A (Kind Of) New Album

Dear Reader,

Shorter Version: I’ll start this by saying that I apparently don’t know how to write short blog posts, so for those who are rushed for time and/or not in the mood to read my ramblings, the point of this post is to say that I am temporarily taking down my debut album “Dreams” and going into the studio to rework/remix/remaster the album. While the songs and recordings themselves will be the same as before, I found a few months ago that I wasn’t totally satisfied with some of the mixing and other minor (but important) details. The newer version should hopefully be easier to hear and closer to what I was originally intending. I’ll be updating this blog with new information as the album gets closer to being finished and (re) released.

Longer Version: As I write this, the 2015 version of my debut album “Dreams” is slowly being removed from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, and every other online music platform that it used to be on. In its place, I hope to soon release an LP that is the same album, and yet (hopefully) a different, better album.

Let me explain. Dreams, the 2015 version, was the first full music project I ever released. Three years prior to its release, I knew absolutely nothing about music, other than that I liked it. I had been writing since childhood in various formats, but I had never attempted to write a set of lyrics, or compose a riff or melody on a keyboard, much less try to connect the two and write a complete song. During the next three years, I tried to learn everything I could about music and wrote somewhere between 20 and 25 songs. Some of those songs were absolutely horrible. So horrible, in fact, that I’ve completely erased them from my memory and couldn’t even tell you what the opening lines were, because I’ve blocked them from my memory. Because I was coming from the world of fiction writing, most of the early songs were about people and places that I had never fully experienced myself. The songs were well meaning at best, but sounded completely fake—because they were.

Move forward to early 2014. I was still in college and was getting on the bus after a class, feeling very certain that I had just failed an important Shakespeare exam (and, in hindsight, I was right). I was looking out the window (window seats are always the best) when something in my body felt like it was exploding. Memories, feelings, people that I hadn’t thought of in years shot through my mind at an alarming rate. I became unaware of the present and, in an effort to make sense of everything rushing through my brain, I grabbed a pen and the back of my study notes and began writing. There was no melody, no structure, no great meaning or point that I was trying to get across. I just needed to write. From that came a song called “Between My Days.” I had no idea if it was good or bad, only that it was more honest than anything I had ever written up to that point. Over the next 18 months, I drew from that personal space to create the other 9 songs on my album. I stood behind those songs. I still stand behind those songs.

The problem, if you want to use that word, came with recording. Because I am frugal (or cheap, if you want to be honest), I first tried recording everything at home and made three separate, complete versions of the album. All of those were unsuccessful, mostly due to faulty equipment and my total lack of technical skills/understanding. The final version, and the version which appeared in 2015, was recorded, mixed, and mastered in a marathon 8-hour session during the final booked date at a local recording studio.

Despite the rushed nature of the recording, I felt satisfied (well, as satisfied as I can ever feel about anything I make) about what was created. However, the two big things I was overlooking were (a) I hate the sound of my own voice and will take any opportunity to hide it (why I am a singer is something I cannot explain) and (b) because I wrote all of the songs and knew the lyrics by heart, I had a perspective that listeners hearing the songs for the first time did not. And when the album came out, I began hearing the same comments: mainly, that the instrumentals were too loud and the lyrics were too hard to decipher. After gaining some perspective, I realized they were right. And, when you have an album that is mainly lyrics and piano, not being able to hear one of the two major components is a big deal.

And so, the point of this very long blog post is to say that I am going back into the studio to remix the album. In many ways, it will be a very similar album. Other than a few changes to the instrumentals, it will be the same recordings, the same track list, and the same vibe. I am not trying to make a new album, just adjust what was already made to give you the version that I really want you to hear.

I can’t give a definite timeline for when everything will be ready, but I am going into the studio next week to start the process. Keep checking back on this blog, as I will be sending more updates as things progress.

Until next time.

Sincerely,

Charlie

 

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