Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Next record

So the last few weeks have been vital and incredible for finally honing in on a vibe/direction for the next album.

A few months ago, I wrote for the first time with Don Chaffer, who is the lead singer of a band called Waterdeep. Waterdeep is highly considered within the industry as being one of the most artful bands in the business and Don is well known for his production and songwriting skills, especially within his own band's music (his wife is the other lead singer in Waterdeep).

We talked to several producers about co-producing with me, including my friend Adam Smith (who is an incredible songwriter/producer/mixer - he's mixing the Rough Draft stuff right now). We talked about Brown producing part of it as well as several other respected guys in the industry.

My goal for this record is to establish that I'm more than just that chubby guy from American Idol. My goal is to establish that Chris Sligh is an artist, not just a singer. I really want to establish that my songwriting is as or more important than my singing. That my production head space is as vital to my career as my voice is.

Running Back to You was the best album I could make at the time.  It was full of songs we felt were the best ones I had written.  Working with Brown Bannister was one of the greatest experiences someone in the music business could ever have.  And honestly, I still feel that it is and was an incredible debut record.   Not a lot of people get to make a record like mine their first time out...so I was blessed.

This time around, though, the gauntlet is thrown.  It is time to make an album that can live up to anything I've ever dreamed of making or being a part of.

So many people aspire to make good records.  I'm trying, with this album, to make the greatest album ever.  Obviously, the odds are against me meeting my goal.  However, as artists, I think we should aim for the stars.  I want for my record to be something that U2 or Coldplay or {insert an artist} would be proud to have made.  That's my goal.  

So, this week we took another step towards trying to meet my goal.  We went into the studio and jammed to write songs.   The guys in my band aren't necessarily "songwriters" in the sense that they don't do a lot of sitting down and just songwriting.  But they are some of the most creative people I know...plus Don Chaffer was there and he brings to the table both creativity from the point of pop sensibilities plus off the wall crazy creativity, too.

The thing that was cool about the writing session on Monday & Tuesday was that if I sit at home and just write from an acoustic guitar, I really am only able to bring a certain thing to the table.  I can try and come close to writing something rocking, but ultimately it needs the band to fill it out.  What we did in the studio was jam and put together songs with ideas that I never could've come up with on my own, or even with just me and Don in my studio writing.  5 heads come up with cooler and different stuff than 2 heads.

The stuff we wrote in the studio exceeded my expectations by a thousand miles.  We wrote upbeat rocking stuff.  We wrote rocking weird stuff (if you know music this will make sense - one song, we wrote the chorus in 7/4 time).  We wrote emotional piano ballad stuff along the lines of some Coldplay stuff.  We wrote some really cool down ballad-y stuff...I mean in 8 songs we wrote exactly what my album needed.

Now over the next few weeks, I'll be spending time writing lyrics and melodies over the musical pieces we wrote. And I'm pumped about it...I feel like these musical pieces give me the opportunities to write some really different stuff than I've ever written.

So...less about those songs specifically and more to the general album...

It looks like there will be 14 songs on the record.  We are breaking the album up into 2 sections.  The first 4 songs will be "THE SINGLES"; the next 10 songs will be "THE ALBUM".  And the credits will be delineated in that way.  

Someone asked if this album will be more like RBTY or TACOSB.   I guess a little of both and a little of neither. The singles are going to be mixed like singles and will sound like radio...perhaps even more than RBTY.   The album, however, is going to be very artistic.  Think a U2 or Coldplay record from a sonic standpoint.  

From a song standpoint, the singles will be straight down the middle CCM.  They are already written and ready to go.  In fact, I'll go ahead and give you the titles:

1.  I Am
2.  To the World
3.  I'm Ready
4.  You Are

The last 10 songs will be chosen from about 25 so far...maybe more depending on what I write between now and then.  There are a few that I'm pretty sure will be there, but you never know.  

My point of this post is that I'm pumped about the new album.  I'm pumped for you guys to hear, though it'll probably be next March or April or something like that.  But I'm pumped about this record!

38 comments:

Badpacifist said...

