Finding Your Voice Is A Balancing Act

Jun 30, 2016 | Encouragement, Inspiration, Music

In a couple of days the band will be returning to the recording studio for probably the last session this year.

It’s mixing time!

I have just been listening back to the first rough mixes of the recordings.

We did them over six months ago during our first session in the studio. Since then, we have been back a second time to add the finishing touches to the recording.

Open and exposed.

In the first recording the songs are a long way from being complete.

Everything is disjointed and unfortunately it doesn’t all sound good. Without proper mixing, the whole thing doesn’t gel.

The worst thing for me is hearing my own voice bellowing out.

There are some songs where it sounds great, and then there are others where it just doesn’t fit. Hearing yourself back in this way makes you feel naked and exposed.

It is not good for your confidence.

You want the world to hear your voice but certainly not in this way.

That’s why rough mixes should always be kept under wraps. They don’t communicate, or project, exactly what you want.

A second listen.

I am now working through my second listen and it is less shocking than the first.

I am hearing some pretty glaring mistakes in the music which is disturbing.

Mainly because I’m not sure if they have been fixed. I know we did make notes between the sessions. If you don’t you run the risk of missing mistakes later when it’s crucial to make corrections.

At some stage it will be too late to correct things and that would be a shame. Happy accidents are one thing but unhappy ones are undesirable.

Some of the mistakes are cringe material and, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t want to embarrass myself any more than necessary.

There are some positives, though.

Through the course of this new recording I realised my voice has improved. It is maturing like a good wine.

I am able to hold a note more steadily. I can now control what comes out of my vocal cords. It wasn’t always like that.

A big part of that is self-confidence.

Over the years I have had an ongoing fight with confidence. I am not gregarious by nature. It was consistently noted throughout my school years: ‘Paul is a shy boy’.

Somehow I have overcome that to a certain degree. It has been a long way to the top, though.

I have had to go against my natural instinct which is to run away and hide.

It has been difficult.

Learn to relax.

Another thing has been the growing ability to accept the effect of emotion.

I am still learning to relax. It’s a battle.

I broke down and cried at the beginning of the first recording session.

All the pent-up emotions came flooding out. It had been five years since our last studio album. That’s a long time in musical terms.

The song we did first, which brought it all on, happened to be Dark Days.

I don’t think it was a coincidence. The song is about coming out of a bad period. It ends with the line: “Now I’m looking up”.

I am certainly doing that.

Dark Days

I hit the proverbial wall

Found myself in a very deep hole

I looked but there was no help

Even though I called

 

Clawing my way back from the brink

Surprised how low I could sink

I’ve seen dark days

Been lost in dark days

 

Had a crisis of confidence

Couldn’t deal with all these incidents

Stressed out to the max

Trying to get my rhythm back

 

Need to break this cycle

Snap out of the downward spiral

I’ve seen dark days

Been lost in dark days

 

Now I’m looking up

 

Clawing my way back from the brink

Surprised how low I could sink

I’ve seen dark days

Been lost in dark days

 

Now I’m looking up

Becoming a balanced artist

I realise I am still coming to terms with balancing my artistic self.

One thing is trying not to get caught up in attempting to do it all at once. Just take it one step at a time. You don’t have to get there quickly. It’s not a race.

I continually need to keep convincing myself of that.

If you rush it, none of it will be good. It’s much better to make sure each piece of the puzzle is well made, and fits properly with the next.

The drive to get there as fast as possible has been quite destructive. More than once my pushing has been met with resistance and the whole thing has stalled.

The other thing is to accept you don’t have to do it alone.

Making and recording music is a group effort. Even my other artistic adventure, being an author, would be impossible without outside help. And becoming a better singer required the patience of a vocal coach.

Creating a piece of art is never a one person show.

I will take this and other lessons with me this weekend. As a team, not only the band but also with Milan (the man twiddling the knobs, and an inspiration in himself), we will carefully make the best creation we possibly can.

We’ll guide it.

Hone it.

Try not to force it.

Make sure every piece fits.

Maybe even crank it up really loud!

And come home with a masterpiece.

l

Are you struggling to find artistic balance?

 

Leave a comment below or join the mailing list and let me know.

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