Recording, Day Seven

Recording, Day Seven

Posted by: Sarah Saturday
Location: Big Light Studio

Back in the studio to finish tracking. This weekend is all vocals… sigh. I’ve been recording in studios since I was 16 years old (creeping up on 20 years ago, y’all), and every single time it’s been the same thing when I get behind the microphone: all those negative voices come rushing back, telling me that I suck, I don’t know what I’m doing, who do I think I am?, I should just give up altogether on everything in my life.

Yeah… it gets bad.

But this entire recording process has been SO different for me up to this point, in every way. It’s as if this was my first time in a studio. This has a lot to do with the work I’ve been doing on myself these past few years. A lot has changed on the inside, and it’s so exciting to see the results on the outside — especially in situations that mean so much to me, situations that I my inner turmoil may have spilled onto, in the past. The path of self-discovery is never-ending, and full of surprises! It’s like I’m getting to know myself for the first time, through this recording process.

It also has so much to do with Logan, owner/engineer at Big Light Studio. Everyone says such great things about this guy, and now I know why. He just has this extremely grounding, calming effect on everyone, with incredible “bedside manner” when it comes to nudging someone to try a different approach, or encouraging someone when they are getting frustrated.

You can imagine how helpful Logan was today when I started to spiral down into panic mode, after singing through the first song. I warned him that I didn’t know how things would go today with my vocals, and shared my inner battle  with those negative voices (which I know so many vocalists deal with in the studio). He wouldn’t let me get down on myself, and he stayed positive even though my inner eight-year-old was trying to throw a temper tantrum! We got through the first song, and decided to take a break while he put together the best takes.


During this break, I decided to text a few vocalists I know in town, all of whom have beautiful voices and actually put the time and work into them (e.g. taking vocal lessons, practicing daily, and all the things I don’t do because I don’t consider myself to be a singer). All three of them shared with me that they go through the same exact thing in the studio, which was so comforting. I asked them for suggestions about how to battle that voice, and each of them gave me such good advice. What they all had in common was the idea that it doesn’t come down to technique, or breathing correctly, or focusing on hitting the right notes. They all (in different ways) said that it’s about feeling it, being present with the song, and embracing the things about their voice that makes it different. People don’t love a singer because he or she is singing from their diaphragm; people love a singer because of his or her unique voice, and the words they’re singing, and the intention behind the song. I know this is true for me — many of the singers I love have weirdly unique voices, and most of them didn’t start out with any training at all. What a great reminder!

I got off the phone and came back into the studio only to find that Logan had comp’d together a few of my takes into one vocal track that actually sounded awesome! (And to give myself credit: I had been practicing and warming up for a couple weeks leading up to today, including cutting back on dairy and caffeine, drinking extra water, getting lots of sleep, etc.)

From that point on, I changed my attitude and spent the rest of the day focusing simply on staying in the present moment: with the lyrics, with the stories behind the lyrics, with the awesome vibe in Big Light Studio, with the fact that I get to record at Big Light, with the fact that I get to do what I love and express myself and my life experiences through songwriting and recording, with the fact that I get to experience life at all in the first place. Amazing how the same trajectory a negative voice can send me on in a downward spiral, a positive voice can send me on in an upward direction, spiraling all the way out to gratitude on a universal level!

If that made any sense to you, well, then… we should start our own hippie commune.

Goodnight, and for the first time ever, I will say: “I can’t wait to go back and finish recording vocals tomorrow!”

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