It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. You can finally hear the songs I’ve been talking about all this time! That’s right. Live Summer Session 2005, with 18 songs and sixty minutes of original music, was released to the public this week, and the feedback is already pouring in from around the globe! If you’re just tuning in, LSS 2005 was recorded in my living room this past summer, LIVE in one take. I composed a lot of the music right there on the spot, using a big stack of my lyric notes for reference, and letting the inspiration take over from there. There were no producers telling me what to do (or what not to do), no engineers giving me another take; it was just me and the piano, playing and singing the music as it came to me, straight through without stopping.
This is guerrilla record making at its guerrillest, and I’m pleased to report that it’s turned out to be a smashing success… but you should have heard the sirens going off in my email box as people warned me not to take that kind of chance, because oh my god, live recordings don’t ever sound good, and don’t you want to sound as good as the bands on the radio?? People even freaked out when I told them I composed the songs impromptu. They hadn’t even heard the music yet and they were already judging it and warning me not to submit “rough” demos to the public, lest I be torn apart and never forgiven… Ouuuch.
But sometimes you just have to go with your instincts, because guess what? I was right and everybody else was wrong! LSS 2005 sounds amazing, and people are loving every minute of it!! The fact that it’s LIVE means it’s real, and people want real. They’re sick of fake pop crap. And even when I record a fully produced record, it’s going to be REAL. I promise that to all my fans. I will continue to follow my instincts to bring you more ART.
I’ve been relying very heavily on my instincts as of late, and my songwriting has come to depend on my ability to surrender to the inspiration whenever it strikes. When I clear my mind and let the music take over, my hands seem to move on their own, and my voice utters words I haven’t premeditated. This is pure instinct. It’s like riding a wave. You just take a deep breath, hop on, and hang on as long as you can. That’s basically how I songwrite when I’m composing impromptu pieces. It’s a lot like channeling. Or free associating. And it’s super fun, because anything can happen! It’s pure creativity.
Needless to say, this method is different from that of most other songwriters, who tend to spend a significant amount of time writing a song before they record it, and thoughtfully mapping out chords and rhyming verses, you get the idea. I do write songs that way as well, but I also compose impromptu… and I had months, no years, of madness inside me that just kept building up and building up, until everything bubbled up to the surface the day I recorded. Musical percolation.
And that’s what we captured on LSS 2005: emotion in its rawest musical form, still gelling practically. And it was a huge risk, putting out music that barely meets a demo’s standard of production. But we were able to capture something magical by doing it live and impromptu, and people really seem to be connecting to the rawness and realness of it. You know, I get letters from teenagers who have never even heard a real voice on the radio before; can you believe that?! They’ve only heard the ten or so songs radio stations play at any given moment, and that means Matrix-style production on cookie-cutter songs with an emotionless digital vocal collage instead of an emotional voice, production technique instead of personal artistry, and little or no variation, ever!
Some of these kids who write to me actually thought that the songs you hear on the radio are really what a band sounds like. They didn’t realize that almost all current singers sing every line of a song, like, 300 times. Then some producer, or a committee of producers, goes through and mixes and matches the best lines until one seamless vocal performance has been digitally created. Then they run the digitally altered voice through more digital filters that add fullness and richness, and then they pitch correct everything so you’d never know if the singer was off key the whole time. And then they record layer upon layer of background vocals, which they add to the lead vocal, and then they drop everything into an instrumental track to make a full song… which they then master, market, mass produce.
And that’s what you’re hearing on the radio. That’s not a singer who wrote a song and played it into a mircophone at the studio one day. That’s a collage of a singer’s digitally altered voice singing a song somebody else wrote and that a group of other people produced. It’s not very real, in other words. And those same recording-by-committee songs are often pre-recorded and played back at live concerts, while the “artist” lip-synchs along. That’s the truth of it! Ashlee Simpson isn’t the only one lip synching out there, lemme tell ya. Most pop artists lip-synch to pre-recorded tracks, or sing along and have their live vocal mixed in with the pre-recorded track by the soundman. It’s become an industry standard… and it’s a tragedy!
That’s why I think people are so excited by LSS 2005. They love that it isn’t some multi-layered production of a digitally created voice, cut-and-pasted together in Pro Tools by a huge assembly line of producers and engineers, writers and arrangers. They love that it isn’t co-written by someone else, or slicked up, or glossed over, or made so that I sound better than I am able perform in real life. Basically, the fans love that it isn’t a big lie. And let’s face it… most records these days are big fat lies.
As an artist, it pains me so much to see the fake pop crap record labels are feeding the public, as though it’s real music. Humans need music to survive. Every culture has its own music, because it’s a natural need for the development of our spiritual identities. If you listen to Mozart, you’re filling your soul with beauty. If you listen to Chopin, you’re filling your soul with passion and longing. If you listen to John Lennon, you’re filling your soul with imagination. If you listen to the hottest girl groups of the 60s, you’re filling your soul with attitude and groove. But if all you listen to is crap, your soul is going to be full of crap. Period.
Please, support real music today and buy a copy of Live Summer Session 2005 from my online shop. My goal is to sell fifty thousand copies of this record, and that is also how I plan to make a living. I have no one supporting me financially. No one is helping me do this. Brian and I are doing everything on our own. If you have your speakers on, then you’ve heard the music… and if you don’t absolutely love it, then you wouldn’t be here reading this diary entry, would you? Unless you’re some weirdo or something. You’re obviously here for a reason, So don’t just LOOK. Support me and buy a copy of my record.
I NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO MAKE IT. If you don’t support me, then I’m just going to keep on struggling. So here’s the link to my online shop. Go get yourself a new favorite CD!
Your humble servant of song,