I can't believe we're so close to having these CDs actually in our hands. I can almost taste it. I know that's a cliche, but it's true. I can feel the shrink wrap between my fingers, and I can feel my nails struggling to rip it open. In just a few weeks, that will be reality!
Today was our final day in the studio. (Actually, we still have some more work to do, so we'll be back in again tomorrow.) We've spent the last few days listening to the mixes. We listened on my laptop, Gerald's laptop, with headphones, without headphones, my stereo, and the rental car. (Don't know if I've mentioned the rental car, but that's a whole other story!) I also sent it around to our "trusted few" for listening. The parents provided our "consumer research" ears. Monika and Brent were our studio references. And Allison and Brian provided studio-plus-genre experience. Overall, the response was good, but there were things that needed tweaking.
I was a little stressed going in today. We're hitting that "past the point of no return" moment. Soon, the CDs will be made, and I won't be able to make any further changes. The perfectionist side of me is freaking out a little. But I'm coming to terms with the fact that this will not be a "perfect" album, nor should it be. Who makes a perfect album? Everyone has told me that next year, I'll listen to it, and wish I done some things differently. It happens to all CDs and all musicians. But that's where learning and growing as an artist comes into play. If I didn't want to get better with each project, then I'd really be in trouble.
So I'm coming to terms with the fact that this record will be many things, and the last thing it needs to be is perfect. Actually, I think we're going to look back on this and realized that we've done a number of things right. One thing I was very clear about from the start was the idea of a "signature sound" - even with a range of songs, I wanted a cohesive sound and identity to the record, and I think we've achieved that. I also wanted to create new music, and we've definitely done that. We have seven new songs, and the three classics have very unique arrangements. I wrote a list of Purposes early on in the process, reasons why I wanted to make the CD. I've been checking in with that list on a regular basis, and I think we've been sticking pretty close to it. I also wrote a list of Goals, and those are definitely happening, bit by bit.
So, today was all about tweaking and fixing. We did a little bit of re-recording, but not much, just a word here and there. I got a disc when we left, and listened to it tonight, and here's the cool part - Tonight, I enjoyed my music. I wasn't just listening for my vocal glitches or funny sounds to tweak. I started listening for that, and after a while it dawned on me, "I'm enjoying this music!" It was such an exciting moment!
Tuesday, Brian gave me a disc of my photos, so tonight I imported them into my computer. ("onto" my computer? I'm so techno-dumb!) Anyways, as each photo imported, it would flick on the screen for just a second. The effect was a like a film. I wanted to see how the style of the music fit with the style of the photos, so I turned on "Real Big Fan". It was awesome! The effect was like a music video, with my photos flashing and the music playing like a soundtrack.
The big dilemma now is which photo location to use. The Ryman reflects the elegance of the music, yet the mural near Monell's expresses the joyful side of the record.
Still so much work to do, but it's all just feeling so good!