progress is progress

In the studio

So, I’m in the studio today, Thursday, and we’re discussing the idea of internships.

And reviewing a vocal.

Can’t fight the vibe.

It’s all vibe.

I’m a big John Waite fan and trying to get the vocal right on a song I named after his amazing song, “Isn’t it Time” is a fun challenge. It’s the one song I’ve never performed live and have only sung a few times, so there was no muscle memory to guide me, but thankfully Josh is a patient guy who wants to get it right.

Getting exactly what I want after such a long time is an unbelievably good feeling. Someone else might have said, years ago, “I’m stoked,” which I always thought was a funny term.

Now Josh is on facebook trying to show me a photo of a friend who had some pet squirrels. I had no idea you could search someone’s photos like he was. I’m such a luddite. That’s because I just showed him a photo of a cat hugging a squirrel that goes in through a dog door to hang with the cat. This is all because there is now a cat in the studio. She’s incredibly beautiful and makes me want to add a cat to our menagerie.

I let Josh sift through my vocal. Once in a while I say, yea/nay but mostly I let him do his job.

It’s shocking to me that we are getting to the mix/master stage here. WTF. Now I need some music videos, and I need some concepts because it’s sort of a no brainer to shoot outside, but the weather is not great.

This song is a little country inflected. Josh just said it sounds too good. (and whaaaaat’s wrong with that?) but we are going for “cool” so I’m typing and letting him figure that out. And it has a hint of “dock of the bay” (at least in my mind)

You’d think I’d learn something about ProTools here, but no. It goes by. It’s like listening to Japanese, you keep thinking you’ll just “get” it, but no.
Pat Sansone played on this, it’s just guitar, shaker at this point. I’m laughing because now Josh says the Wurlitzer is too pretty so he’s got that muted. Whatever. I did my job. Whew.

Last night on the drive home from the studio, I listened to his mix of “I’m a Writer” not to be confused with Ainjel’s LA version which I think we will call simply, “Writer.” “I’m a Writer” is exactly what I wanted when I started working on this project which is:

1.  Songs that people will want to listen to more than once, because when I proposed making a full-length recording to my band Specx, the guitarist wanted us to make a very low-fi home recording, which I didn’t want to do. I specifically didn’t want to waste any more of my good songs. Now, you might think that writing a song is easy, and sure, I have bits floating around in my head all the time, but getting it all to come together, that is, having the right lyrics and the right melody is not always something that just magically happens in 20 minutes despite what you might read other songwriters say. For instance, this song, “Isn’t it Time” was, ok, maybe initially written in a flurry of white hot emotion, but then I thought about f*ing with it to see if I could make it better. So that part, taking it from 80% to maybe 90% or above is where the sweat comes in. You have to play around with the melody, the lyrics, the structure and be prepared to let it all go, only to come back to it. And that takes a certain amount of experience and confidence and knowledge. So, you judge for yourself. When you hear it.

Ok, that was a bit of an aside

2.  I told Kyle Paas in New York that I wanted to make music that women wanted to take their clothes off to.(I do not say this to Josh, but I have said it to Ainjel. I mean, no one has ever told me that they’ve had sex to one of my (previously released) songs. And, more sex, more good sex, more positive sex in the world is a good thing, and maybe even a public service. And I wanted to have some songs where the woman listener feels good about herself, good and empowered. Now, not all of these songs fit #2. But you can certainly put some of the songs on repeat, like “I’m a Writer” And that feels so super good. I’m no Barry White, but Barry White is the man. His voice is incomparable. And he provides a valuable service-that of bringing people together.

I don’t think I really had any other goals. But I mean, a sub-goal is for me to, of course, sound good. For the vocal to sound really good. And for that, I need to be super comfortable. And I prefer privacy. I’m like the girl in the story The Crane Maiden by Miyoko Matsutani. If I tell you that I need privacy to sing and then you don’t give it to me, that is going to be a problem.


We are moving on. I just told Josh this is going to be SO GOOD and he said, “Yeah, I think it’s going to be alright.” So modest. I feel so lucky. What an improbability, here I am!


Now we’re working on “Anybody Out There” one of the songs I wrote while I was in Specx (and recorded). Josh sped it up, and likes the tempo better now. He said if I had written this in the 90’s this song would have gotten me a record deal. Aww! (thanks, Josh). But we’ll start over and rerecord. He’s getting such good vocals out of me, and new guitars and what-have-you. But basically we’re listening, making comments, and he’s going to send me this faster version. There’s one melody run that reminds me of Everything But The Girl, a band I really loved. (it’s about 2 or 3 notes, not anything anyone would notice, I don’t think…) Ok, this song is just a typical female singer/songwriter song. Why fight it? But, no one else could have written it. I mean, it’s about motherhood, my past music career, something I admired about my Great Aunt, my son/daughter, old times, reconnecting, being positive. Update: josh just said it needs some serious “Groove Management.”


It seems easy to write a blog post from the studio. I can just report on what’s happening, and just joked that I’ll have to keep booking studio time so I can get my blog post done.


So much winning.


Ok, we’re not done. We are going to stop working on a song called “Love Can Fix” because it isn’t right and we’d have to start all over and…so I pulled up another song I wrote called “Dorian Gray.” Josh told me to go home and listen to the album So by Peter Gabriel. So was what he was going for when he did “I’m a Writer” So that’s great, because So is an album I really love.


Josh just told me he has done some work mixing Lupe Fiasco.


Ok, it’s Friday and the kids have off due to “weather” which means that while I had wanted to add to this  post, I’m going to post it as is. Have a great weekend, xo Leslie

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