Seven months ago, the hardest and best chapter of my life so far came to a close: I graduated from Belmont University with a BM in Composition and a BS in Audio Engineering Technology. Even now, it’s still hard to believe it’s done!
I must confess I felt equal amounts of relief and panic the day I walked across the stage: relief, because four and-a-half years of blood, sweat, and tears were finished; and panic, because I realized I had two degrees but no firm plan for what would follow.
It’s official… I’m releasing a second piano album this summer. As promised last week, I’m revealing the title: Out of Ashes.
When I first discussed my intentions for a second album in June, I didn’t know how I could ever again make another album as good as Airborne was. I had no title, theme, or storyline for this next album, and I was at a loss as to how to move forward without a plan.
So many artists struggle with the so-called “sophomore album.” You have your whole life to make the first album, but for the second, you maybe have two years—plus, you’re burned out from making the first album. Could I ever throw myself into a second album the way I did for my first one?
I know, I know—I haven’t posted in two months. So maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Or maybe you didn’t notice. The truth is, I’ve been a lot of places, so I’ll tell you about some of them…
For the most part, I’ve been… At school, in the practice rooms.
Three hours a-day, seven days a week (in theory, anyway). Music school is extremely demanding and exhausting, but in all of that time at the piano, I’ve come up with some amazing pieces that I’m looking forward to sharing on the next album. I’m going to dare to say that my second album will be better than the first. (I’ll tell you more about this album in next week’s post.) Continue reading “Where I’ve Been”→
It’s official… I’ve begun working on my second piano album! I plan to record most of it over the course of this summer, and I expect to release it in early spring of 2015—perhaps sooner or later depending on how many other projects I’m doing. I’m hoping to make it longer than Airborne—hopefully around 40 or 45 minutes. As of right now, I’ve completed two compositions with another almost done, bringing me to around twenty minutes of music.
I was hoping to come home from college with enough material completed to record another album right away. And I wanted to be more active on my blog throughout the past year, release singles, produce other artists, and play more gigs, but life happened…Continue reading “Why My Next Album Can’t Live up to the Past”→
I realize I haven’t written in awhile, but this last month has been an incredible month of first times…
1) The first time I performed one of my own compositions in a concert hall.
I performed my piano piece “Equinox” in the McAfee Concert Hall as part of the Student Composers Recital. As far as I know, I was the only freshman composer who participated. It was wonderful to hear the sound of my piece performed in such a wonderful venue. And it was such an thrill to be featured among so many other talented artists at this school! Continue reading “A Month of Firsts”→
It’s been a wild ride, but my debut solo piano album Airborne is done and out!
Eleven months ago, I was inspired after returning from two GRAMMY Camps and had a bold idea: I was going to release a thirty-five minute solo piano album by the end of the following summer.
At the time, I only had one piano piece (“Airborne”) that I felt was good enough to record. I had already committed to producing an EP for singer/songwriter Lily Garay that fall, too. And there were college music school auditions in February to practice and prepare for. Suffice it to say that the prospects of releasing a full-length album were not good.Continue reading “Airborne is Out!”→
As the lone audio engineer for my piano album Airborne, at this point, I’ve done way too much solo piano editing. Am I that bad a pianist? No, but I’m a perfectionist, so I strive to meet impossible standards—especially since I have such a strong idea of how my own compositions should sound.
Even so, editing is much more than finding flawless takes and putting in crossfades to piece them together—it’s about maximizing musicality through artistic and technical choices. While I don’t purport that putting together twenty different segments into one track is as good as playing a perfect take straight through, I will go so far as to say that, when edited well, the difference between a composited track and a one-take track can be minute. However, with any kind of solo instrument recording, making edits is playing with fire if you don’t know what you’re doing. And with piano recordings, their many inherent challenges only pour on gasoline. Even so, by following some simple rules, I’ve found one can safely edit a piano recording: Continue reading “Bright Idea or Playing With Fire? – Airborne Studio Diaries”→
After five years of studio work, I somehow continue to hope that, maybe, my next recording session will be “normal”—no technical problems, no surprises, and no burnout. But I’ve never had a “normal” session. Apparently, in the studio, exceptions are the rule.
May 18. The day is burned in my mind. It ominously looms over me like a storm cloud, on the verge of raining havoc upon my world. So what dreadful tribulation shall befall me on this date?
May 18 is my album’s tracking deadline.
No big deal, right? Wrong—I still have to finish writing one of the pieces (which I’ll refer to as “F Minor” for now) on the album. That’s a serious problem—really serious. Continue reading “288 Hours”→
Recently, I’ve decided to release my first-ever solo piano album. In addition to composing and performing every piece on the album, I will be producing and engineering the project myself. I’m also directing the marketing, promotion, and finances. In other words, I’m doing the whole thing on my own. (Hence, my lack of updates lately.) I know there are significant advantages to pulling from others’ talents for a project, but at this stage in my career, I’m doing the album by myself to learn. Am I crazy?Maybe. Am I a control freak? Not exactly. Let me explain… Continue reading “My First Solo Album: What’s REALLY Involved?”→