As my EP enters its final stage of production (mastering), I can't help but wonder what the outcome of years of bringing this EP to life will be. This EP represents the full circle of coming to Nashville at 12 years old and singing karaoke on Broadway, dreaming I'd be back one day. It's the culmination of learning what the heck songwriting is, and years of songwriting with different writers, and the challenge and satisfaction of writing by myself. It signifies the decades and immeasurable amount of money my parents spent helping me master the craft of singing. It symbolizes the countless hours of learning the different instruments I wrote each song with and the innumerable miles driven to play each song live with my band.
Once production wraps up, I will be sitting in the offices of record labels, management, song pluggers, lawyers, and professional friends and colleagues who will listen to it and then tell me the verdict of their thoughts.
When I released my single, "This House Is Haunted," I received great remarks from people in the industry. A CEO of a songwriting publishing company told me that this song would surely be picked up by a big artist. The head of a major artist management company raved about my vocal performance. My idol told me she watched my music video and loved it. A record label told me they loved it and couldn't wait to hear more of my music! And while I feel proud with the headway I made with that song, none of those remarks changed my life. I was still the same girl hustling for myself. I was proud that people liked it so much, but at the end of the day, nothing happened as a result of the "right people" liking it.
So, as I gear up for another round, hopefully hearing how good it is (I may not be that lucky!), I have to brace myself for the chance that: nothing may happen.
Although that may be the case, I have to remember that I'm proud of what I made. These songs are the best versions of themselves. These songs came from real places and emotions in my life, and whether or not people like them does not diminish the years that were put into making this the quality of music I've sought to achieve.
And more than anything, I'll know I reached my goal if these songs resonate with the people who listen to them. I hope you relate to my blissful happiness, my deep sorrow, my aching hurt, my boiling anger, and my desire for strength.
If the string sections well up and make you want to do something bold, or my sad songs make you want to cry, or that driving guitar rhythm makes you drive a little faster- then I'll know I did my job and my music was made for something, not nothing.
As some of you may know, I've been recording my EP this past November and December. I've always wanted to record an entire project and I've been biding my time in Nashville until I felt that I was ready with the right vision, style, and songs.
March of this year, I approached my friend Tommy Harden about producing my EP. Tommy has been Reba's road drummer for at least a decade. He's also played as a session drummer on tons of hit records and has a super cool duo with his wife called Lost Hollow. When I heard Lost Hollow's album, I knew I wanted Tommy to produce my record because their sound is perfectly on the edge of country- just how I like it!
Check out Lost Hollow at losthollowband.com
Tommy and I got together this summer and wrote a few songs to see if we could beat anything I already had. I chose one of our songs as the title track of my EP!
Once I picked the other final songs, I sent work tapes over to Tommy. A work tape is the roughest version of a song--usually recorded right after you wrote it on the voice memo app of your phone! Tommy listened to them and then tracked a "mock up." A mock up is a reference track for me to listen to and make sure I like the direction of the song before we record everything for real. And of course, Tommy is a genius and brought every song to its greatest potential, so I liked everything!
Tommy tracked some drums, bass, guitar, keys, and background vocals for the songs (I told you this guy is a genius) and I came in and tracked vocals for each song. If you are a singer, you probably think that tracking vocals sounds fun, but let me tell you, after 2 hours of singing the same song, you start to question if this is really what you want to do with your life!
This is clearly me at the beginning of the vocal session- I'm still happy!
Then, after the vocals were all done, we brought in my husband, Billy, to do some drumming and percussion, then we topped it off with bringing in a guitar session player to play all the delicious guitar solos!
Now, after a month and a half, all the tracking is done! I'm currently waiting on the mixes to be finished--the hardest part is waiting to hear the finished product!! I'm beyond thrilled with what Tommy has done with the songs and cannot wait for you all to hear them!!
Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But sometimes, I think I know exactly what I'm doing.