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Featured Artist: Philip Jenkins

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

philjenkins

Philip Jenkins is a UK based songwriter with a knack for writing catchy pop lyrics and hooky melodies. Teaming up with StudioPros production team, we collaborated on his recent song “In Pieces”. Jenkins communicated the ideas he had for his production with a well developed demo showcasing his production ideas.

With the help of our talented drum programmer, keyboardist, guitarist, session vocalists and engineer, we re-produced his song from scratch bringing it up to radio ready Broadcast Quality. Since the final production, Jenkins has had success landing a publishing deal for this single. Just what we like to hear!

Check out Studio Pros final production:

In Pieces:

Interview with Philip Jenkins

SP: How did you first get involved with StudioPros.com?

I first got involved with Studio Pros when I wanted to get my songs recorded and sounding professional.

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

Working on my songs with Studio Pros has been a joy and really easy. The communication with Kati O’Toole my producer has been first class.

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

I’m sending my songs out to music publishers and have just had a publishing deal for my latest song‘ In Pieces ‘.

SP: Who are some of your favorite songwriters and musical influences?

My favorite songwriter is Max Martin who has produced and written for major artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Pink and more.

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

I began writing songs from an early age but have taken it more seriously the past couple of years. I play keyboard.

SP: What was the inspiration and writing process like for your song?

The inspiration for the song ‘In Pieces ‘ comes from a heartbreak in my personal life and it can relate to many people who have had their heart broken. I hope that people can relate to the lyrics of the song as well as enjoying the great melody of the track. The songs I write are taken mostly from my everyday life but I also write songs based on a story I make up in my mind.

SP: Besides music, what else do you enjoy?

Away from music and writing songs I enjoy spending quality time with my two young daughters. They’re my biggest fans of my songs and put a smile on my face when there singing away to my songs in the car.

SP: What is your plan for your final recordings?

I hope to build up a publishing portfolio of my songs and then get them on major artists albums or tv/film placements. That’s the dream anyway!

Get Your Songs Produced with StudioPros!

If you are interested in getting your own songs professionally produced, don’t hesitate to contact myself: Kati O’Toole, or my co-producer 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! Happy Songwriting.

 

Recording Tips: How to Stop Putting It Off

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Recording is a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work, too. It’s so easy to put it off when you’ve got a ton of things that seem more important at the time. I find myself doing it constantly. I could record a vocal track, but I have to get my laundry done. I could lay down a few guitar parts, but I’ve gotta go to meet up with friends in an hour and I don’t want to lose track of time.

The excuses could be endless if you’re good at coming up with them. But then something inevitably happens after I put off a recording project for long enough: I start to feel bad.

I feel bad that a month has gone by and I’m no further along in my recording than I was before. Or worse, I feel bad because a few months have gone by and I haven’t even started recording a song. When I realize my song could have been finished already, it only adds to the frustration. If you’re a chronic procrastinator like me, or even if you’re not and you would just like a few tips on getting motivated, here are a couple things to remember when the recording studio beckons.

It won’t ever get done if you don’t start it

The only way to guarantee your song doesn’t get finished is to never start it in the first place! Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part, and once you’re going you find that you are inspired to keep it up. Often there is just that initial hurdle of getting the first thing recorded that’s giving you a mental block, but hearing your song get started usually reminds you of how cool it’s gonna sound when it’s complete. (more…)

Featured Artist: Andrea Iorio

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Italian artist Andrea Iorio incorporated Studio Pros into his writing process from thousands of miles away.

Andrea Iorio’s curiosity was piqued when he read an article about Studio Pros in Sound on Sound magazine. Living in Tuscany, Italy, he thought Studio Pros’ Los Angeles-based session players might be the best option for his songs. In fact, Iorio saw living in a different country from the musicians who would be recording his tracks as an advantage for his music. As an artist, he has always preferred letting musicians come up with their own take on his work instead of giving specific direction to achieve strictly his own vision. Working from a remote location made that process even simpler for him. “I like to hear a completely different vision from what I’m doing,” Iorio explains. “I try to give as little instruction as possible for my projects so as not to influence the performer. With Studio Pros it’s fantastic, because it can be different for sure.”

Growing up in Siena, Iorio was turned on to music at the tender age of 9 when a friend showed him Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. A few years later, it was a fusion band expanded his musical horizons even more. “At 13 I was astonished by the bass part of Weather Report’s ‘Teen Town,’” he remembers. “That started my musical education.”

