypress groves
Oh how my dreams are plagued since you went away
Cups of cola with no ice
Stubborn hair and half-closed eyes
They’re stained with all of my pain
‘Cause

You’ve seeped into all that I see
Oh, you seeped into all that I see

There’s no running without stumbling on
Visions of all the things that we have done
All the blocks, boulevards, stars and stairwells are stained
Oh oh

‘Cause
You’ve seeped into all that I see

Oh, you seeped into all that I see

Thanks for reading and listening!

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lo and Behold: Follow the Feeling

Before the fermenting and editing, there is a moment of inspiration. A snippet of melody, a line of poetry, a strumming pattern, a chord change, a picture, a movie, an encounter, a concept--there is something that hooks in your mind and demands your attention--something that makes you feel something. And after you feel that something, the rest of the entire process is following that feeling to a new experience.

For today's song, "Lo and Behold," the thing that caught my attention was a chord progression. I was sitting with my guitar (as I tend to do) and stumbled upon it. The changes were faster than the ones I normally use though the chords themselves were my default chords. It was a little different and a little exciting.

I made some adjustments to arrive at a progression that I liked and then started playing around with melodies. To contrast with the quicker chord changes, I tried holding longer notes in the chorus. While the rest of the song changed dramatically as it went through the writing process, that aspect of the melody--the sustained note at the top of the chorus--remained the same.

At this point, I had no idea what the words were going to be and the melodic lines were still a little...let's say, "loose" for my taste. For me, lyrics tend to form and hold the tune in place, but I had no idea what to write about. And what word could I stick as that important long, first note of the chorus? "Oh" seemed like cheating...


As if to avoid the challenge of the chorus, the first lyrics I came up with were for the first verse. Perhaps I was in a slightly violent mood, but the first line (which I later changed) helped set the tone for the rest of the song:


We bathed in the blood of our captors



The rest of the first verse soon followed, but the chorus! Ugh. There is little as frustrating as knowing that there is a combination of words to express what needs to be expressed and not knowing what those words are or in what order they should be in. Oh, go, slow, show...

After much thought, I did come up with a first line for the chorus that felt right, and with that in place, the rest of the song came together relatively quickly. It also wasn't long before I found myself dancing around my apartment rocking out to my new baby.


In retrospect, it does kind of feels like it "just came to me," but as I think back to the struggle to get it to where it is now, it becomes quite clear that it did not just "fall into my lap." But perhaps that is the magic of certain songs--though the process of getting to the destination could have been difficult, the final product simply feels so right that all the hardships are forgotten and you believe that there was never any question about the destination or of your arrival.





Lo And Behold
By Rachel Oto

I bathed in the tears of the victors
As I stained their words on my hands
I claimed I’d be brave ever after
I promised that I’d make my stand
But

Lo and behold
I am no hero
With only piercing tongue
I am not the one to save us

I walked in the wake of the madness
As I prayed that the demons had left
I struggled with knowing that emptiness
Is all I ever meant
But

Lo and behold
I am no hero
The only bells I’ve rung
Proclaimed I’m not the one to save us

Who will fight the wars
Who will claim the honors
Who will wear the scars
Who will face our monsters
When all hope is gone

Lo and behold
I am no hero
But let the battle come
Prove I am someone

Lo and behold
I am no hero
Ooh, only when I’m done
Will I know I’m the one

Ooh, only when I’m done

Will I know I’m the one to save me

Thanks for listening!

Be bold.

R

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Leap: Lords and Lessons in Editing

Last post, I mentioned the importance of letting your songs stew. Today's post is about the importance of editing and revising.

A couple of years ago during the holidays, I had a "brilliant" idea. Given my previously mentioned love of taking familiar songs and twisting, poking and reinterpreting them into new forms, starting on Christmas Day and for each of the following eleven days, I planned to write a song featuring the corresponding gift sung about in the classic carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas." So, on Christmas, I would write about a partridge in a pear tree, the next day I would write about turtle doves, the next day French hens, etc., until I was writing about drummers drumming.

