Get out of the way.
Really at a crossroads right now. So much change. Planning to pick up and move to a new city. No idea where I am going to live or what potential income streams will start to flow. No idea what my daily professional or social life will look like. No idea what it will feel like to be away from my sister and her precious family. No idea how my dog will handle the move, or if I will even be able to take her. No idea if I am keeping my furniture and renting a U-Haul or just selling it all and starting fresh. I don’t even have a solid move-in date.
The trick is to not be scared of, but excited by the unknown. I know this because music told me so.
It has been a long, hard road climbing this mountain, and I feel like I’m just beginning to grasp the essence of my approach. There are higher mountains I have yet to climb. Miles Davis said, “Man, sometimes it takes youa long time to sound like yourself.”
In the beginning it was all music. Delving into the masters. Hours of practice and playing. Then came writing, where I was able to close my eyes and rely on my chops while chasing the muse in dreamland. And songs would exist when I landed. Then came the accidental stumbling into recording and production. I always had a producer’s mind, but learning to engineer and mix were necessary skills I had to develop in order to grow into that role. Years of experience and hearing songs being put together by experts…learning what worked and what didn’t, and then WHY. Eventually, all of these skills grew into one another, and my current approach to music production is the result.
I’ve learned to remove myself as much as possible from the process.
My job is to listen to the song and give it what it asks for. That can mean hiring the right musicians, engineering with intent, mixing, but mostly it means putting the right people in the right roles and setting the tone of the session. When I prepare correctly, I can just stand back and watch it happen. It is not work. The energy swirls around in the air, everyone in the room melds together, and more often than not…my arms get bumpy and the hairs start to stand at attention. I feel as if my fingerprints are all over everything, but no one knew I was there. We just get twice as much work done in half the time and everyone is happy.
I tend to have a tumultuous relationship with life and music. Way way ups and way way downs. I feel that most of my mistakes are born from the emotional extremes and the social media posts that follow. I either get too excited and make a mistake, or I get too depressed and make a mistake. People read this stuff...I have seen tangible results from these mistakes that remain costly lessons. And undoubtedly there are more to come.
On the airplane a couple weeks ago I had a thought, and it felt important at the time…and still does.
What if I can produce my life the way I produce a session?
Put the right people in the right places, do my homework, set the right vibe, and step back to watch the magic unfold. There, but not there.
I have to construct a discipline for myself to clarify what exactly this means…but I’m interested in finding the answer.
Thanks for listening, everybody. Slowly learning…never stops.