I am excited to see the evolution of the Slighman. BTW got the gospel music channel e-mail today and your making of the "Arise" video is prominently placed.

risalea said...

It's impossible not to be excited about your project when reading how pumped you are! And to see "I'm Ready" on your list of singles is awesome...one of my favorites. Whenever I hear this one, I always think of Amanda and the joy she must be experiencing in Heaven.

heehee...I am so glad GMC sent out that link. Made me laugh all over again, should reach lots more folks and stir up some more interest in "Arise."

Besides satisfying your personal musical goals, songwriting is going to be your bread and butter for the future. Smart guy.

Don't stop singing anytime too soon, though! You don't want to take away the girls' excuse for a road trip. I figure we're good for at least 20 more years of concerts. : )

DJ in AL said...

Dude a year is a long time to make us wait for another album! On the other hand the last one was worth the wait.

Ditto what Risa said, don't stop giving us excuses for road trips, it would ruin my quality of life!

Loved the post, it's always cool to get inside your head a bit, at times scary, but always entertaining:)


Sending you love as always from your biggest fan in AL-DJ

HstryQT said...

"I'M READY!!!!" *Squeal*

So excited! Especially that it's going to be a single! Yay yay yay!!!

OK, now that that's out of my system.

I love the way you're framing the album into Singles & The Album; I think that really gives you more creative leeway and you won't feel tied to trying to do what radio wants you to do, per se. And only in that freedom can you create your perfect album, like you're aiming to do. And you'll succeed! Can't wait! It's always so fun to go along with you on these journeys. Thank you for including us!

Will we get to hear the demos for this album as they come about, like we did for RBTY? That was so fun!

Sounds amazing Chris!

Lori

Cathy Storms said...

I am so excited!! What an amazing journey you have been on and thank you for taking us with you.
Do we really have to March of next year for a new cd. Although I still listen to Running Back To You almost daily and still love it. I think you have already established that you are an artist and an amazing songwriter and so much more than that guy who was on idol..
Ditto about the road trips....I save all my change just for road trips to see you....

HstryQT said...

Norm just pointed out to me that American Idol is promoting Chris on their site (www.americanidol.com) with a blurb about voting for Chris for the Dove Awards. That's really cool of them!

http://www.americanidol.com/news/view /pid/1580

(take out space after "view")

Carmen said...

It is great to see you so enthusiastic about working on your new album. Like the rest of the gang, I was glad to see "I'm Ready" on the list of singles. One of my favorite songs. I like your idea of breaking the CD into 2 sections with singles & "the album". Very novel indeed.


Chris said:
"Someone asked if this album will be more like RBTY or TACOSB. I guess a little of both and a little of neither."
I like that the new CD is going to have elements of both albums and yet different too. I have always loved the raw, edginess of TACOSB and yet I still enjoyed the more polished, pop feel of RBTY.
When I read "The album, however, is going to be very artistic. Think a U2 or Coldplay record from a sonic standpoint."---- that got me really pumped! A year is going to seem like forever.

I love your voice but I have always felt you are an awesome writer/producer. Your Christmas EP really affirmed that for me. But, like the girls said, no matter how successful you become in the writing/ producing end of music, please never totally stop singing. I need my road trips!

Keep us posted on the album. It is so interesting to see your whole thought process as it developes.

Good luck with the Dove awards. I am anxiously awaiting my next road trip with my fellow blogger girls!

Carmen

HstryQT said...

Sorry for having such a high comment ratio this time, but I just heard an ad for the Sligh concert at Kingsway in my town on our KLOVE station and I just couldn't contain myself I was so excited.

It's cool enough to hear blurbs about Chris on KLOVE, but to be reminded again of the concert by another ad was just really cool. Oh and ironically when I heard it I was on my way to the Christian bookstore to get my show tickets.

Got a flat tire in the parking lot on my way home and Teddy & I had to be rescued by our friends; but that's ok. Just added to the adventurous trip out!

2 more weeks til Chris is in Avon, IN! Yay!!

Cathy Storms said...

