Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Studio Blog 9 (December 17-19, 2007)

Okay, so again these three days were pretty boring. So I combined them. Plus I haven't had time to sit down and write a blog till now. I'm wasted tired so this will probably be somewhat short, too. Sorry...I promise to expand these at some point...but I think you'll get the point of what happened for the last 3 days.

Sunday night, Sarah and I had Mitch and his fiancee Suzanna over for dinner and a movie...well, we went out to eat and then came to our place to watch a movie. It was tons of fun. But we stayed up late talking life and strategy and stuff, and I got to bed later than I really wanted to.

So, after a not-too-long sleep, I woke up and got ready. Sarah started her job Monday morning, so it was nice to have her up at the same time. We took our shakes and nutritional stuff and she headed off to work. I worked a little more on a songwriting demo for my publishing deal and then took a shower, got dressed and headed off to pick up Ash...then it was to Brown's studio. I was 10 minutes late, and Brown showed up 10 minutes after that...which is funny since it's his house studio...but he was out running errands.

Steve Bishir, the engineer, however was there. I walked into the dead room and found 5 microphones set up. He went into the control room and I immediately started trying out sounds. To make a very long story short...we spent the next 7 hours (minus an hour for lunch) trying to find which microphone would be the best one for me, as well as which effects chain would be the best. I literally sang the first verse of "Running Back" 200 times. We tried 10 different microphones, plus countless effects chain combinations. I was about to go out of my freaking mind. But, hey, Brown is the biggest producer in the Christian music industry and he is known for bringing the best out of vocalist.

Finally, about 6pm we started tracking vocals. We worked for about 3 hours on the vocal for "Running Back" and got everything except for the last chorus. Brown is very old school in the way that he produces vocals. Most producers now-a-days have the singer sing through the song 3-5 times, depending on how well they do. Then the producer in post-production makes the vocals sound pristine and tune them up. Brown will go 2-4 lines at a time and have the singer sing them till they are perfect. He will do a comp, but prefers to get a performance of a whole verse or a whole pre-chorus or chorus for continuity. Everyone warned me I would want to kill him before it was over...and though it didn't get that far, I certainly had to work for every line I got him to "print".

Ash has worked with tons of producers during his time filming Hanson and other bands and he said he'd never seen a producer do what Brown does...get a perfect performance filled with emotion. Hey, these last two days are the best singing I've ever heard myself do, so I believe in the method.

Anyway, I left Browns and went and hung out with Chris Rich and Josh Hoge, which I already wrote about, and got to bed too late once again.

Tuesday, I woke up, got dressed and headed off to work. I got a little bit of extra sleep because we didn't start till 11am Tuesday. So, that was nice. I had let Ash drive my car home Monday night so he picked me up this time and it was off to Brown's.

We jumped right back into "Running Back" and reworked a little of the 2nd pre-chorus and finished the last chorus. Then, we decided to throw a quick comp together of "Running Back" because my label's owner and President were coming in to hang out for the day and hear all the music.

About 1pm, Steve, the president of my label, McQ (Mike McQuarry), the owner of my label, Mitch and Mike Blanton showed up for lunch. Brown had never met my label guys, and wanted to make an impression, so he hired a cook to make an incredible, healthy meal. With my diet, I can eat just about anything I want for my one meal per day...but it's always better to eat healthy, obviously. So, when Brown hired the cook, he made sure she made grilled chicken for me, as well as a full wheat pasta and a salad with low-fat ceaser dressing. Needless to say, the meal was awesome and a good use of 500 calories.

We spent way too long hanging out at the table and talking and jawing and just having a great time fellowshipping then we headed up to get to work.

The Brash guys haven't heard any music yet. When we worked on the deal, they just trusted me to make a great record. Thankfully, I have the right people around me who have made sure that my instincts were right....I mean it doesn't get much better than Blanton Harrel as management and Brown producing. Anyway, they hadn't heard any music yet, so I was apprehensive that they like everything.

We started off with "Running Back" and they loved it. Then, we gave them "Empty Me". Their immediate reaction was incredible. We all discussed and decided that "Empty Me" would, barring some miracle on another song, be the first single. It's the story song about all that is going on.

We listened to the roughs for "Potential", "Pleased" and "Something Beautiful" next. They loved them all...though they did give little pointers here and there. Then we listened to "In a Moment", "Know" and "Cry Tonight". After "Know", we had a somewhat heated discussion (not in a bad way...just with people really passionate about their points of view) about what should be the first single. A couple of guys were thinking maybe we go straight to mainstream radio with "Know". I fought for the side (along with a couple of others) of establishing me as a CCM artist first, then, if it's right, taking songs like "Know" to the mainstream.

