We better go back to the source of the loop for some context — Lauren Hill’s “Ex-Factor” — and holy rabbit holes, did they make it their own! First, they took the sample and pitch-shifted it up a whole step from G♭ to A♭ (thought it sounded kind of chipmunk-esque), then they chopped it up and taped it back together out of order. But what really transforms the music of it is what they didn’t take. So we were right that the singers are singing in A♭ major note logic, but they didn’t sample any A♭ major chords — and how can you have a song in A♭ that doesn’t have any A♭ chords? Also, they didn’t sample any of the bass notes that made some of the singer’s triads into different tetrads.
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The nearly 11-minute version of “Lost Someone” is a high point; Brown demonstrates his ability to ensconce his sexuality in a preacher’s cloak. Throughout this song, it feels like he’s beseeching the audience to believe in a higher power. Judging by the screams of the audience, I’d say he converted all of them. This style of performance would later go on to be emulated by other larger-than-life performers such as Prince or Bruce Springsteen.
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Having to work in such a competitive industry, it is common for musicians to feel unsure of themselves at times. Being so heavily reliant on an audience, they also understandably worry about being judged by them. Many professional vocalists are also just shy of singing in front of people. One such incredible singer was David Bowie. Bowie expressed his shyness in an interview in 2013, shortly after he returned to the stage after a long hiatus. He said:
It’s true that when you’re mixing, your aim is to make the song sound its best. But your primary goal during the mixing stage is to create the right flavor and balance of sound for your song specifically. So it’s almost as if mixing is focused internally on the song and the artist, and mastering is focused externally on the listener and playback format.
Every time you touch a turntable, it makes the record go out of sync. Then you have to be very careful to line it back up again. And I’m not even trying to use the crossfader yet. This is all clearly going to take some serious practice.
The problem is many of us don’t really think that way. My personal musical goal right now is to play piano like Errol Garner. How the heck do you start on that journey? Well, it begins with a process of breaking things down into smaller and smaller steps until you wind up with something that can be realistically accomplished in a practice session (or a few).
This autumn, we’re launching a brand new mentored online course teaching you how to get your home-recorded vocals sounding like the pros, check it out!
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All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran, to help you achieve them.
In 2013, I started listening to a band called Groovanova and wanted to buy their records. I was heartbroken to find out they had none because they didn’t know how to do it, who to work with, or whether their albums would sell. Three years later, Diggers Factory was born, and Groovanova was the first band to produce an EP through our service!
Instead of trying to headline or open a show on a weekend (you’re not likely to get those valuable spots in the calendar until you’ve proven yourself), simply say that you’re a new band eager for live performance opportunities and ask to be considered for future shows. Starting out as the low music project on the totem pole, your emails might get ignored, or you might get asked to open a Tuesday night show opening for an artist you’ve never heard of. Persistence pays off here, but only if your communication is professional and honest.
The great thing about recording to MIDI is that you can always go in and move notes or chords around by hand. So if the quantization makes some parts of your track sound wacky, just highlight whatever notes you want to edit, and drag them forward or backward in time. The same goes for correcting wrong notes — just drag them into the correct position and voila!
Share your musical goals with us and we’ll pair you with a Soundfly Mentor from our team of professional musicians, composers, producers, educators, and music industry veterans to help you achieve them!