Iorio studied jazz bass in Siena for a decade while also dabbling in piano and guitar. He began learning about the production and recording process and put together his own small studio. “The studies I’ve done gave me a 360-degree interest in music,” he says, “from jazz to rock to metal.” As a result, his music covers wide ground stylistically, having distinct jazz roots with a straightforward rock edge. Now he lists some of his favorite artists as Miles Davis, Steely Dan and King Crimson. He recently developed a strong interest in experimental electronic music as well.

Listen to Studio Pros musicians and vocalists playing on Andrea Iorio’s songs:

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5 things you MUST know before you enter a local recording studio without a band

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

1. Choose your session players wisely. Many local (non-commercial) studios will offer you their own musicians, or even to have their engineer play on your album.  But 99% of the time the result is just a mediocre instrumental track that will do nothing to set you apart from the thousands of other singer/songwriters out there. Think about it for a second: do you know of any famous songs that were recorded by a “one-man-band?” It is crucial to the sound of your recording to get yourself the best session players you can afford.  And with today’s easy access to great recording technology, finding the right session player is even more important than the recording studio.

2. Sketch out your song and plan the arrangement before you go to the studio. Songwriters’ biggest mistake is trying to write/arrange/finish their music in the studio. Remember: when that studio clock is ticking and every extra minute is money out of your pocket, it makes it nearly impossible to be creative–especially in an unfamiliar environment.  So plan ahead and record a sketch of your song at home; it can be as simple as a guitar/keyboard and vocal recorded to a click. Use this sketch to start thinking about what instruments you’ll need, where you want to place parts and breaks, and any other details for the final recording. If you know all of this before you enter the studio, you’ll be able to focus on recording your song while minimizing stress.

3. Don’t mix and master your song with your local studio’s engineer. While he might be a great recording engineer, the mixing and mastering should be done by a true professional. You’ll want to find someone who has mixed albums that you like the sound of. The right mix engineer will give your album a unique sound that reveals who you are as an artist.

4. Use the help of online recording studios. Bringing a good drummer to the studio (if you can find one in your home town) is no simple task.  The complex set-up required to record a drum set can even add to the expense of your studio fee.  You can get professional sounding drum tracks from a world-class drummer over the Internet for just $150.

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Songwriting Tip: Intros

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Did you ever wonder about what the most important part of a song is? Your initial thought might be that it’s the chorus or the hook… I’m not here to say that the chorus is not important…  It certainly is. But it’s worth noting that a chorus won’t mean much if the listener never hears it. People have short attention spans when they’re listening to music, so you’ve got to catch their attention as soon as possible with your song. That means the introduction had better be memorable, or at least quick enough to let the song get to something memorable as soon as possible.

So because it’s a first impression, and first impressions are crucial, the intro just might be the most important part of your song. That’s why it’s imperative that you don’t write it off–spend as much time crafting a great introduction as you do crafting the rest of the song.

Did you know that when music industry people–like A&R and radio DJs–listen to a demo, they usually only give it about 30 seconds before they skip to the next track? That means a song had better really get going well before the 30 second mark to make them want to listen more. It also means that your demo should probably include songs that get right into the good stuff and have great intros.

Use a hook in the introduction

If you hope your introduction will make people want to keep listening, put something memorable in it–an instrumental hook, a really cool guitar part, a catchy melody, etc. There are no rules to what you can and can’t include, so do whatever makes it stand out!

Studio Pros artist Rich Marcello does this in his song “Mary.”  The introduction includes a catchy little acoustic guitar lead that quotes the main hook of the chorus.  It’s just long enough to give us a taste of the melody, then leads right into the song’s first verse.  Listen to it here:

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Featured Artist: Jeff Heiniger

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Jeff Heiniger knew the importance of a professional production–so he turned to Studio Pros when he didn’t want to settle for anything less.

Jeff Heiniger has known what goes into a professional production for a long time. In 1987, he won a national songwriting competition in the UK that was put together by Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. The prize: a chance to record in the Stones’ state-of-the-art mobile recording studio with top producers Mick McKenna and Terry Taylor. “It was brilliant to work with actual professionals,” Heiniger remembers. “They turned our demo into something that was fantastic.”