I don't know if you've ever tried to write a song a day for any extended period of time, but let me tell you, it's not easy--especially if the period of time overlaps Christmas, New Years, and all of the festivities in between and after. Anyway, with some struggle and delay, I got pretty much through the twelve days successfully (I might have dropped the geese a-laying...) and found myself with a handful of new songs.

Some of these songs were good. Some of them had good parts. Some of them were just good efforts. But I let all of them slip from the forefront of my mind as classes started up again. It wasn't until the following year when I was flipping through old works did it strike me that I actually kind of liked my song for the Tenth Day of Christmas--"Leaping Lords."

Or, I liked things about it. I liked the melodies, the choruses and the seed of the idea behind it. Other things, made me cringe. See, when you try to write a song based on "lords a-leaping", you tend to want to mention lords or how they leap even if it makes no sense to do so otherwise. My original first draft illustrated this beautifully. The first verse went like this:
First attempt at "Leap"...Utter nonsense.



Light swords and leaping lords
Mushrooms and magic doors
Go play so far away
Stardust and flooded dreams
Soak into reality and we hope
And we hope we are really seeing



Second attempt at "Leap"...Still kind of out there.
Yeah...I guess at the time I imagined these lords leaping into Alice's Wonderland or some alternate universe. I am happy to say that this wasn't the version I settled on during my holiday writing spree. No. That version looked more like this:




Go on and leap, my lord
This is as far as the world goes
So take a moment's break
Then plant your left foot and push
With all force over the darkness
And stretch into the land you hope is



As part of the project I guess it kind of worked. Kind of. As a song I would want to perform for regular people it didn't work at all. Who was I, the singer of this song? Who is "my lord" and what is trying to do? Where is he going? Why? I think while I was writing this version, I had Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials in my head. The lord was like Lord Asriel, and I was...his assistant, I guess. Whatever the logic, it felt too much like being dumped into a story with nothing to hang onto.

I still liked the choruses though. And I liked the re-write's second verse. From these, I came to the conclusion that this song was not about jumping through holes in the universe, but about jumping from the comfortable world that we know to the mysterious world of the way things could be given enough courage. Additionally, I decided to drop all the things about "my lord"--it was no longer Christmas and who needs unnecessary constraints?

With the new freedom and sense of direction, I was able to shape a first verse and streamline the rest of the song. After lots of prodding, rearranging and thinking (TANGENT! I highly recommend thinking in the shower--your circulation is great, the acoustics are as wet as the tub you're standing in, and no one's there to judge your *shower safe* happy dance when inspiration strikes), this is what I had (the production came later):



Leap
By Rachel Oto

Stories are how we know
This is as far as the world goes
Let’s make a grand escape
Let’s plant our left feet and push with
All force over the darkness
Step into the land we hope is

Beyond the rules
Beyond the rules they lay
Nothing like fools
Nothing like fools
To push the boundaries
And sing as they go

They’re standing at the brink we’re
Further than the world thinks exists
Oh, I insist we are
Out of their earthly reach
Here comes eternity
And all we've dreamed and all we've seen by

Breaking the rules
Breaking the rules they lay
I’ll be a fool
I’ll be a fool
And push the boundaries

Oh, how they fear the leap
Between the warmth of safety
And the sting of maybe, yeah
Oh, how they fear the deep
Dark abyss that keeps you and me
Far from everything they seem to see

Stories are how we know
Stories are how we know
Stories are how we know

Stories are all they know

Amazingly, throughout the entire writing process, the choruses changed very little. The tricky part was figuring out how to support them. Songs are very much like essays. Choruses tend to be like thesis statements (there are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking this is the case) and thus verses, at least in my head, are like the pieces of evidence supporting the chorus.

But, just like when you write an essay, though you may know where you want to go, sometimes it's not clear what words you need to say to get there. You might get lucky, find a flow and simply follow it to your destination, but more likely, you will find it necessary to stop, go back, revise and rewrite, at which point the key becomes not getting discouraged. Making revisions does not mean that you are stupid or incapable of writing. We must remember that writing is a process. Each layer of edits is like a wave wearing down a rock, slowly exposing the gold within.

Thanks for reading and/or listening! Next song coming Tuesday. In the meantime, get excited and...

Be bold.

