I am recording an album of original songs. It has been a long time coming but, having finally run out of excuses and locked my demons in a box labelled “The Past”, I am on the case.
I am very grateful to my Life Coach – Jo Van Osch – for helping me to realise that it was the project I wanted to pursue. (More recently, Jo has helped me to kick-start a much bigger project, but more of that at a later date.)
I am working with Jonny Amos at The Song Lab, based in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. Jonny is producing the tracks and mentoring me in songwriting and production. The process is a lot of fun and I am learning a great deal – always part of the plan.
Despite misgivings about my vocal abilities, Jonny has persuaded me to sing the songs myself. Recording the vocal tracks has been by far the most taxing process, and I still find it difficult to listen to my own voice. However…
I have nine songs out of ten somewhere on the production line, but the final song is eluding me. For now.
The title of the album is Work In Progress. For years, it felt like most of my creative output fell into one of two extremes of quality – very bad, in which case I would trash it, or nearly great but requiring endless tweaks. I had so little “finished” work that I started doubting my own abilities. A couple of years ago, I had an epiphany (probably something I ate, or read in a self-help book). I realised that creative work, even that in the public domain, is and remains “work in progress”. A recorded song is just one version at a particular point in time. Bad songs can be improved upon, or scavenged – a verse here, a snippet of melody there. Good songs can be set free into the world, recorded or played live, and further improved at a later date. Once I grasped this concept, I was able to radically increase my throughput. I’m still not what you’d call prolific, but the ideas do keep coming.
So, the deadline for having the album finished and out as a CD and download is August 5. I’d better get on and write that last song…