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When creativity collides with reality ....

I can spend hours playing around with melodies and coming up with baselines and I just love it. But while that is great, producing a track is a very different and a serious business.


Not long ago, I was talking with a long time friend of mine about one of his songs. My friend writes amazing lyrics and he is not so bad at singing either. One evening I recorded him singing his song and also the guitar backing track. I could just hear that this would be a very cool house track. It had all the elements, the great lyrics, a catchy hook, it was engaging and drew you right in. I could hear the strong baseline and kick and the rest that would go into the track. The problem was that once you start putting the track "in production" it is like build a car. I wrote some new parts, made a rough mix down and its was clear that the vocal needed a retake to fix diction, changes in the emphasis in a few places, just basic clean things up. I send him a set of production notes, with comments on when and what needed addressing. Right away, we hit a brick wall and I understood that we were talking a different language. The challenge here is to try to engage with your singer at a level that intention and purpose are clear and are not coming across as a criticism or willing off creativity. More importantly, try to convey that creativity and production although do go hand-in-hand, production takes a different almost engineering mindset in order to deliver a track, than creativity.


In my past life as a research physicists it was actually no different. Hours tinkering in the lab was great fun, got us some great and exciting results. But when it came to writing the paper, ... well that is a different game and requires a different level and type of discipline. To be successful you need all, the creativity, the discipline and the focus to deliver.

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