R

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mary: Little Lamb Stew

Firstly, I would like to say "Thank you!" to everyone who has Liked my Facebook page so far! The support really means a lot to me and I hope that I prove to be a worthy block of text/picture/video/audio in your newsfeeds.

Secondly, please welcome to the world the first piece from Outlines and Offerings, "Mary"--a song about a "little lamb" who wants to escape the pasture. (It's more badass than it sounds, I swear!)


Given my fondness of wolves, sheep and the twisting of expectations, I guess it isn't surprising that this line popped into my head one day:

Mary was a little lamb

I can't remember exactly what prompted it, but it was one of those lines that brought with it the outline of a song--probably because it was based on a song. But in my song Mary would be a lamb instead of a girl with a lamb. Or maybe Mary would actually be a wolf dressed as a lamb. Or maybe Mary would be unhappy as a lamb. I wasn't entirely sure, so I started writing.


First draft of chorus for "Mary"
I got through a verse and a chorus when I became pretty sure I was going in the wrong direction. The chorus dragged and the melody was boring (I honestly can't recall what the tune of that first draft was), but I wanted it to work so badly! I set it aside and after a few days attempted to write a second verse. It was like decorating a crumbling house. Frustrated, I put it down again.

It wasn't until four months had passed did I pick it back up. I was sitting on my bedroom floor with my guitar amusing myself with a very simple arrangement of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." After playing through it a couple of times, I started to wonder what other songs I could arrange like that (a simple melody over arpeggiated diatonic chords). I'm pretty convinced my mind had never stopped thinking about my previously abandoned song, because it suggested "Mary Had a Little Lamb." And then it said, "And make it minor."

BAM!

Final draft of "Mary" with revised chorus
That's how I should start my verses!

Everything suddenly made sense. I pulled out the lyrics I had previously written and before I knew it, I had melodically interesting verses and, by my standards, an elegantly simple chorus. I love it when a song comes together.


 A few minor revisions and some production later, I found myself with this:







Mary
By Rachel Oto

Mary was a little lamb
Wide-eyed babe with naïve hands
She had a soul as white as snow
Or so the shepherd said

Secret of a quiet child
She was born of wolves and wild
The field thinks she’s sweet and mild
But if they saw her shed her woolen coat they’d understand
That

Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary
Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary

Mary, tired of wearing fleece
Of being a docile, fluffy sheep
Took a chance and jumped the fence
The shepherd fell asleep

At next count, the truth came out
The little lamb was forest bound
The flock thinks that she’ll come around
And wander back down to the pasture
Bat her eyes and eat the grass but

Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary
Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary

No hook or crook to follow
No hook or crook to lead her
No, ‘cause

Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary
Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary

Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary
Mary, Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary

Is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary is a lion-hearted lamb
Mary

And that, my children, is the story of "Mary"--the song that needed to simmer for ages, like a stew, before before being served to the public. Actually, I feel that most songs should be allowed to simmer a little before being declared done, and even after they're done, they should be allowed to rest before being served. Songs really are like food for the soul.

Thank you again, for all your support! I hope you enjoyed "Mary"--the next song will be posted on Thursday! Until then...

Be bold.

R

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Outlines and Offerings

Songs are on their way! Expect to see the first of the group, collectively called Outlines and Offerings, on Tuesday ("Remember, remember the fifth of November") followed by a steady trickle of tracks on Tuesdays and Thursdays until I'm out of music (until the next round of course). The plan is to release each with an accompanying post about the song so be sure to check back regularly.

For me, this project was about learning the process. I have written so much over the years that picking songs was not a big issue, but capturing them and making them sound (at least for the most part) pleasing are things that take more training, skill and finesse. On top of that, recording by yourself on essentially the good will of others really tests your creativity, resourcefulness, patience and determination.

Needless to say, I am still figuring out how to mix well (in general and on this particular set-up) and still learning how to perform consistently, but I know for a fact that I have improved significantly from when I was recording songs in my living room as a high schooler. The results are still far from "professional," but they are a good reflection of who I am, what I do and what I stand for, so, for now, I am happy.

Can't wait for you to hear what's been brewing!

Be bold.

R