Brand New Door

This is my latest original song, although it has been a long time coming. This song started as a piano part over 5 years ago, for which I fully intended to add lyrics, so I wrote it with a verse/chorus structure. I then wrote lyrics and a melody, but didn’t have anyone perform the vocal track for me.

So it sat for a few years until I presented it at a Songwriter’s Cafe meetup, with the melody played on a synth and me reading the lyrics to the group. The group feedback was fairly unanimous in that the reflective, introspective lyrics and the poppy, up-beat music didn’t really jive well together. Upon some reflection, I decided to tear the two apart, and write new lyrics for the music and new music for the lyrics.

I tackled the new lyrics first, and wrote a more straight-forward, positive lyric. The new lyrics made me want to include a new introduction that was darker, both lyrically and musically. I also wrote a new bridge.

I had a couple of people try to sing it with limited success. Finally my friend, singer-songwriter Sunny Zaman, took a crack at the vocals and did a fantastic job! So here is the final version. Enjoy and thanks Sunny!

I had wandered in the darkness
Drifted from the shores of self-assurance
Been beat into submission of my soul
But climbed my way back

I’ve hung up my hang ups
My shell’s been cracked
Re-imagined my image
And got my back back

I’ve scared off my fears
Showed off my show
Voiced my inner voice
Owned up to all I owe

It’s a new life
Like I had before
But this new life
Opens up a brand new door

Seen eleven fingers
from the front row
Looks like the pieces fit
Baby it’s a whole new show

I’m singin’ my new song
With some help from friends
Seeing my world get bigger
Got me a brand new lens

Looking back now
It’s all so clear
Listen to your heart
Even when your brain won’t hear

It’s a new life
Like I had before
But this new life
Opens up a brand new door

Under My Shell

I fooled around with a dance-rock groove with spoken word song several years ago, but never really liked the production I did or the way I performed the spoken word.

I presented my updated song at the Songwriter’s Cafe meetup group and it was very well received.  One comment from the group stood out for me: one member said how at first, she was taken by the dance club feel of the track, but as the song progressed, her attention shifted to anticipating what lyric came next.  Great feedback!

Download the full album for free.

This is the revisited version of Under My Shell:

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here
I’ve always heard be brave don’t fear
My forclaw twitches begs me to start
For what I face I have not the heartNor the nerves or the senses
Nor do I have the defenses

To my left the hot land stretches out
To my right no end with no doubt

Slowly I peer out from under my shell
How far is the other side I cannot tell

All these creatures rumble before me
I cross my eyes and all is blurry

They move with much speed but no grace
On their big black feet they race and race

I’ve never seen such reckless haste
And a greater challenge I’ve never faced

Stepping out slowly but surely
With great dignity I tread
And as the wind rushes by me
I know in seconds I’ll be dead

These creatures they barrel down
Down upon me they seem to frown

For this rush what is the cost
In this hot grey land I am lost

No place for the likes of me
But I was too stupid to see

Feelings of foolish pride give way
To feelings of fear and dismay

I wish to be back inside my shell
This day I must live to tell

No protection it will give me now
All over me these creatures will plow

Shatter the shell I hold so dear
Only now is my error so clear

In the end I feel only nothing
To the memory of a shell I cling

Stepped out slowly but surely
Through madness I fell
Oh I wish I would’ve stayed
Stayed safe under my shell

Carmen Toth / Social Potion

I provided digital photography, video and audio recording of a independent singer-songwriter showcase. I used both “on-board” and room sound recordings for the highest quality audio, combining an intimate sound with the feel of a live venue.

All of the final videos are available here: bit.ly/O6uMVF

Hello Time Travel – Quiet Defiant

I worked closely with a solo singer-songwriter Erica McLachlan (aka Hello Time Travel) to produce, record, and perform on her independent CD release. I also provided photography, video and layout services. The CD included a music video that I shot, directed, and edited.

A happy accident occurred on our first recording session. For Erica’s first song (and single) Underground, I accidentally had my Apex 430 microphone pointing backwards (i.e. the back was facing the singer). Frankly, with some of these large-diaphragm condenser mics, they look almost identical on the front and the back. Here’s both sides of my Apex 430:

Which side is the front? Unless you know what those little icons mean, it’s hard to tell. The front side has a cardioid microphone pattern on it, indicating that on this side, the mic picks up sound in this pattern. On the back, the icon indicates that it rejects sound from this side. This is hard to tell for a beginner. Since then, I’ve put a piece of coloured tape on the front, just in case.

I didn’t figure out why her vocal sounded a little distant and weird until after the recording session was over. I told Erica we had to re-record the vocals, but as it turned out, she actually liked the lo-fi sound of the “improper” recording. We decided to go with it and turned the whole track lo-fi, including the video.

Listen to the album

Check out the graphics

Watch the music video

 

Hello Time Travel production

I’ve been working for a while with a solo artist named Erica, aka Hello Time Travel.  She’s a university-educated musician, a talented songwriter and a joy to work with. We’ve just started recording the second song of her 6-song EP, and it’s going well. For the most part, it’s piano and vocals, but for some of the songs she’ll be adding some acoustic and electric guitar, and I will be adding some percussion and bass with my keyboard.

She has a very eclectic style, like Tori Amos or Regina Spektor with interesting, distinctly contemporary lyrics and a wonderful soprano voice that ranges from rock grit to choir-style.

erica_and_i