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Featured Songwriters

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Featured Artist: Kati O’Toole

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

gravelroad2For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Kati O’Toole. I’ve been the Head of Production at StudioPros for 7 years and counting. Like you, I love the process of writing lyrics, melodies, songs, recording music and releasing it. I’m an independent artist, singer/songwriter as well as a producer for StudioPros.

When I first started working at StudioPros, I wasn’t aware of online recording and how easy it was to collaborate online. Like you, I was skeptical of the process. Being someone that is always wanting to be 100% involved in the production of my own projects, I wasn’t even sure if I would like the process of recording online. After years of writing/recording/releasing material- I can say, I thoroughly enjoy the process!

7 years ago, Elad Fish, the owner of StudioPros made a bet with me. He said that I would one day stop recording albums at physical studios, and would one day convert to online recording. I didn’t believe him at the time, but now I hate to admit- he was right. Don’t you hate when your boss is right?

Life is busy. I’m a wife, a mother of a soon-to-be 11 month old and have a full time job (here of course, which I love). Getting into a studio to devote time to recording my projects is hard. I can say through personal experience, that collaborating online with StudioPros is a great outlet for recording your material.

I wanted to share with you my latest single, Gravel Road, produced by myself in collaboration with the StudioPros production team.

Check out Gravel Road:

The step by step recording process.

Going through the step by step production process was exciting for me. I started by recording myself playing piano and singing scratch vocals at a local studio. I had an engineer help me professionally track grand piano so I could get a good sound.  It was important to me to be playing the piano, since that’s my instrument. I was sure to record my piano using a click track so that the future musicians would be able to layer their instruments to my recording. We were able to build off of my “sketch” foundation of grand piano and scratch vocals. If you aren’t used to recording to a click track, I highly recommend you let us take care of the sketch step for you as part of the production process.

Once my piano was tracked, the production team built off that foundation with: drum programming, live electric bass and a beautiful string arrangement with live layers of custom cello. After the production of the instruments, I was able to re-track my final vocals and add experimental layers of backing vocals and lead vocal doubles to fill up the recording and especially build up the chorus. After that was complete, we moved it to the final mixing/mastering where we put the finishing touches on the recording.

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Featured Artist: Tim Tye

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

TimTyeI first met this month’s featured artist, Tim Tye, in early September of this year. Tim is a lawyer from Dayton, Ohio, in his day to day life, and a songwriter in his free time. He called inquiring about StudioPros and exactly what it is we’re all about. Tim was very skeptical from the start because he had been working on this particular song, Dark Stretch of Road, for several years, but I was eventually able to ease his mind.

Having produced several versions of the song at his local studio, using a diverse mix of very talented musicians, he was frustrated that he wasn’t able to achieve the sound, atmosphere, and feel he was after. After a few conversations and trying to understand EXACTLY what it was he was looking for, I was able to help him develop and produce the song in the style he had intended. At long last, his song was finally realized. That makes me very happy.

We used Johnny Cash’s cover version of “Hurt” as a reference and went for the quiet and stripped down intensity that the song deserved, while still keeping the classic country elements to it. Being a Johnny Cash fan myself, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing each step of the production process unfold. We chose an instrumentation of acoustic guitars, upright bass, beautifully laid out dobro lead, dark and simply stated grand piano, mellotron and classic country vocals by Chris. I’m very proud of how the song turned out in the end.

Check out Dark Stretch of Road:

How did you first get involved with StudioPros.com?

I’ve been working on a CD for about two years. I’ve used a local studio and local musicians. But there was one song that I wasn’t satisfied with. So I looked for another approach and I found StudioPros.

How was the StudioPros process for you? Was it difficult to work online? 

Working online couldn’t have been easier. Within hours of submitting my scratch demo, Kati O’Toole called me and got the process started. She spent a lot of time getting to understand the mood and feel that I was trying to achieve. Obviously it worked, because the end result was exactly what I heard in my head.

How did we help to get your songs sounding professional? 

You took the time to understand what I wanted. The musicians clearly had the experience and talent to listen to my demo and read the notes Kati had made and bring my song to life.

How many songs have you produced with StudioPros? 

One, but there will be more.

Who are some of your favorite songwriters and musical influences? 

I’m a product of the Dylan—Byrds—Tom Petty school. I love early rock n’ roll. I love genuine country music—Hank, Sr., Johnny Cash, George Jones.

When did you begin songwriting? What instruments do you write with? 

I began in high school. I write exclusively on the guitar.

What was the inspiration and writing process like for “Dark Stretch of Road”?