We already have a hook up with one of the biggest tv music supervisors for shows that are great about breaking new music, and we have some interest for the use of some songs, so if that works out it'll be great. Also, a song is being considered for a theme song for a major tv series that is established already, so if that works out...well, it'll be huge. So, there are mainstream opportunities being worked on at the label and elsewhere, but we all came to an agreement that the first focus was going to be establishing myself as a Christian artist.

Once we finished listening to rough mixes, I then let them hear the fake string version of "Loaded Gun" letting them hear an idea of where it'll be with real strings.

And the label is officially excited. And that makes me even more exciting.

They left around 4:30pm and it was back to work.

I spent the next 5 hours giving a perfect performance of "Empty Me". Seriously, I can't wait for you guys to hear it. It is honestly the best recorded vocal I have ever done. Brown evoked a performance from me that was, well...it was something I was proud of in the end. I can't wait for you to hear it.

I then headed home.

This morning I had an early morning for my photo shoot. Not much to say about that except we got some cool shots. Full makeup. Full wardrobe (I got to keep $500 worth of clothes, so that was cool). Full lights. Full everything. We did studio shots and location shots. It was tiring. But we got a lot of great shots.

24 comments:

debjinal said...

Chris,

I know you're exhausted, but you know, you can sleep later!I mean even though you say the last couple of days have been boring, still, this has to be the most exciting time of your life. Your life sounds so interesting and full of seriously talented and interesting people, you must pinch yourself sometimes to make sure it's real. As a fan, I am so happy for you.

Did I miss where Sarah is going to work, or is that too personal? Anyway, hope she enjoys whatever she is going to be doing-let's face it, that's so important.

I can't believe you didn't put up a Christmas tree-no time? Well, no matter, you've much to be grateful for this year so I'm sure this Christmas will be very meaningful.

Sending you love from B'ham.

DJ

Cathy Storms said...

I'm tired just reading about your days. As DJ says, you must have to pinch yourself every once in awhile to make sure it's real.
I am so happy for you. You sound like you are having the time of your life.
Thank you so much for taking us on this wonderful journey with you. I can't wait to hear what show you might be doing a soundtrack for.
I also can't wait to hear your new CD and see you on tour.

Carrie said...

Chris,
Regarding what you said in the last post, THANK YOU and Hugs for you. :(:( I'm lucky to have my grandmothers. My other grandpa has Alzheimers. It's scary, so I know what it's like. ALSO I am so glad you're excited for the CD. I can't wait. Maybe someday when I become a famous photographer I can do your photo shoots. I'm thinking something like a Borat-esque bathing suit scene just kidding.

And thank you everyone else, too. I went to the hospital. I cried. Twice. But we also tried to have fun and laugh. My grandpa is SO out of it he told my grandma "All you do is sit around and quilt!" Haha. He's cranky and wanted to go home really bad. He's kinda half out of it asking for his car and wanting to go home. They're working all they can to get him home for Christmas. We're getting a hospital bed and all.

I'm going to go watch Blades of Glory now. I need a laugh and that movie is AWESOME.

Deb in TN said...

Wow, Chris! Long days for you...you're kind of like a new mother with a new baby...no wonder you're tired and things do sometimes seem boring when you are tired...I hope you get caught up on your rest soon...However, this latest post from you was exciting to read and fun.....I feel happy for you that you made major good impression on your Label guys....and this part of the post even made me chuckle out loud:

"he showed up 10 minutes after that...which is funny since it's his house studio..."

omgosh, call me silly, but I found that so funny...also the part about 7 hours deciding on microphones....LOL....I love your little snippets of humor, but then I've told you before that I adore that about you....

I can't wait to hear the music...and your voice again...

Congrats on Sarah starting a new job...I hope it is enjoyable and rewarding to her....

Stay well and get some rest.

Deb in TN said...

Carrie, now that you've had some time to process thoughts, I hope you are feeling a little better...hang in there and focus on the here and now side of things....

And Cathy, in response to your previous post, yes, I can be a rascal sometimes which is probably why Tim and I had such a long engagement...LOL....I'm now going through the tedious and sometimes hair pulling process of getting everything in my well established life switched over from my old name to my married name....I just didn't realize how much there is...whew! Maybe by Spring.....

Badpacifist said...

"Its all happening....."
Miss Penny Lane in Almost Famous

risalea said...

Hey, friends. It's been a long day, but a good one.

