The Joy of Collaboration

For the past several hours, I have been listening to something that is giving me great joy. The narcissistic fact about this is that it is one of my own songs: “Pulling Nails”. The reason it’s making me so happy is that I am hearing it in ways that I have not been able to realize until now.

I think I’ve shared here that I am in the process of putting together a collection that will be released as an EP sometime in the coming months. I don’t have the timeline quite yet, but I know what songs are going to be on it, I know what order they’re going to go in, and I’m already starting to put together the artwork for the collection.  All of the basic recording has been done (I think — I am prepared to be wrong). What needs to be done now is the mixing and mastering.

In the past, I would’ve done all of the mixing myself, and then used an online provider to do the mastering. As I’ve also mentioned before, this time Terrance Reeves has been working with me on the mixing. And it’s been a revelation!

As a musician and a recording engineer, I am not without some degree of chops. I don’t know everything, I am constantly learning, and it’s not what I do all the time, so I don’t necessarily have all of the skills that I would want to have.   However, and more importantly in recording my own music, there is one fundamental necessity that I lack – and that’s objectivity and perspective. 

(“Two! Our two weapons are surprise and…”)

As I’ve been listening to the various mixes Terrance has sent me of “In A Minor Key”, “Clouds”, and “Pulling Nails”, I’m noticing he has found things not just in the recordings but in the songs themselves that either I had given up on unconsciously, or never even realized were there. He has been able to give them groove and flow and narrative. 

He’s also been able to listen to the songs from the outside and ask questions about what I think the song is about, the emotions it should inspire, and how I’d like the listener to hear this song. And since he hasn’t been with it from conception through arrangement and recording, he can put forth ideas that I don’t have the perspective to think of. 

It’s important to remember that collaboration provides a chance to enhance your art. In no way is it about sacrificing your vision: in fact, it is the chance to be able to know that your vision is getting through to your audience in the way you want it to.

Collaboration also makes the act of creation much less lonely. And in the present day, that has a tremendous value all its own. 

So, here’s a little sneak peek – but only a peek. Stay tuned and I am so looking forward to sharing the finished product with you really, really soon.

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