Just saw the video for "Here Comes Goodbye" from Rascal Flatts on myspace. Wow!!!Nothing like I expected. If you watch it, grab the hanky...It's a tear jerker!!!!

risalea said...

Oh my gosh, what a different spin on that song.

Carmen said...

Risa,
That is exactly what I thought. Definitely not what I expected. I do like it though, it just gives a whole new meaning to the song. One that I don't think most people would of thought of.

risalea said...

I can't decide if I like it or not. It doesn't go with the lyrics IMHO. I mean, the song talks about her going down the aisle, and she apparently had this child already, and while I know that is totally possible (LOL), then I have to think too hard about the back story. I'm sure they wanted to surprise folks and give them something to talk about it and they have.

DJ in AL said...

Yea, I'm not loving it. The song is AMAZING, nothing to talk about. IMHO Chris does it better, I love RF and yes I'm prejudiced. I know everything is open to interpretation but I just don't like this slant.

DJ in AL said...

Lori,

I was wondering if you daily schedule had changed or something, we never see you this much around here.

HstryQT said...

DJ - I comment when I have things to comment on :). Was quite saddened by my lack of Sligh-related events in my schedule (re: Risa's show, Dove Awards, Fro Patro picnic). Easy to feel left out when I was so involved last year. Things always have a way of working out though!

DJ in AL said...

Lori,

Quite true, things do have a way of working out. I like to think people get what they deserve.

Here's hoping you continue to find things to comment on:)

Badpacifist said...

I also saw the "Here comes goodbye" video. Now I was really touched by it. As a father and grandfather I have hope that family, even family unknown to you, goes on after this life. What is a prayer if not a hope that is beyond time and space? Granted that anything dealing with a child's death is almost unbearable. We pray that all those we love never have to walk alone. After all as the "Pater familias" my obligation is to care about those who I love, blood relations or not.
I like the ides that there is no more goodbyes, no need for them....you will see them again. Isn't that what we all secretly hope for?

chamilton said...

I just saw the video for the song... I am not diggin' it. I understand the more weepy girls the better for RF but I have to agree with my Blogger Girls, It doesn't match the lyrics and as many of you know, the last thing I wanna deal with is the death of a child or anybody. Even my husband was like "Is that what that song is about" So maybe the video will grow on me. It is still a great song. I hope that Broken will make it to disc on day but I am excited too about some new Sligh music. Take care all.

Candy

DJ in AL said...

Badpacifist,

I totally agree with the sentiment of your post. I actually don't have a problem with the video itself, I just don't like their interpretation of the lyrics. I'd be really interested to know what Chris thinks though this probably wouldn't be the wisest forum to express it.

risalea said...

Candy, hey girl...where ya' been?

The blogger girls are up and at 'em early this morning!

rosalee said...

I thought it was a very well made video. Harping on death is not my thing, but it makes for more drama. It leaves more of an impression than if it was just a song about lost love, which is a very common topic. The video is a tear-jerker and will be a big hit. And as Risa said, it gives people something to talk about.

RC said...

How exciting, I'm sure ti was fun to write with Don...he's done some great stuff...my wife has been a long time Waterdeep fan.

That's exciting about the new album.

Cathy Storms said...

The video reminded me of a follow up to the "What Hurts The Most" video. They looked like the same people.
As sad as it is and it really wasn't anyone expected it will be a really big hit...

Candy, how ya been girlfriend? Haven't heard from you in forever....

Chris~any chance "Faith Begins" will be on your new album?

Anonymous said...

Hello Chris & All,
Just watched the video for the first time.
They might want to rethink that !
Took a great break up song and morphed it into some drama that seems not only unrelated to but a big stretch for those lyrics. Too bad.
Still love the song, will just make my own visuals in my head when I hear it. :)

Shalom

rosalee said...

Hi Shalom!

Yes - it is a big stretch for those lyrics, but the unexpected interpretation gives one pause to think about it more. The monochromatic effect of the video accentuates the dreary atmosphere. The death of a close family member is a topic that resonates with people, as shown by Randy(Badpacifist), and so will be memorable.

risalea said...

