Category Archives: passion

In the studio

Recording Session As I posted earlier this week, I was in the studio shooting photos for a friend’s new recording project. First off, I really want to do more of this kind of photography. Everyone shoots live concerts. Anyone can do head shots, etc. I want to document the creative process.

And it is a process!! By the time you purchase a CD (or download a song from iTunes) hours upon hours of time went into that final product. Which is precisely why music pirating is SO damaging to the music industry! (No, this blog post isn’t going to be a huge, “Music sharing is evil!” post. So don’t run away!)

I am not going to claim to know all the ins and outs of the recording process, but I have been around enough studios to know a few things. One of those things is that I could seriously sit and watch it happen for hours. (Well, given I have slept the night before… going into the studio on no sleep is pretty much a bad idea.)

A song starts with a songwriter. The person or people who conceive an idea. It might be a throw away line someone overheard in a bar. It might just be a single concept. For example, a song that I absolutely just love written by friends came to be just because they thought it might be fun to write about tattoos.  Yes, tattoos. What came to be is a beautiful song that you should go listen to. (Visit here and check out “These Tattoos”… then go ahead and listen to everything else on that page. Kay?)

Skipping ahead a WHOOOOOOLE LOT OF STEPS, like years of tedious steps (did you know a lot of the songs you hear on radio today were probably written years ago?), lets pretend a song has been chosen to go on an album. Hallelujah, that songwriter whose heart is in the words celebrates, here we go!

Here is where the studio time comes in…

I posted on Twitter the other day that the recording process reminds me a lot of the writing editing process. You take the whole story/article/post in general, then you take it apart piece by piece. Word by word. Sentence by sentence. Perfecting it. Tweaking it. Making it a masterpiece.

Now take a song. You have the basic song — the whole story. It has a groove. Then… it comes to life as piece by piece is added. Music. Vocals. Background vocals. Each piece can take hours as you perfect it.  Bobble a segment, that’s okay. You can do it again. And again. And again. And that moment it just comes out PERFECT? You can get goosebumps its just so good. Some little pieces might get scrapped for a better idea later. Often when you leave the studio after you’ve done your part, you still have no REAL grasp of what its going to sound like in the end.

Once all the pieces have been recorded, it goes to mastering. This piece is louder than that piece. Maybe we decide we don’t REALLY want background vocals in this line, so lets cut those out. The guitar laid down a great solo over here, but the piano’s solo just fits better, so lets put that in instead.

HOURS go into the recording and editing processes. By the time you listen to that song on your iPod, a producer, artist, engineer and musicians will have spent the equivalent of days of time on it. Not to mention the love and soul of the writer that started the whole thing. Its these hours that are forgotten that I got to photograph this week. These hours that no one sees in little studios all over the place. On any given day, the #1 hit of next year could be finding life through the talents of the people whose names you may never know.

It’s a true labor of love.

An old passion still lives in me…

When I was in elementary school, we’d get to occasionally go to the high school pep rally’s during football season. I’d stare in awe at the “flag girls.” I wanted to be one of them when I got into high school.

And I was.

That’s me in the front. I was in flags for two years… could have been three years if I hadn’t over-stressed about how bad I wanted it (life was seriously GOING TO END if I didn’t make it) and pretty much sabotaged myself in tryouts as a freshman-going-into-sophomore-year. But, hey, HUGE lesson learned, and it made me appreciate being in flags my junior and senior year even more.

I. Loved. It. I literally felt SO alive when I was out there performing, flag in hand. And I was GOOD at it. I was even almost (ALMOST) recruited to go to Baylor University as a flag… but when I said they’d have to pay my way to go to Baylor, I never heard back from them. (Because, yeah, you’d literally have to pay me to go there. Sorry.) So after my last parade my senior year, I hung up my flag and never pulled it back out.

I confess, I kept a flag after graduation. I felt guilty about it until I heard the next year they got all new flags and poles. Then I wished I’d snagged a couple more as keepsakes. ;)

My flag has been in a box, and my poll… well… it made moving clothing from one place to another easy. Hang it from a couple bungee cords in the UHaul, and you have a make-shift rod for hanging clothes.

But still… when I see a parade, or if I got to a high school football game, my eyes continue to gravitate to the flags. In college, as people around me would poke fun at the twirlers and flags in the other band at half-time (since at TAMU we have a military band and, as such, no flags or twirlers… and Aggies can be kinda cruel to other bands because of that), I would still stare somewhat wistfully, remembering my days with a flag in my hand.

I hear a song on the radio that we did routines to, and I find myself trying to remember how our routine went. Or I hear a new release that is just ripe for a performance, and I find myself writing a routine in my head. I guess you can take the girl out of flags, but never take the passion for it out of the girl.

I’m on an extra-big health kick right now, spurred by my recent (and on-going) fight with sinuses. I force myself to work-out every day, and since its been cold outside, that exercise has been in my little office dancing around to music. Today, though, the sun was shining and the temperatures hit the mid-70s. I went outside, and I found myself digging around in the garage.

I found my flag poll. I found my flag. I couldn’t resist. I went outside to play.

It took a few minutes, but slowly my favorite moves came back to me. A few fundamentals I had to really think about. But before I knew it, though, my posture was straight. My eyes were up like they were looking at a press box. And I found myself pushing myself to be as graceful and fluid as possible in my moves, all with snapping the stops perfectly. I found I could even remember the tosses, though the catches were a LITTLE shakier than I like.

I literally laughed out loud at one point. I hadn’t done this is 12 years!! And I found myself loving it just as much as I did back then!

I foresee this becoming a regular thing in my exercise routine. It certainly works your upper body! And just the joy I pulled from it… that’s the best medicine of anything.

Do you have an old passion you’ve left behind? Have you considered picking it back up?