Featured Artist: Les CallardWednesday, July 10th, 2013
Les Callard is a long time client of mine, whom I’ve had the pleasure of producing 5 songs with. Hailing from an eclectic background of musical tastes and abilities, Callard has continually sent me great demos which we then turn into fully realized productions with our talented team of musicians and engineers.
Taking Your Songs From Demo to Full Band Production
Les is really great about sending over really promising demos and keeping an open mind through my initial suggestions. I like to take a listen down to the song with the lyrics in front of me so I can really get a feel for melody and phrasing and then come back to him with production ideas. I often help out with his song forms by trimming sections and giving the song an overall streamlined feeling to get his point across best.
Les describes StudioPros’ production process, “I was immediately hooked on the idea of using StudioPros to turn my songs into professional high quality demo tracks, to create a level of professionalism that I could never achieve with my own equipment, and so my songwriting process developed further. I would use my own equipment, sounds, and voice to produce scratch tracks, which I would then pass to the team at StudioPros to add their magic. The team helped me with structure, with identifying weak parts of the song before I even started, with choosing instrumentation, correcting tempo, and often then creating songs which wildly exceeded my own vision for what I had written.”
BEFORE StudioPros: Les’ Demo for “Corners of Your World”
AFTER StudioPros: Les’ Final Master for “Corners of Your World”
Having used our professional vocalists on each of his songs to achieve a more commercial, radio friendly sound, he says “I remember the thrill at first hearing StudioPros’ vocalist Brian sing my song “The Night I Fell For You”. This was the first time ever a professional had sung a song I had written, in fact it was the first time anyone but me had sung a song I had written. That was an amazing moment to hear your own song take life in the hands of a talented singer who interprets the song themselves and adds another layer to it you sometimes even didn’t expect. That’s awesome.”
We decided to use “Mirrors,” by Justin Timberlake as a reference for this song. I made note of the percussion and guitar production in the Justin Timberlake track that I really wanted to bring to Les’ version. Our production team did a combination of a piano foundation, additional synth keys, drum programming to give it the pop edge it deserves in combination with live drums, electric bass, electric guitar leads, and Brian’s beautifully tracked vocals and harmonies.
“Taking a song from scratch track to finished demo with the team is always a great journey, a discovery to see what hidden energy is inside the song. And I feel with each track I am getting better at writing songs that can come to life after the StudioPros treatment.”
Developing Your Own Songwriting Style
“I try to write songs that have rich harmonies in them, there is something rich and chocolatey about a great 3 or 4 part harmony. I really love using 7th chords, suspended 4ths and anything which has a wonderfully satisfying resolution. The bridge in “Corners of Your World” is a great example of my fetish for rich harmony. I have started dissecting songs that I love to try to understand what makes them great,” Les says about his songwriting style. It’s been fun to see him progress through the time I’ve known him. He’s always making improvements and bringing songs that have a more unique sound that the last, which is awesome to see.
Learning from the Music Industry
“As for my music, what I am doing at present is building a portfolio of great songs which can establish my credibility as a songwriter. It’s part collecting, and part practicing and improving. I once read the Neil Sedaka forced himself to write a song a day for a whole year – just to improve his songwriting. So like that… but a little slower pace. My hope is that once I have a professional portfolio of great songs, I can go to the market with some credibility rather than being a one or two song beginner. I figure the industry wants to see you are serious about songwriting, which means a decent and professional sounding collection. As for actually promoting any of my songs, nothing yet maybe a few emails to some random publishers. I am very practical about it all, if I write good songs someone will want to sing them. There are too many people pushing average songs and not getting very far. I think this is a patience and practice game.”
Like many, Les is another one of our clients who has benefited from the accessibility to professional session players through our online services. He is able to be working on his songs while living his life and carrying on with his professional career.
“When I am not songwriting, I am in marketing and retail, which I think has taught me to try to understand what a customer (listener) wants. I study the US and UK top 40 constantly looking for patterns, trends, and inspiration, and I am always fascinated how an idea becomes a song in the end. When all is said and done, I am loving the songwriting process and the edge that StudioPros gives me to create great radio friendly and commercial versions of my art. It’s very satisfying.”
Get YOUR Songs Produced with StudioPros!
If you’d like to find out more about getting your songs professionally produced by StudioPros, feel free to contact me, Keeley Bumford at firstname.lastname@example.org- or one of my associate producers Kati O’Toole or Natalie Smith.
We are available at: 1-310-928-7776 M-F from 7am-5pm, or Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm PST.
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