You Didn’t See My Valentine…

Dear Reader,

So, during the first recording session for the album I’ve been working on, I did a cover of Fiona Apple’s song Valentine. I was really hoping to include it in the final version of my album. I’ve loved this song ever since I first heard it in 2012 and what better way to honor a song than to have an insufficient musician like myself attempt to play it? 🙂

However, after I did some research, I realized that there’s this little thing called copyright. Based on what I’ve read, indie acts (meaning everyone who cannot afford to bring a lawyer into the mix) can include a cover in an album as long as they pay a minimal fee, give any royalties made to the original artist, and keep the melody and overall arrangement the same. I didn’t mind the fee (I think it was only $15) and definitely didn’t mind giving money to Fiona, but I did have a problem with being told to essentially copy someone else, especially an artist as powerful as Fiona Apple. I know that, had I tried to do it Fiona’s way, I would have completely failed, because no one but Fiona Apple can be Fiona Apple.

So, long story short, I decided to just post it on YouTube. I’m pretty sure I won’t get sued….hopefully.

If you’d like, you can listen to my attempt below:

I apologize in advance for the quiet audio. It was recorded using the old microphone.




6 Responses to You Didn’t See My Valentine…

  1. Hi Charlie,

    Happy to hear an example of your music. Good on you! Nice piano work and I like that you kept this recording bare bones and simple. I’ve a couple of suggestions for you (and feel free to erase this comment if you want).

    I know this is using your old mic which you felt was giving you problems; hope your new mic works more to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, some of what I’m hearing may not be due just to your mic.

    I can hear what I call ‘mouth noise’ on the recording; this is typical and almost every singer has it. It’s the extra noise picked up from simply moving your mouth around. I’ve worked as a producer with singers who do a lot of that, and with singers who have almost none. The singers who don’t have a lot of it on a track sing a little differently when recording: they make sure to turn their heads away from the mic every time they take a breath. It makes a lot of difference, trust me. You won’t be able to do it every time, but when you have a long enough musical break between singing, give it a go.

    You’ve also got little puffs and pushes of air on your consonants. Again, everyone does this, so don’t feel bad or like you’re doing anything wrong. You’re not. You can rehearse your voice and watch your LED input. When you do this, you’ll see the input jump on a puff or consonant push. It takes practice, but you can learn to sing the pushed consonants without creating that extra puff of air. Watching the input level when you sing is an immediate correction mechanism, and I’ve used it a lot in the studio.

    A last comment on producing your voice. I hate to say this, cause I hate to do it to my own voice, but cut your bass. Of all the frequencies that can muddy up a vocal, it’s the bass that seems to do the most damage. I cringe when I do it to me, but it clears up the vocal lines immensely. You’ll hear both your vocal performance and your words much clearer.

    Hope I’ve given you some helpful comments. A big thumbs up on your efforts and keep making music!

    • Hi there. I would never delete your comment. It’s such a cliche to say, but I am always looking for ways to improve, so I appreciate you taking the time to write to me and offer feedback. I’ll be sure to hang on to this for future reference.

      • Always happy to help, Charlie. I’ve never felt anyone should ‘hold on’ to their secrets of better recording or problem solving in the studio. Feel free to ask me anything. I’ll pass on whatever I’ve learned.

  2. Hard to hear the audio really, but I still like it. I agree with BP’s comments, as I distinctly remember my broadcasting instructor mention about turning the heads away especially when the words have “S”. Also recorded some plugs for the radio station and definitely noticed these problems.

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