The quest to write, record, produce and release a song a week. To read why I’m doing such a thing as well as being a full-time producer and musician for others, check out the first ‘A Song A Week’ blog post HERE.
A Song A Week is written by me, a songwriter and musician, but it appeals to people from all walks of life and professions, so no matter how you’ve found yourself here, try to take something from it and implement it in your own life.
Welcome to Week 23 of the A Song A Week blog. I’m going to dive straight in with some thoughts and musings on my latest song ‘Soul On Fire’…
I massively recommend listening to the song whilst you’re reading, so if you don’t have Spotify, you can listen on iTunes/Apple Music HERE or EVEN BETTER, to support the blog, podcast, the song itself and ME you can get all those things AND MORE directly at the amazing PATREON HERE or on the picture below ↓
It’s also available on all major streaming and music stores across the internet, just search for ‘Tom B. Cooper’ on your preferred service and I’ll show up!
One Man Band
Doing A Song A Week is a lonely old thing sometimes. I’ve got lots of plans for collaborations and the like, but 25 songs so far (and certainly for the next few weeks) have been just me on my own in my little studio playing the part of writer, musician(s), producer, engineer, mixer, mastering engineer, record label and everything else in between.
Some might call me a control freak, I’d argue it’s more financial and time constraints that have led me to work by myself so far.
I love working with other musicians. There’s nothing quite like it really, but the industry is pretty flawed for artists like myself… that’s a whole other blog of a whole other time though (although if you are interested, a quick search on ‘spotify unsigned artists unfair’ should give you a pretty good idea as to why we’re being screwed over so badly and the major labels are reaping all the rewards!!!)
So when I set out to write Soul On Fire, I decided I wanted to really get across the feeling of a load of musicians in a room, with peaks and troughs and movement in the song.
This requires me to record the song as if I’m interacting with a bunch of people in a room.
It probably looks crazy to an outsider looking in, but you have to move whilst you’re recording.
If I’d recorded Soul On Fire in a sterile environment just sitting there and not moving, I don’t think the feeling would’ve come across as it does in the final recording.
When I’m producing and engineering, I’m forever telling guitarists to jump about a bit, bassists to groove more, singers to emote and all the rest of it.
There’s something about the energy of movement and feeling that comes through when you’re playing and so although a recording studio is really far removed from a rehearsal room or a stage or even just sitting on the sofa with your instrument of choice, you have to feel comfortable in performing when the red button is on.
Now this is a huge generalisation, but drummers don’t tend to have the problem of performing whilst recording. I have my theories on why, but that’s not important right now.
So, if you’re in a situation like me and you want to record a song that doesn’t just sound like one person, what can you do?
First thing I’d do is record a REALLY good guide track. With lots of emotion, groove and intensity. It’s no good playing along to block chords that’s just one level and one tempo throughout, because that will filter down to all the other performances.
Secondly, I’d embrace the tempo changes. If you naturally speed up in a chorus when you’re playing it by yourself, do it in the recording too.
Thirdly, like I said before… perform. You can even think of it as acting if you’d rather. Imagine you’re on stage infant of 50,000 people, or in a tiny jazz cafe. Whatever makes you REALLY perform.
Lastly, enjoy it. For whatever it is.
Enjoy if for the joyfulness, the melancholy, the intricacy or whatever else YOU enjoy from the song that YOU wrote in the first place. Otherwise, what’s the point?!
It’s easy to get bogged down when you’re a one man band, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone that could tell you on first listen that Soul On Fire is just one guy in one home studio doing everything.
Soul On Fire has those peaks and troughs and movement I was after in the first place so I think it’s a success.
P.S. I know Soul On Fire sounds like Sex On Fire, but I simply don’t care.
Thank you so much for reading. I hugely appreciate it. The absolute best way you can support me and this blog is by listening to and sharing my music and what I’m doing, so you can…
It’s also available on all major streaming and music stores across the internet, just search for ‘Tom B. Cooper’ and this song and all the rest will show up!
I absolutely love doing A Song A Week, but they take up a lot of my own time and money, which as a self-employed musician, I don’t have a lot of either of those things! So you can also show your support on Patreon by clicking the image below, or by clicking right HERE. (If you haven’t heard of Patreon, it’s absolutely awesome for you and for people like me, so go go go!)
I also do a weekly podcast to go with the A Song A Week blog, which I actually record as I go, so it’s really like you’re there with me as the song goes from idea to fully finished. To listen and subscribe to the A Song A Week Podcast, click the image below or right HERE. (If you’re on iTunes, otherwise just search for ‘Tom B. Cooper A Song A Week’ in your preferred podcast service and it’ll show up! Or, there’s a link on your right in the sidebar)
Peace and happy music making.
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