I got up pretty early considering I was up till one finishing reports, but of course, I had to wash my jeans I was wearing today, so I didn't get on the road to Memphis until 9:30. It was so foggy half way there, but it finally broke. I got to St. Jude and had a great visit with Amanda, and her mom, Tammy. She found out right after I left that she doesn't have pneumonia, she has influenza B, and they've put her in isolation. At least now, with a more firm diagnosis, they'll get the right meds in her and get it knocked out. She called me when they told her and worried about me getting it, and I'm like no worries! I've been exposed to every illness carried by 4 and 5 yr. olds for 28 years,therefore a flu bug can't scare me. LOL We got a new pic made, which you can see here. She sounded much more like her old self, and has a terrific attitude, even though she's certainly had some rough patches with this whole process. Love you, Amanda!

I got back here about 3:30 and helped my friend, Carol, set up and hostess a party for her college division. We had to deal with a double booked venue, but we worked it out.

Chris, glad you like your present! You know, we're going to appreciate the CD more than most, knowing all the hard work that has gone into it. I hope you at least get a break on Christmas Day!

Carrie, death is a part of life, and I know it's a tough lesson at your age. It's one I had at the age of 27 when we lost my dad, also to cancer (malignant melanoma--yes people do die of skin cancer, so please get yourself checked, people!) While you're never really ready, even though you know the end is coming, you are blessed to have this time with him and give you time to adjust somewhat. I had a sudden, unexpected lost when a friend died in an accident several years ago, and I can tell you, it's a totally different thing.

OK, love to all, and I'm glad tomorrow is my last workday for the next couple of weeks! Risa

Carrie said...

I wish I could have helped out with the present but things were just not good at the time. Anyway, my attempt to watch a movie failed. I'm exhausted and sleeping before midnight for once.

I'm feeling okay right now.

badpacifist,
I LOVE THAT MOVIE!

Anyway thank you again everyone.

Oh and congrats on Sarah's new job. There's so much I wanted to say about this blog but I'm pretty out of it so goodnight all.

ChrisSligh said...

Sarah got a job doing what she did back in Greenville, only with a nice salary this time. Seriously, God is being really good right now.

I just got an official publishing deal from a major publisher and when I tell other songwriters the deal points, their jaw drops. Apparently, the publisher heard something he liked because he has given me complete ownership of my artist songs (called controlled composition, which means I own 95% of the songs that go on my albums) and a co-pub (we co-own publishing, or I own 3/4 of the song) on everything I write outside of that. To put it in perspective, every new writer that I have ever heard of usually gets a full publishing deal, which means they own 50% of everything. Instead of 50% I own 95% of my own stuff and 75% of everything else. It's pretty killer.

Like I said, God is being really good right now.

Chris

Carrie said...

Chris, your song writing ability is amazing. And I'm not saying it as a fan, but as someone who has been pretty picky about music for as long as I can remember. There really is no one better to be writings songs that I can think of other than you. I know some musicians (Mat Kearney etc) who write some pretty good lyrics and I think of you around the level of them. Amazing. Seriously. You deserve this. So congratulations.

risalea said...

I'm really proud for you, Chris. And as a practical matter, performance careers can come and go, but your songwriting talent and the blessings from that can just go on and on.

God is good. It's been a little hard to remember this week with some things that have happened, like the Rose family I wrote about, but just have to remember that He doesn't cause these things, but uses them to His glory and to bring us closer to Him. I see His hand in the work going on at St. Jude. It's amazing just walking through the halls. I saw the cutest little boy, no more than 2 or 3 years old, whizzing around on a tricycle, with a mask on to keep him from being exposed to germs. Just pulls at the heartstrings.

And a song for a series? HMMMM, can you give us a tiny clue...like starting letter? : )

Risa

xangelglitterx said...

