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How To Write, Rehearse, Record, and Copyright 3 Songs In Under 72 Hours

October 29, 2013

Okay, so to give you a bit of a backstory on this post:

On Saturday night, I was contacted out of the blue by the owner of a nonprofit organization interested in using my band for an upcoming fundraiser. They loved the sound of our music, however they were hoping we could create 3 original songs in a specific genre. They wanted to use the 3 originals as a fundraiser perk for an upcoming all-night fundraiser they would be conducting. The money was to be donated to a wonderful cause, so my band and I were instantly on board! The only problem is, we had to get the tracks to the organization by the end of this week. Considering we already have a few gigs scheduled for the end of the week, we knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time. I am the lyricist for the band, and my lead guitarist composes the music. So we worked together during the 72 hours to form our 3 originals.

09:30:00 AM:

My work began on Sunday morning as I hopped on the subway to meet with a friend. I sat down, pulled out my notebook, and began writing lyrics. I used my phone to look up specific words and topics for the genre I had to capture in the songs.

13:54:00 PM: 

After I met with my friend, I continued to work on my lyrics. By early afternoon, I was able to send my first lyric draft to my guitarist.

17:18:00 PM:

I continued on with my day, having to run some errands and take care of some e-mails. I soon took a break to grab a cup of tea at a local coffee shop. Again, I took out my notebook and began writing. Four hours after I had sent my first song, I was able to send my second song draft.

18:21:00 PM:

I soon received a phone call from my guitarist that he had been working on the music for the first song I had sent him. He had chords and a melody for it and would be sending it shortly for my review. I stepped outside of the cafe to listen to the track on my phone. It was perfect! One down, two to go!

18:45:00 PM:

After another hour, I was able to send my last song draft!

20:38:00 PM:

I received a track from my guitarist for the 2nd song. Two down, One to go!

23:22:00 PM:

And by the end of the night, my guitarist had sent me a track for the 3rd song! Done!

Monday was mostly spent practicing the songs at home. I smoothed out the lyrics to make sure nothing sounded too wordy. At around 8:30pm, I called my guitarist and asked if he felt comfortable enough to record them the next day. We both agreed that we felt ready and I booked the studio. We already had a rehearsal space booked for noon the next day to run the songs, so we booked the studio for 4:00pm just to give us enough time.

8:30:00 AM: 

The next morning, I woke up feeling terrible. I was very congested and my throat felt sore. I couldn’t believe my luck. I knew we couldn’t cancel the recording session because we’d lose our payment, and we were on a time crunch. So I pulled myself together. I made multiple cups of Throat Coat Tea, drank warm cups of honey & lemon, and tried to take it easy before leaving for the rehearsal studio.

11:55:00 AM:

We met at the rehearsal studio to run the songs. We dove in, tackling any bits that needed to be smoothed out. We lowered the key in all the songs, added a verse to one of the songs, and decided on an alternate ending for 2 out of the 3 songs. After we completed each song, we recorded them on my guitarist’s audio recorder so we could hear them back before recording them professionally. I never realized just how much these recordings would come in handy later.

14:30:00 PM: 

About an hour before we had to leave for the studio, we grabbed some Chinese food and put the songs to rest for the time. I was feeling a bit better, though I still felt my voice sounded nasally.

15:30:00 PM:

We left for the recording studio. We maybe should have left a bit more time to find a parking spot, as we got to the studio right at 4:00 and the setup felt a bit rushed.

18:33:00 PM: 

I had originally hoped to finish the recording in a half hour. Boy was I wrong! I should know by now that by the time you set up, run each song a few times, pick the ones you like best, mix the songs, and have them burned- it takes much longer than you would think! The first song went smoothly. However, I was having a bit of trouble remembering the melody for the beginning of the 2nd song. Luckily, my guitarist had recorded the songs during our rehearsal- so he played the song for me to sing along with before recording, and I was fine. I was beginning to feel super congested by the 3rd song, but I pushed through and we finished all 3 songs. We ended up recording for about 2 1/2 hours. After leaving the studio, we played our newly burned CD in the car on the way home. We were thrilled with the final outcome! It was definitely worth the rush.

That night I sent our material into the Electronic Copyright Office. I then sent an e-mail to the owner of the organization with our tracks. I received an e-mail the next day and they were thrilled with the songs.

So that is how my band and I wrote, rehearsed, recorded, and copyrighted 3 original songs in under 72 hours! It makes me feel good to know I can work well under pressure. If someone would have told me I could accomplish all this in that amount of time, I would have thought they were crazy.

Three tips I learned through this experience are:

  • Be sure to always make a rough recording of the songs you are going to record, especially if you are under a time crunch! It was a lifesaver when I temporarily forgot the melody to the beginning of our 2nd song during the recording session. Having that to reference saved the day!
  • Sooner is always better. I am usually quite a procrastinator, but I really put the pedal to the metal for this project. I am glad we were able to meet the deadline and we didn’t panic.
  • If you are writing lyrics, ALWAYS bring a notebook with you! You never know when inspiration will strike. I found sitting at a coffee shop with a big, comfy cup of hot tea to be the most inspiring atmosphere- but everyone is different.

The Growing Artist Signature

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