"Piano on 24th" is an album of solo piano pieces. It starts out with joyful, pure, inspirational compositions and segues into colorful tunes with flares of minor themes, flamenco, and rock piano.
Here are some samples: 1) Before You Open Your Eyes, 2) Andalucia, 3) Come To This Fountain, 4)Harpstrings
Becoming an Independent ("Indie") Musician
When I made my first album 10 years ago, indie music was starting to hit the scene in a big way. Recording equipment and software was becoming affordable, smartphones were coming out, and social media was gaining traction as a promotional platform.
Most of this went unnoticed by me - I simply liked writing music and playing for people! A chance meeting with a jazz pianist planted the idea in my head of booking time in a studio, recording some tunes, and producing a real-life CD with my music on it. Whoa.
It turns out that I was one of many musicians exploring a new outlet of artistic expression and music business - and the past decade has continued to bring more awareness and accessibility to indie music (with tools like YouTube, CD Baby, and crowdfunding). What a fun movement to be a part of!
Piano on 24th
Which brings me to 2015 and my new album of original pieces - Piano on 24th. Things are a little different than my first album in 2005. I'm out of college and married to an indie singer-songwriter. I'm a seasoned wedding and corporate event pianist. We own a large grand piano, which, in and of itself, has opened the door to a new world of dynamics and nuance. It's on this piano, in our house on 24th Street, where many of the new tunes were composed and the entire album was recorded.
Now that most songs are finished, I'm pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoy listening to them. As often is the case with art, I expected to be tired of the songs after working so hard on them, but that's not how it is - I like them right now!
Each recording took about half of a day, during which time the composition often evolved. Once the sound engineer comes and puts his $2,000 mics into the piano and records me playing, hearing a tune played back is almost like hearing for the first time.
We took the time to get it right - to adjust, redo, cut, and fill in, until each piece stood by itself as a complete work. We considered how different sections of each piece would blend together rhythmically and tonally, then looked at all of them together to make sure there was enough variety so that the tracks sounded unique, but also enough unity that they sounded like they belonged together.
I believe we achieved our goal. That's why I enjoyed listening to the album as soon as it was recorded ... because we did it right.
And that's why you'll like it too!
Risks and challenges
Putting together an album is a big project. I start working on 'Piano on 24th' about a year ago by researching ways to record on our grand piano at home. Once we figured that out, it was down to business. We did 4 recording sessions in 2015 to get workable recordings.
The last session was mid-October, during which we finished all the necessary recording. The next step was to take all of the recordings and mix them, which means that we fixed up little things, added reverb and other effects, balanced the volume, and took care of fades.
This is as far as we've made it in the process. Next step is getting it mastered, which is a final layer of polishing and results in the sound files required to send to the duplicator.
The duplicator controls the actual physical production of the album. I'll be sending them the album specifications, artwork, and mastered versions to put together the final package. Then all the CDs arrive in the mail and the fun continues!
It's a lot of work, but it's good work. And I'd love to have your support as we take this across the finish line!
- (27 days)