Behind the scenes, Part 3: Producing
by Anna Ferraro | October 22, 2018
Here’s Part 3 in this mini-series behind the scenes of Redemption Dawns. This last post gives a glimpse into the production process of this Christmas piano album.
After recording (which is really the fun part!), the album production process becomes very businesslike.
You get to enjoy hours upon hours of phone calls, messages, and emails with sound engineers, graphic designers, distribution companies, duplication managers, sponsors, investors, and more (really, when you’re a musician, most of your life is just straight business, and every once in while you actually get to hang out with your instrument).
With graphic designers, you comb over potential photos for the album cover, stretching your creative juices far and wide as you find the exactly right image for your cover. Is the photo large-scale enough without looking gaudy? What mood will this picture evoke in the first glance? Do the design layers create a richness that’s consistent with the album message?
And then there’s the musical editing. I trust my sound engineer to edit the sound out until it’s clean and right. When he sends me tracks to listen through, I listen to them in every possible position, setting, and location.
Of course, like all good artists, I listen to them carefully through good headphones, making notes as I listen. But then... I turn the tracks on in the kitchen when the vacuum is running... In the car when traffic is moving around me... in the family room when there is a buzz of activity... In the gym when I’m listening through cheap-o earbuds... In the bedroom before I hit the lights. Why? I want to know if the music works in all those environments and more. Once the tracks have checked out through all my random challenges, I do go and give serious and practical suggestions to the sound engineer - and look forward to him delivering back the sound I was hoping for.
And then, when all the files are exported, and the project is declared complete, you head off to your distributor and duplicator.
Here’s where you need lots of coffee, or your favorite form of caffeine, and an awesome internet connection. In this part of the gig, you will be checking all your audio master files, your art files, and for me, double-checking my copy again. You will download and upload a million things to your distributor and check each upload and download a million times... before you click... SUBMIT.
At some point after your final approval, you receive a bone-chilling message: YOUR ALBUM NOW IN FULL PRODUCTION. IT IS TOO LATE TO MAKE ANY CHANGES.
Here’s where you sink back in your chair and think.... actually you don't think. Your mind is pretty. much. blank.
So you wait.
And someday, the album will arrive in your mailbox. It will have your name on it, and maybe your picture somewhere on the cover. You remember the aches and pains of the project a little, but more than anything, your relish the moments of holding a finished work of art.
And for me, when I hold a piece of work like that, I bow my heart in gratefulness to Jesus Christ, my Provider, my Sustainer, and my loving Creator. For whatever good is accomplished in a work day of mine, He deserves the credit.
For today, I’m still waiting for my copy of Redemption Dawns to arrive in the mail. When it does, I’ll be sure to say something like... get your copy here! OR