Today marks the end of an era, though i refuse to believe it’s the end of your ideal. I’ll always remember fondly, your three blizzard white letters against that fiery red backdrop. You were the first of the elite to believe in me, and for that i’ll always love you. It’s a new dawn, a new day, and a brand spanking new life for us all! EMI Music South Africa … your passion will forever live on. Head held high.
Hi boys and girls,
Some of you may, others may not, know that i finished up vocals on the record a week or so ago. We decided to go for that up-front, brutally honest, singer songwriter style vocal track. No backing vocals. A decision some might not agree with, though i think it works incredibly well to create that vulnerable, debut album feel. A sort of, starting out emotion. It should all make perfect sense once you’ve had your first listen through.
Speaking of which, last week i spent a little over three hours with the team at EMI listening to all of the final pre-mix edits, a more than nerve-racking task, i might add. I sat down and played them everything i had, explaining, for the first time, where my inspiration came from, what each song means to me and how i feel now, having recorded them. This is something i don’t usually delve into… well, not in any incredible depth. It was liberating, and the fact that they loved what they heard was cause for a much needed sigh of relief. Having them love the songs was one of the greatest validations i’ve received since heading over to Vegas to record my EP back in 2010. Turns out I may not be so bad at this music thing after all, go figure.
On a side note: for those who don’t know, a pre-mix edit is a version of a song prior to it being mixed. If you were to hear a song at this stage, you would easily understand the artist’s emotional intention. Song structure, melody, lyrics, etc… they’re all present, however the song is still a LONG way off its final sound. The idea is to have a great sounding pre-mix because, in theory, it can only get better.
Another main goal for the listening session with the EMI gang was to select the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc… singles for priority mixing. If i told you this was an easy task, i would be lying and not for the reasons you might think. In many instances an album has an obvious 1st single choice, usually the one track that has an apparent “radio-friendly” aspect, coupled with an album leading quality. That’s not to say my album has none of these, in fact it’s quite the opposite. At the risk of sounding like an overly confident douche, we found it tough to choose a 1st single because, apparently, my album is littered with possibilities. The difference between these possibilities lie within their power to steer my budding career in different musical directions. The problem we had was not one of sonic strength, but one of sonic mood. It’s the hardest thing to try and anticipate public response. Do we open with an up-tempo Motown tune or a ballad? Do we go for the song with a no-brainer radio chorus, or the song with a killer groove? At the end of the day, all of my songs will have their very own spotlight moment, whether it’s on the airwaves or through your earbuds. I’m not too phased.
However, after much thought, and multiple listens, the marketing crew at EMI decided to go with Crayon Boxes as the 1st single! I kinda like this idea, after all it is the title of the album (two bombshells in one update, damn). Also, it has a certain safe-uniqueness to it. I think you’re gonna love it! And if you don’t, there’s always the rest of the album ;)
Which leads us to the here and now. Currently we’re waiting, with baited breath, for Crayon Boxes (the tune) to return from its time in Los Angeles. It is, at this very moment, undergoing its mixing makeover. I can’t wait to hear which direction Mark and Will decide to take with this song!
Stay with me, things are heating up.
Edit: It turns out i may have jumped the gun regarding the choice of my 1st single. To my delight, the EMI crew decided to go with my original song choice - Your Lovin’ Ain’t Right. I can only hope to prove my intuition right on this one. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I trust you’ve all had an eventful calendar year transition. Me? Oh, i got up to the usual shenanigans that encompass the passing of the old year into the new. However, i am rather pissed that i didn’t get to show off my impressive zombie killing skills. The 21st came and went with little of anything occurring. Not one person attempted to rip the flesh from my face for their own selfish gain. I don’t have to tell you how much of a letdown this was for me. Stupid Mayans. Now, all i have to show for their inaccuracy is a semi-automatic, 8 round shotgun and a couple of homemade flash-bangs. Somebody gonna gedda hurd!
Anyway, i’m relieved to tell you that as of today, i’m back in studio for the final vocal sessions. If everything goes smoothly, i should have this album wrapped by the end of the month. At which point it will enter the mixing stage of events, something i’m awaiting with bated breath. We are lucky enough to be taking advantage of some of the connections i made during my time spent in L.A. This means that Mark Needham, and more so his right hand man, Will Brierre, will be attending to the mix. I can’t stress enough how lucky we are to have them lend their unbelievably talented ears to the cause. With Will at the mixing helm, the album we get back is sure to be a new kind of Phoenix all together. You know, akin to that bright new, exquisite, seconds-old bird rising up from the interesting, yet dull in comparison, pile of ashes? Yeah… that’s what i’m hoping for.
After mixing, there’ll most likely be an awkwardly played out photo shoot, for an album cover i am yet to decide on. Though i do have a few firm ideas involving a suit and a rather colourful tie. Think high contrast B&W with a burst of colour (crayon boxes), but we’ll see how this plays out when the time comes. Then, a little further down the line, once the singles are selected and the track listing has been finalised, I should finally have a debut album worthy of the descent into my newly crafted career satchel. A safe place for those pieces of my soul i choose to craft into melody. And if i have anything to say about it, said satchel will eventually hold a smorgasbord of… well, me.
A time capsule of my life, when looking back one day.
I’ll say it again; this album won’t be the best i’ll ever write, and it certainly won’t be my favourite. But it has a hugely important purpose to serve, and i think i may have just done enough to show you how much i believe. It’s the start of everything.
Stay classy, i’m coming at ya!