Last Monday's release of my first original single, "Carry Me," was thrilling, thanks to all of your views, comments, and enthusiasm. THANK YOU SO MUCH for being there to usher the song into the world, and for being a part of this community.
If you missed it, or haven't yet downloaded the song yet, here are some links!
Reflecting on last week's release....
The most rewarding moments for me were reading your personal notes about how the song resonated with your own journey, or evoked a visceral emotional response (positive or not-so-positive!).
In this way I feel the song and video truly connected us, human to human -- perhaps more than any of my singing tips video could (even though those were fun, don't get me wrong).
A core intention of why I write and produce my music, and express myself creatively on video, is authenticity. Art, for me, is not clean or sanitized, but instead represents our experiences much more faithfully in the moment-to-moment roller-coaster ride of what it means to be a human on earth.
It's messy, free-wheeling, and displays both the light ("Fel") and the shadow ("FELICIA") -- without judgment, but with curiosity and exploration.
Taking the WHOLE ENCHILADA of someone, including myself, is something I've had to learn to do in my 33 years (oy, I'm 33 now, holy crapppp) -- and it's been a transformative, rewarding, wild process.
I know from a lot of your emails that many of you are in the same boat, and it's so encouraging to hear you speak so genuinely about your own processes.
What a beautiful thing it is to be honest about who we are.
You guys rule.
AND NOW, A BRIEF BEHIND-THE-SCENES Q&A!!!
I wanted to do a quick written Q&A to answer some of the recurring questions I've been getting after the music video release, so please read on if you're curious! (Most of these are music-production, music-tech, or singing-specific, so hopefully the real NERDS among you will like it :-))
Q: How did you arrive at your new singing style, and what was your approach to recording the vocals of the song?
While recording "Carry Me" I deliberately wanted to forget any rules about "right" or "good" vowels for either musical theater or pop. I recorded in a dark room with just twinkle lights, trying to feel into the movement of the song and see where it took me -- and TRUSTING that my technique would come into play when I needed it.
While doing so, my goal was to be as emotionally true as possible, even if that meant being rough around the edges, nasal, breathy, whispery, or any other vocal qualities that might be considered "bad." If it served the character or story, it was the "right" sound.
And remember how I used to talk about "face shape," which creates the tone of what you're singing? It felt like each emotional moment spontaneously "spun" a different shape in my face, depending on what I was feeling. I simply moved my mouth and face to accommodate it, with as little mental interference as possible.
In a technical sense, I recorded the verses very close to the microphone, to let you hear all the little imperfections and such, and then as the song progressed I backed up a bit so I could belt it out without maxing out the signal. I used a Shure Beta 58A dynamic microphone.
Q: How did you create the actual track?
I produced the song myself, meaning I wrote the arrangement and played all the parts. These were all electronic or MIDI sounds that I played on a keyboard into my computer, then sculpted using effects and plugins within two DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations): Ableton Live and Logic Pro X. I rewired Ableton Live into Logic to be able to use both simultaneously.
A lot of the sounds you hear were also made with my mouth and voice -- breaths or percussive moments, or singing that I shot through effects to create the sounds of strange instruments.
I then mixed and mastered the track, which basically means I determined the loudness balance of all the parts, as well as the placement and sonic distribution of where everything should go.
Q: The music video feels "real" -- how did you make it?
I shot the entire music video on an iPhone X with no fancy or pro camera setups, just me and one other person filming each other. The storyline evolved as we were filming and overall it took two days to shoot over one weekend.
I wanted the song to feel as real as possible so it was important that the process was unforced and spontaneous.
Q: What's next?
I'm currently finishing up SONG 2! Very different from "Carry Me." :-) You'll be the first to hear about it, of course.
And further down the line a full album, with "Carry Me" and my next single, will be ready for you -- timeline still TBD.
I hope this blog post answers your questions and conveys my sincere thanks for your support and feedback.
It's so good to be back.
Talk to you soon!
P.S. Oh, and please share the song and video with as many people as you can, if it resonated with you!
Something sweet for your ear holes, or even your eye ballz