I had been working on a song for about ten years, which I have since finished. It’s about a truck driver who is killed in a wreck and is destined to drive across the United States for eternity. It’s actually an upbeat, rockabilly song. While I was messing with that, I got the idea to write about a lost trucker as a metaphor for hopelessness. I came up with the title first, which is unusual. Then I came up with the first line: It wasn’t raining when I left St. Paul. I substituted “snow” for “rain,” because it sounded even more dismal. After that, the song wrote itself.

Besides music, what else do you enjoy?

I like riding a bicycle. I constantly get song ideas when I’m out in the country.

*(ironically enough, our last Featured Artist Bill Simon wrote “Where The Wild Horses Go” on his bicycle. I guess we should all get to riding…)

What’s next for your recording?

The song is the title track from the album “Dark Stretch of Road,” by Tim’s band, Midnight Sky, to be released soon on Salinas Records.

Get Your Songs Produced by StudioPros

If you are interested in getting your songs produced professionally, don’t hesitate to contact producers Kati O’Toole or Robb Hutzal.

Read more about StudioPros Music Production here: http://studiopros.com/music-production.php

If you’d like to discuss getting a project started, call: 1-310-928-7776. We look forward to working with you soon!

Featured Video: Where The Wild Horses Go

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

bills

Bill Simon, a prolific songwriter that I have been working with for over 2 years and counting, has just finished up a video with our new video editors here at StudioPros!

Having produced over 40 songs with our music production team, Bill gave our video services a shot on his recent song “Where The Wild Horses Go”. This song ranks as one of the top 3 out of the songs we’ve worked on together as I love the acoustic instrumentation in the production. Our video team chose an array of after effects and animation to support the music along with the lyrics for his video.

Check out “Where The Wild Horses Go”:

“I got the idea for this song when I was riding my bike on Hwy 131 in Colorado and passed a place called Horse Mountain Ranch. It’s about people who are afraid to let someone get too close to them even when they realize that it is what they probably want but find it is just easier to retreat to a place that is safe and doesn’t have the risk of opening yourself up. The song is about a guy who tries to change a girls mind and convince her that being alone may not be what she is looking for.”

Get Your Songs and Videos Produced by StudioPros

If you are interested in getting your songs or music videos produced professionally, don’t hesitate to contact producers Kati O’Toole or Robb Hutzal.

Read more about StudioPros Music Production here: http://studiopros.com/music-production.php

Read more about StudioPros Video Services here: http://studiopros.com/video-production.php

If you’d like to discuss getting a project started, call: 1-310-928-7776. We look forward to working with you soon!

Featured Artist: Screaming Culture

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Screaming Culture1Ricardo Monteiro is the voice and songwriter behind the solo project “Screaming Culture”.  Based out of London, we have recently collaborated online with Screaming Culture to finish the latest single “Numb”.

Blending the combination of live drums, alternative/rock guitars, ambient layers of keys, drum programming and bass, this song unfolds as the perfect support to his emotive vocals. The production captures the essence of the pain involved in the story being told of anxiety and the dissociative disorder.

Not only have we recently completed the music production for Screaming Culture, but we have teamed up with our video editors to finalize the music video for the single. We are very proud to introduce our new video services here at Studio Pros to add another outlet to help independent artists such as Screaming Culture get their music out to an audience.

Check out Screaming Culture’s new single “Numb”:

How did you first get involved with StudioPros.com?

I’ve found about StudioPros a few years back when I was searching for session musicians online.

How was the StudioPros process for you? Was it difficult to work online?

It was actually very easy to work online. You get a preview in approximately 48 hours which is great, and the results are amazing.

How did we help to get your songs sounding professional?

StudioPros was a great help to take my songs to another level. The recordings sound clear and the session players are incredibly skilled. The producers know what to say, when to say it and give you very wise advice.

How many songs have you produced with StudioPros?

I’ve produced 2 full songs with StudioPros recently. I’ve used their services in the past but usually for single instrument tracks. I am definitely going to work with them in a very near future.
“Numb” will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon mp3

Who are some of your favorite songwriters and musical influences?

The band that most influenced me as a musician was Nirvana. I remember being young and listening to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time. That song made me want to learn how to play guitar. Today it’s not really something I listen to but I still think they were brilliant,

I’ve started learning guitar when I was 13 and in no time I was composing my own songs. I joined my first band when I was 15 and played with several other bands after. In 2009, I created my solo project Screaming Culture and since then I’ve been composing all of my music on my own. The instruments I use the most are the guitar and bass.  I also use Pro Tools and Reason a lot, which for me are as important as the instruments in my creation process.

What was the inspiration and writing process like for “Numb”?

screaming-culture-numb-cover2Numb is quite a personal song. It is about anxiety and dissociative disorder. Sometimes people feel detached from the world, unreal, numb, but it’s all in your head, that’s what “Numb is about”. The inspiration for this song was my own experience. The writing process was actually very simple and happened very naturally. I remember being in my home studio and I thought to myself, it’s all in your head, you just have to let it go. So I picked up my guitar and started playing…

For me music is a way to escape from stress, problems, frustrations, etc…music is powerful, for me it is a therapy. Sometimes I get inspired by movies or books and obviously by other musicians.

