This week I had my first recording session for Restless Heart. The process of making an album isn’t quick; I’ve booked about 40 hours of studio time between now and February, which should be enough to record the eleven tracks I have planned. My producer brought in the same trio that backed me on In Pursuit, so this was a reunion of sorts. They know each other really well, but it was also a group that I felt comfortable with. To celebrate the first studio session together, I brought donuts. They were soooo good.
Seriously though, the donuts are important. Essential, even.
Nevermind that they are from the best donut shop in Philadelphia. (Suzy Jo’s Donuts in East Norriton, in case you were wondering.) I bought one dozen assorted — reserving the glazed buttermilk for myself, natch — and presented them to the band and my producer with a little flourish. Before we played a single note, we celebrated the start of the project together, sitting in the control room, enjoying each other’s company, and reveling in the incredible tastiness of these treats.
I read once that the first ten percent of any endeavor establishes the tone and baseline for the other ninety percent. Sure, donuts are donuts, but they brought an infusion of joy (and a nice sugar high) into the very beginning of the process. It’s a foundation of positivity and human connection that the entire structure will be built on. To keep the energy going, the first four songs I chose to record were all upbeat, joyous, straight ahead rock tunes.
Before Tuesday morning, I spent hours and hours prepping each song, writing out the arrangements, thinking through each intro, tag, fill, break, verse and chorus. When we got to actually recording the first few songs, there weren’t any big decisions to make. It was just a matter of letting the musicians do what they do best — bringing a page of notes and markings to life as a song.
I truly believe the end is in the beginning. The way you prepare for the start of something and the way in which you begin have a huge impact on the entire project. We know it from physics too: imagine a ball rolling from point A to point B. If you bump it just a little way back at the beginning of its journey, the end point will be in a very different place than before. Nudge a music project a little toward joy and connection … who knows what we can achieve?
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