JAM UNBLOGGED! HOW THE CD CAME TO BE PART I

In The Sun- Writing The EP
Sometimes people ask me what it took to write and record a CD. I ask them how much time do you have? But I really want to share some of the process with you all because it really was one of the most challenging, wonderful and empowering efforts I have ever completed in my lifetime and yes, there will be a full- length album recorded soon! (We’ve already started writing!)
It really was a dream fulfilled. I always thought it would be fun but I really thought I was just going to do a demo project. Somewhere along the way, it was decided that I would not only record an EP but also that I would use all originals. I already had 2 songs that I knew I wanted to use. I had written Malibu several years ago and was looking for the opportunity to do something with it. I Promise Forever had been written for my sisters wedding a couple years back so I wanted that on there too. The other three, I wrote specifically for the project, The Intro in the Spring of 2011, MUZIC that summer and finally the title track- In The Sun was written to complete the project.

The thing most daunting to me, was knowing that I had to trust someone to write with me. These songs were my babies and I had to let someone be a part of my creation. It was risky and I thought what if we don’t vibe? What if I hate what he wants to do? None of that happened. It was nothing short of magic!! The writing process looked like this, Claude and I would meet, he would sit at his keyboard and I would sing a song and give him as much of the vibe as I was feeling. Sometimes I would play the basic chords, sometimes I would just let him do all the playing. He would listen and then he would start playing. We experimented with groove after groove. Sometimes he had to sleep on it and call me when he had a concept to run by me. “Muzic” was especially difficult to develop the music around. Claude would be like what about this? I’d be like no. Then he wanted to key to be higher, I said no then he said what about this and I said—I think I like it and then finally after a billion ideas, it just worked!

“Malibu” was a challenge because it was the oldest song and I had trouble adding to the song to fill it out. Driving down Sam Cooper one day, it just hit me-what about another language? Ooh what language? Spanish nah! Portuguese-uh nope! French! Perfect! I had a French speaking co-worker who worked tirelessly to develop my lines based on the phrases I wanted to say. I did make one major error while recording but I’ll never tell so unless you speak French, that secret will stay with me! The layered scatting came about because I was trying to adlib/scat to a slow song and it felt empty. I originally wanted 3 layers but that didn’t work out. Dave Parks loaned his idea for the vamp and the song was complete, making Malibu a fan favorite.

In The Sun was the easiest as far as developing the groove and the format, the reason is because it basically wrote itself. That song embedded itself so far in me that I was able to tell Claude exactly what I wanted from the start. I played the chords, the bass-line, I knew what I wanted the vocalists to do. I have never put so much of myself into any song before but I hope to write many more like that.

The Intro (What’s Your Name?) was, believe it or not, written in about 30 minutes. I sat down on the floor in my music room with my pad of paper and started singing and writing and recording. I called my best friend Una and my sister and sang it for them on their voicemails and said hey what do you think? The scat section was a hot mess (see the UnBlog about the studio) when I sang on the phone but it came together over time. One day I called Claude and said, “Claude I hear horns!” He agreed that that would be cool and we started developing that whole notion.

I Promise Forever was a labor of love. I wrote it for my sister’s wedding. I insisted on using on the CD. Claude and Isaac pushed back saying maybe I should leave it off because it wasn’t fitting the vibe of the rest of the jazzy CD. I told them I didn’t care and that it was staying. That was the end of that conversation but it wasn’t the end of drama surrounding that song. The rest will be shared in the Studio UnBlog! Now that I’m writing this, I realized that I lost the MOST sleep over THIS song! But it has given me much joy along the way and I am pleased with its outcome!

Wow, I really hadn’t plan to write this much but I guess I had a lot to share about these songs. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I appreciate you sharing in this journey with me. The amount of work that goes into making music is monumental but I wanted to share a few of the pieces not only to you but to allow me to record my own memories as well. Stay tuned because recording in the studio was a trip and I can’t wait to talk about it!

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