Monday, December 6, 2010

Maybe Next Life

While ordering my lunch at Einstein Bagels one day I got to talking to the girl behind the register and she mentioned that she wanted to write songs and be a singer, dancer, actress, performer, etc.

Loving anything creative, especially with art or music, we got to talking about what she wanted to do. She said she had met a "producer" who was setting up a studio in Boulder and offered to produce and mange her. Maybe it's just me but I got a weird feeling about the whole thing. My biggest fear is some guy would take advantage of her and soon be telling her, "I bet you could sing MUCH better if only you'd take all of your clothes off."

So, trying to be nice, I told her if the thing with this guy fell through that I have a home recording studio set up and if she just wanted to record a song I'd be happy to help. I told her I didn't have any industry contacts and couldn't help her in any way with her career but, if she just wanted to record a demo, I could help.

Months went by and, surprisingly, this "producer" flaked out. So, she and I talked about her recording one of her songs. I asked her how she wrote songs, did she play piano or guitar, and what kind of music she had in mind. She couldn't play any instrument and basically wrote lyrics and sang them in a melody. I asked her if she could get me a song of hers recorded on something as simple as a tape player to see what I could so with it.

A few days later she handed me a tape recorder and said she had sung the song really late at night while she was pretty drunk. Perfect, I thought. If there was something I really wanted to do in life I'd make sure to do it late at night and drunk. That would show people how serious I was.

So, I took the tape home and had a listen. This was going to be an interesting challenge.

First I got the tape recording she gave me recorded into the computer. Then I figured out a basic tempo for the song and laid down a computer drum beat and click track. Next, and this was the hard part, I, line by line, cut up her vocals and made them fit the click track and arranged them into some sort of song. Finally, I figured out the chord structure on acoustic guitar and figured out some sort of lead guitar riff.

While miking both my voice and guitar, I played the song through twice, singing and playing guitar on the same track. I panned one take to the left and one to the right. The vocals don't quite match up but it sounded cool so I kept it and then added one more guitar part with the lead guitar riff.

Within 36 hours of her handing me the tape of her singing, I handed her back a basic demo with drums, arrangement, acoustic guitar parts, and me singing.

It was a fun exercise just to see if I could do it and I am still tweaking the song here and there. Once I get her on board we should be able to do a decent demo that she can send out to see what will happen. We will see.

But, for now, here is a track of what she gave me and, below it, what I gave her back.


Amber's original recording, late at night.

If the streaming player doesn't work you can find the original file HERE.

What Sean turned around in 36 hours based on the above demo.

If the streaming player doesn't work you can find the original file HERE.


Manu said...

Well, I think this is the reason why we call it an "arrangement", Sean..... :)

Maybe you should have better asked her to dress her clothes off, finally lol.....

The world is full of poor lost girls like her... I hope she has waken up and has a better life now : !

Jeff Lafferty said...

Nice job Sean, it sounds awesome man.

rob! said...

Wow, what a story!

Sean Tiffany said...

Thanks guys. We'll see how this plays out. I might have gotten myself in over my head with this project but it was fun to see how much I have learned about music in the last few years.

Glad you all liked the story.