What do you do for a living?

I am a sound engineer and I also work at a Tattoo Shop in London, United Kingdom.

What is your plan for your final recordings?

I will be releasing the single Sept. 5th as an independent artist. It will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon mp3 and many others for listening or purchase.

To find our more about Screaming Culture: https://www.facebook.com/screamingculture

Get your songs produced by StudioPros

If you are interested in getting your songs produced professionally, don’t hesitate to contact producers Kati O’Toole or Robb Hutzal.

Read more about StudioPros Music Production here: http://studiopros.com/music-production.php

Read more about StudioPros Video Services here: http://studiopros.com/video-production.php

If you’d like to discuss getting a project started, call: 1-310-928-7776. We look forward to working with you soon!

Featured Artist: Sandy Frazier

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Sandy Frazier is a talented New York City based singer-songwriter. I have had the pleasure of helping Sandy produce 3 songs to date and we are in the works of putting together a full album of material so she can release a 10 song project. Not only is Sandy a talented songwriter, she also is a professional artist/painter, author with published works, as well as being a very well known publicist specializing in talk radio. She is one busy creative woman.

For the featured song, “A Very Private Person”, Sandy and I talked about her concerns of taking this traditional blues song with her scratch demo of guitar and vocals and having it be dated in production. She didn’t want just a basic blues production that would be reminiscent of the 70′s or days gone by. Together, we chose some recent reference artists including “The Black Keys” and some of Sandy’s favorites, “The Sounds” to help our music production team understand the vision we were going for. By adding the perfect combination of live drums, electric bass, some more edgy organ tracks, keyboard riffs, acoustic rhythm guitars, distorted electric guitars, a solo section to really let the guitarist shine and the perfect combination of soulful backing vocal support by LaTisha – her track came to life.

I could hear the excitement and revival in Sandy’s voice after speaking about each step of the production process and hearing the instrumentation unfold. We’ve also helped add her own personal touch by also including her friend James Hirsen on the harmonica and saxophone in the recording.

Check out Sandy’s track, “A Very Private Person” produced by StudioPros

How did you first get involved with StudioPros.com?

I was searching online for a good studio in which to record my original songs.

How was the StudioPros process for you? Was it difficult to work online?

A total pleasure! No stress, no pressure… just pure enjoyment. StudioPros and their producers are so professional. You can’t go wrong!

How did we help to get your songs sounding professional?

By listening to my ideas and respecting my original vision.

How many songs have you produced with StudioPros?

3, so far… many more to come!

What are you doing with your music? What’s next for you?

I’m working on my second album. I’m very excited about all the new technology and ways musicians can get their music heard via the Internet.

Who are some of your favorite songwriters and musical influences?

Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Kate Bush, The Sounds

When did you begin songwriting? What instruments do you write with?

I’ve been writing music all my life – since I was a little girl. I usually write with an acoustic guitar, but sometimes piano.

A Very Private Person packs a lot of emotion; what was the inspiration and writing process like for that song?

I was trying to express how people can be disingenuous and insincere; how relationships always seem to come with baggage and some kind of an agenda that usually is not in my best interest.

Besides music, what else do you enjoy?

I’m a professional artist/painter and have exhibited in Soho, Chelsea, Charleston, SC and more… I’ve got over 200 pieces displayed online. I am also a writer and have published several books. I sell “The Mystic Artist” on my Web site and Amazon.

Do you draw inspiration from your everyday life?

I am inspired by all the mystic artists throughout time – painters, musicians, writers, poets… the creative mind is an endless source of material and inspiration for my art and music.

I am very grateful to have been blessed with the opportunity to re-record some of my best songs and to be proud of the professional results I’m getting. I’m honored to be able to have access to some very talented session players! It’s an incredible experience. I just want to do them justice with my voice and make them proud to have worked on my songs.

What do you do for a living?

I am a very well known publicist specializing in talk radio.

What is your plan for your final recordings?

I am working on a record that I hope to be able to sell on iTunes, Amazon, etc. But ultimately, I’d like to find young talented musicians and singers who will perform and record my music in the future.

To find out more about Sandy’s music and art: http://sandyfrazier.com

To check out James Hirsen: http://www.jameshirsen.com

Get your songs produced by StudioPros

If you are interested in getting your songs produced professionally, don’t hesitate to contact producers Kati O’Toole or Robb Hutzal.

Read more about StudioPros Music Production here: http://studiopros.com/music-production.php

If you’d like to discuss getting a project started, call: 1-310-928-7776. We look forward to working with you soon!

 

 

 

 


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