"Crash" EP - The Process

In December, 2009 I made a trip up to Michigan for the holidays. My parents and a few of my siblings still live in southeastern Michigan where I grew up. Not only was I spending Christmas with family, but I had scheduled some studio time with a guy I knew from high school. He had had some success in the music industry and wanted me to come in to see if recording together would be a good fit. It was almost time for me to get into the studio again and so I took him up on his offer to do one song.

In just a couple sessions producer Jake Rye and I had created a near-finished song, and what would eventually be track 4 on my EP. The "New Studio Version" of "Maybe" was sounding the best I had ever heard it. The vocals were crisp and full, the piano cut through the mix amazingly and the overall production was incredibly professional. After getting the final mix I knew instantly that this business relationship was going to work very well. In addition to being an outstanding producer, Jake was fun to hang out with and a talented musician as well.

Over the first few months of 2010, Jake and I made plans and worked out the schedule for me to come to the studio. Initially, I was planning on doing a full 10-12 song album, but time, money, and wisdom suggested that an EP was the way to go. Over the summer I polished up my songs and saved up money. A few of the songs ("Your Crash", "Blank Page") were well rehearsed, but some songs weren't even finished. One song actually didn't even make it to the CD. I made the final decision on "Last Call" the first day in the studio. I had been working on another song but I didn't feel it was ready.

So, on a crisp morning, October 11th, 2010, I arrived at the Sonus Clarus studio to begin tracking. The funds had been saved, the music was ready, and so were we. It was time to make the greatest record we could. The process moved along fairly smoothly from the scratch piano to the final vocal tracking. Each piece was falling into place nicely (as I dreamed) and before I knew it, three weeks had gone by and I was heading back to Atlanta with a great excitement! Not only did I feel good about the recording, but I hadn't seen my wife in a LONG time and I was ready to be home!

November began the challenging task of listening to mixes. For someone who often gets hung up on details, critiquing song mixes can be a never ending process. Not only did I have to communicate to Jake what changes I wanted, but it was also time to bring the other pieces of the project together. I had done a photo shoot with an Atlanta photographer, Andy Brophy, in September 2010 and I had about 300 photos to sift through. 

This part of the CD process seemed to take the longest. November proved to be very busy for me with conferences, a tour, Thanksgiving, and everything involved with putting this project together. Before I knew it, the Christmas season was in full swing and the CD release date was fast approaching. Some things ended up taking longer than expected and other things simply slipped through the cracks. I was getting nervous. It was the week of Christmas and "Crash" was behind schedule.

If I had to choose one word to describe my experience throughout this whole process, it would be "growth". Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was exciting. But, more than anything it was a major time of growth for me. As things got stressful and deadlines were missed, I discovered that I am a person who naturally likes to be in control. Or at least I like to feel in control. But, when it came down to crunch time, I had to give up control in order to release the CD on time. So I learned to delegate a few things out and entrust parts of this project to other people. 

So, with several people working on different aspects of "Crash", the CD release show was getting closer and closer. Once I had everything submitted for the discs to be duplicated, I received an email stating that my CDs would arrive to me on January 6th (two days after the CD release show). Not good. But, after a few emails back and forth, and more over-budget spending, everything was back on schedule.

December 31st, 2010 began with a knock at my door. I was like a kid at Christmas as my "Santa Claus" (dressed in brown) delivered seven boxes full of CDs. My excitement grew as I tore open the first package to reveal my very first professional, fully produced, shrink-wrapped, bar-coded studio EP. See picture below. It was everything I dreamed of.

And the creation process of "Crash" was complete.

We had an excellent night for the CD release. I felt incredibly blessed to have so many of my friends and 'family' in one place to help celebrate. I only wish I had had the time to talk to each person individually and thank them for their support. After it all was said (sung) and done, I went home January 4th, 2011 with a deeply grateful feeling inside for everyone involved in the process. What an experience! Incredible.

And now a new process begins. I have boxes and boxes of CDs to sell, so that I can have the money to do this whole thing all over again! I am saddling up for a GREAT 2011. I hope to see you out there.