(‘Cause That’s Who You Are) Jesus – Original Song – The Process

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Lead Sheet

How do I even begin to explain how this song came about?

It’s a feeling. It’s an experience.

What culminates to the final product is what I have learnt or re-learned over the weekend.

Understanding God’s plan for mankind is so vital.

Understanding my own personal struggle is not easy but I think the song captures it very well.

I also challenged myself to come up with a new sound I have not done before. I have always been composing for children. I’m glad to say this sound is worthy for a more mature audience. All glory to God.

It started with a recent favourite pop song, Hello by Westlife. I just tinkered some chords from the song. It got stuck. The new grove got stuck. The melody, however, was kinda new for me. I have not write anything like that before.

The words were simple but the message is understood. I realize that simplicity is what we should strive for; mankind made things complicated for themselves.

Armed with limited live instruments and equipment, I did my best with the recording. The initial key was too high as I realized when I start to record the final version seriously.

This was the first version. Seems more like a draft and I sounded so pitch-y. Too high a key for me it seems. 

My workflow was figuring out the chord sequence and I liked the use of only one minor chord in the verses and chorus. I especially like the bridge section. It reminds me a lot of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors for some reason.

Like an ABBA song, I like a song to have a contrasting mood from the original intention. This song is a sign of my personal struggle but it doesn’t have to sound sad or moody. It is quite optimistic.

The piano track was the base of the recording and I recorded with metronome to set the tempo right. I experimented with my new cajon tablet that I bought from Timoz. I’ve been resisting from recording my cello but my playing has improved some what and I decided to give it ago. Last but not least, my trusty DIY rice shaker in a small glass bottle.

Here are more specifics of the recording and video:

DAW – Cubase LE AI Element 9

Microphone – Cardiode AT 2035

Digital Piano – Casio CDP 200R

Cello – Eurostring

Timoz Cajon Tablet

DIY Rice Shaker

Vocals – my own

Video program – Da Vinci Resolve

Video visuals – Canva

The vocal harmony was a last minute decision but I didn’t regret it. It adds a nice touch and provides more color to the song.

My only qualm is probably my production mixing can be better but I’m still learning and it can only improve over time.

If your ears are sharp, you can probably some bird tweeting sounds in the track. Those are natural occurring sounds while I was recording. My study room is not sound proofed enough and my microphone at the lowest sensitivity possible.

This is all I can share so far and I hope that anyone who listens will be blessed. Amen!

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My Love Affair with Sound Recording

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I’m not sure since when but I’m pretty sure I started very, very young on this. I remember having my very first mini compo radio which you can record just about any sound and also radio songs onto a cassette. I used to shut the doors, windows, lights down low to create the ambience for recording my piano playing. My upright piano is positioned at the corner of the living room where it reverb very well off the walls.

Technology improved over time and there was my very first camera phone. I had a 66-key Casio keyboard around secondary school days. I was starting to transcribe song and finding chords. I still have not discovered music notation software yet at that time. Everything was hand written.

Eventually I took up a minor course on Music Technology at university. I was introduced to sound recording on the iPad. It’s hard to deny the convenience of it. I really had great ambitions to record many things to the point where I got an audio interface just for the iPad 2. Unfortunately, I feel dubbed into buying  it and probably a very impulsive buy because 7 years on, I didn’t got much use out of it. I had one too many  demands and many things I wanted to do didn’t work out. At that point of time, I just graduated and was chasing my first career. So little time but many, many ambitions.

With the iPad, I really exhausted a lot of use out of it apart from recording. I used it to do homework, work, entertain and even played gigs with it. Recently, I had to depart with it due to the fact I had a great opportunity to upgrade. With that done, I also upgrade the gear I would need. I got myself an original camera connection kit. It’s crazy I know! It costs a bomb but I think in a long run, it’s a good investment.

For the past 6 months, I up my ante by learning quite a few new instruments: ukulele, cello, recently the bass guitar. The accumulation of basic skills to play quite a range of instruments has upped my desire to get a better and more compatible audio interface. It was risky but I really took my time to do my research this round. In the end, I got myself a Steinberg UR12. I got to use it for my recent Fiverr gig and I’m happy to say the quality is quite good. It surprises me and I surprise myself. I started to record samples of different other things like the ukulele and the cello. Prior to buying the interface, I got myself a Cherub pickup on Aliexpress. It’s really dirt cheap but really worth a try on what I can get from it. It’s not fantastic but it’s not too disappointing.

Ukulele and vocal_Steinberg sample – I never proclaim myself to be a good singer but recording my own voice brings a chill to me somewhat.

Steinberg_cello sample – This recording is giving me more reasons to push myself on playing the cello better.

Due to these recent recording experiences, I’m feeling more enthusiastic on improving my instrument playing.

Sound is really a mysterious thing.