MORNING CHRIS AND ALL,
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE HERE AND FAR AWAY!!!
CARRIE: THE JOB I DO HERE IS TAKE CARE OF GRAMPAS LIKE YOURS...END LIFE STAGES...JUST WANTED TO SAY WITH THE PEOPLE I TAKE CARE OF IS FAMILIES AND FRIENDS AS WELL. I LOVE MY JOB BUT AS YOU CAN SEE LIFE BEGINS AGAIN AND IF YOU LOOK AT IT WHEN GRAMPAS TIME COMES THINK OF IT AS A NEW BIRTHDAY FOR HIM... IN GODS LAND...HE IS PROMISED STREETS OF GOLD AND MANSIONS... IT CAN BE A HAPPY TIME AS WELL... NOT AN ENDING FOR HIM BUT A NEW BEGINNING...OF COURSE WE MAY NEVER UNDERSTAND IT BUT BY FAITH WE HAVE BEEN MADE A PROMISE...JUST READ ALOUD FROM YOUR BIBLE EVEN IF ONLY THE LORDS PRAYER COMES OUT HE WILL UNDERSTAND IT AND FAITH WILL BE HIS BRIDGE TO A NEW LIFE...HELP HIM SEE THE LIGHT AND HE WILL FOLLOW. CONTINUE TO TOUCH AND HOLD HIM...THE LAST OF ALL SENSING IS HEARING TO FADE...SO SPEAK TO HIM EVEN IF NO RESPONSE IS SEEN..PRAYERS OF STRENGTH GO OUT TO YOU IN YOUR NAME TO DEAL WITH THE PAIN.GOD WILL SEND A COMFORTER TO YOU.
TO CHRIS,
WITH ALL YOU DO HOW COULD YOU BE BORED? (LOLOL)ON A PREVIOUS POST I AGREE WITH YOU ON THE NO UNDERWEAR, MULTIPLE PARTNERS, CRACK ADDICTED LIFE.ONE QUESTION TO YOU IS: IF NO UNDERWEAR WHERE IS THE CRACK HIDDEN???? OOPS DID I TYPE THAT?
(HA HA HA) PUT ME ON THE TRAIN WITH YOU!!! ONE OTHER THING: KEEP HIM FIRST AND DON'T LOOSE FOCUS AS YOUR LIFE ADJUSTS TO THE NEW LIFE STYLE.
ALL CAN BE LOST WHEN THE FOCUS DRIFTS AWAY FROM HIM..( JUST KEEPING IT REAL) KEEP YOUR NICKERS ON MAN. CONGRATS TO SARAH ON THE NEW JOB!!!!
MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALL...HUGS ALL AROUND....PEACE AND LOVE...........
ONE LOVE................

HstryQT said...

OMG I can't wait to hear what television series your song might be on (I think we all know which one we're hoping for - thanks to the work of Carmen!) You cant leave us hanging for much longer on that one!

It's great you had the opportunity to show Brash all of your music - of course they're excited - they're lucky to have you! :) And it's great to see how much God is working in your life - with your music, song writing deals, Sarah's job. When you're on the right path, God makes sure you know it, doesn't He? Gotta love it!

Off to my ten days of traveling insanity. (Thanks to all for your concern! Luckily the weather looks like it'll be in our favor for the first chunk of traveling. And I'm mentally preparing myself to just take it one day at a time and enjoy myself, so all should be well :). I'll try to check in when I have a computer on hand!

Lori

debjinal said...

Chris,

Congrats on the publishing deal-sounds fabulous. I'm with Risa on what this can mean for the longevity of your career. You have so much to look forward to.

DJ

Tom in ATL said...

Hey Dude -

Merry Christmas - and I'm glad you like the poster. Rosalee put it all together - so hats off to her.

Sometimes I wonder if you really know just how good your songs are. Carrie said it very well and as someone who listens to a wide variety of music - I couldn't agree more with her assessment. I really feel like we are getting an inside look at the production of a truly big hit record - there are just too many great songs for this thing not to blow up big with CCM and Mainstream. Your record label guys sound like they are figuring out they have got a major talent on their hand. Hey if they'd just have asked me - I could have told them that along time ago!

Congrats on the kudos - and rest assured - there will be alot more coming when this thing gets out to the public.

Peace -

Tom in ATL

rosalee said...

Boy, would I have loved to have heard that "heated discussion" about what that first single should be!

Weren’t the Brash people already familiar with your songs from the HPF album? If not, they should have done their homework before you all met.

And congratulations on that great publishing deal!

BTW, did you receive the Christmas card that was sent separately?

Cathy Storms said...

Chris~Congrat's on the publishing deal. Does this mean a book will be coming out soon? Or is it just for your song writing?

John Noble said...

Have you started to make tour plans yet?

ChrisSligh said...

I have...I'll be doing an acoustic/radio tour in Feb-April and a headlining tour with full band April-June. We're filling up dates right now.

Chris

risalea said...

You're up early! Can't wait to see how close you are getting to the Little Rock area on the tour.

And please pray for a friend from high school's husband, Jim Bishop. I just found out last night he was in a motorcycle wreck on Sunday and is paralyzed from the chest down. Swelling is causing the paralysis, and the doctor says that the longer it continues, the less chance of recovery of movement. So please pray for that swelling to go down.

It seems like when it rains, it pours this week.

debjinal said...

Chris,

How soon do you think it will be before we can see a schedule?

DJ

Carrie said...

Somewhere near Buffalo NY better be on that schedule!!! :D

rosalee said...

Carrie -
If you live around Buffalo, if you get a chance, check out my cousin's store:

http://www.buffalohemp.com/

They have a very interesting store
that carries a wide range of products, all made from HEMP.(clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, food, etc.)

Brad said...

Just curious... Who is shooting your album/promo stuff?

Can't wait to hear what you're working on!

Brad