As insiders : ), I think we know too much about what Chris and Clint were thinking about when they wrote the song. Lots of good comments over on youtube, so obviously, the storyline that RF went with is striking a chord. (I have to agree with you, Shalom...it's just hard to make all parts of that song fit the video....some work for me, but not all). But hey, if it sells more albums and downloads, I say, hooray!

Cathy Storms said...

Yep Risa I agree...No bad comments from any Rascal Flatt fans. They love the song. And I guess if you hadn't heard it or already know what it's about it fits sort of..And as you say if it will sell more downloads and cd then all I can say is YEAH!!!

gdahimself said...

Rascal Flatts fans, there was one early comment on YouTube which was basicly they took Chris' song and made it better just by them singing it.
Giving life to that endearing term bandied around at another site, fantard.

gdahimself said...

I've not found the actaul video clip yet, just the promo slideshow.

I did discover that there is a Wikipedia page for the song:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_Comes_Goodbye

risalea said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPXBiyRYsdI

Here's a link, GDA.

risalea said...

Back to the subject of this blog--Chris's next album. I am so glad, Chris, that you are so industry savvy. It makes so much sense to have commercially viable "radio songs" with your more artistic efforts. When folks seek out your album, based on a radio tune they will hear, they'll get exposed to these other great creations that aren't as radio friendly. Of course, "Broken Beautiful" comes to mind. I hope all of you have had a chance to hear this in concert...if not, check out youtube. I hope we'll find it on this album.

AND BTW, have you voted today?
www.gospelmusicchannel.com/dovesvoting

And remember, you can text, too!
Text DOVE CSLIGH to 72648.

Have a great day out there!

Cathy Storms said...

Risa~I so agree with you about Chris's new CD.

Chris your music touches so many people in so many ways.
Broken Beautiful is a beautiful song. I'm hopeing for Faith Begins. This song helped me through some pretty rough times the last few months. When I got to a point that I didn't think I could go any further, I would play "Faith Begins" and all of a sudden I knew I could continue.
RBTY became a constant during radiation. The techs played it all the time and it touched many patients. It always made me smile to hear it coming out of the treatment room cranked up pretty loud...

I am sure that the new CD will touch people the same way. I can't wait to hear it..

And as Risa says, "Go Vote"....

gdahimself said...

Risa,

Thank you.

chamilton said...

Since I can't sleep for some reason. I have to tell you that Broken Beautiful is a song that helps me get through the day somedays. The line about there being beauty in the broken has really touched my heart and on somedays I have to be reminded that the goal is to find beauty in what has been broken. I spent most of my day today at court waiting to see if there would be a hearing for a man who killed his child and as bad as that was I remembered that in the same courtroom a week ago there was the most beautiful baby girl that was given to the most wonderful couple and they are now her mommy and daddy.
That is beauty in the broken
so I hope that some day that song makes it on a CD. Take care everybody and I am going to try the sleep thing again.

Candy

risalea said...

(((Candy))) It takes a special person to do the job you do. And just reading what you wrote...I can imagine that hearing how a song has touched someone is what makes it all worthwhile to a songwriter/performer. Kind of like teaching, when a former 5 yr. old student comes up to you as an adult and thanks you for his/her experience in your classroom, or like you, Candy, when you see that child placed in a good home. Makes it all worthwhile. Enough philosophizing...got to get to work. Have a great day, Chris and friends.

DJ in AL said...

Candy,

Thank God for people like you. Where would the world be if there weren't people who truly cared about their fellow man in jobs like yours? I can't imagine.

Wishing you sweet dreams tonight my friend!

Cathy Storms said...

Candy~you are an amazing women. Thank god there are people like you who do what you do...I've been missing you girlfriend....

Ok..It's Kelly Clarkson day...Go buy her CD...

Bully said...

Don't buy into the Sophmore Album pressure and worry. If you use the time as a journey to discover all your hidden talents, and stretch your soul to grow? It will be amazing.:-)

From what you described here(deliciously, I might add)I think it's going to be terrific! Can't wait to hear it.