Heiniger first started taking music lessons after getting a piano when he was 13.  He also started listening to all sorts of pop music, from Electric Light Orchestra to Depeche Mode, ABBA to The Beatles. Since winning the competition he has put together a Pro Tools-equipped home studio, but soon realized that without a professional producer behind the board he wasn’t going to achieve the same sort of radio-ready product he got with is winning song. “The problem is that I’m not an engineer, so I didn’t have anybody to record my stuff,” he explains. “What I found was really good about Studio Pros was that the production was sort of taken out of my hands in a way.”

When he found the Studio Pros website, Heiniger was actually looking for session vocalists on the web. “I couldn’t find anyone locally who was any good,” he says. “It’s quite laborious, taking your music to a recording studio and finding an engineer who will record a session singer who you may not like. It seemed quite a lengthy process, and one that may not yield results at the end of the day.” He found himself intrigued by the Studio Pros website. “The site itself looked very professional. Professionalism and price were important.”

With Studio Pros, Heiniger was able to focus on writing a song on piano, then letting our team of world-class studio musicians build the rest from the ground up. Along the way, he would provide input and feedback to make sure everything came together how he wanted it. In order to make it easier, Heiniger would provide reference tracks with other music that matched the vibe he was going for with each song.

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Why You Don’t Need 12 Finished Songs to Start Recording Your Album

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

You probably have an amazing album inside you, just waiting to burst out. The funny thing is, you might not even realize it yet… Sure, you know you have a lot of great musical ideas and a whole lot of untapped creativity swirling around inside your head. But a whole album might seem like something that you won’t be able to tackle until you have 12 fully realized songs ready to go.

But the fact that you only have a handful of songs that you feel are ready to record shouldn’t stop you from starting the process. Back when I wrote about the biggest myths keeping you from recording your album, I mentioned that not having enough songs doesn’t mean you can’t begin recording your masterpiece. In fact, it may be even better to start laying down some tracks when you only have a few songs to work on. Here are a few reasons why:

You can better focus your creativity

Recording just a few songs allows you to think about only a few things at a time–which means you don’t have to worry about spreading yourself too thin while trying to deal with a whole album’s worth of material. Figuring out the background vocal harmonies on four songs is a much less daunting task than tackling a dozen songs!

Find your musical direction and vision

Many professional musicians don’t have a complete album when they go to record. Instead, they take the music they have and start working with top producers and collaborators who help them hone the direction and vision of the album. This is a good strategy, because if you simply go into a recording session with a full album, you might find that some of them don’t quite fit–and then you’re back to the drawing board again. Starting with a few songs will help you figure out what direction your music is heading in, thereby giving you focus and purpose as you write new material.

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Featured Artist: Rich Marcello

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

A seasoned songwriter and poet, Rich Marcello teamed up with Studio Pros to give his productions the professional edge he needed, and keeps on coming back for more.

Boston based songwriter Rich Marcello is no novice when it comes to getting out the ink and jotting it down.  With over 30 songs professionally produced with Studio Pros, he’s gotten the continual experience of producing his tracks online, and is regularly bringing Studio Pros more material to produce.  “I’ve been writing for around 20 years,” says Marcello.  “At first I did a lot of the production myself but several years ago I decided to get them professionally produced, which was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Marcello came across Studio Pros (which was at the time DrumsForYou.com) through an online search and decided to give it a try.  Starting with just a drum track, he heard the quality of Studio Pros’ production team and decided to try it out for a full production.  “By letting other really talented musicians work on my material it really took my work to a much better place. I knew I found a great partner in music and I’ve felt that on every song Studio Pros has done for me.  I think Studio Pros is the best in the business–I won’t ever use anyone else,” Marcello stated.

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Finding Musicians For Your Band

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

One of the great things about Studio Pros is that we hook you up with world-class Los Angeles session musicians to play on your songs. This can be a great resource, particularly for artists who don’t already know too many studio-ready musicians. But when it comes to playing live, you might decide that you want some fellow players to help fill out your sound–especially after you hear the lush new arrangements and full-production treatment that your songs received from us!  Although we can’t rent out our session players to play your live gig, we can at least give you a few pointers on finding some great musicians to join forces with.

Craigslist

Craigslist is a common place to find musicians, with many freelancers looking for gigs through the site. You can post a classified ad in the “Gigs” section or in the “Musicians” section (under “Community”). When doing this, be sure to specify exactly what you want–instruments played, the style of music, pay (if any), show length, duration (if you’re looking for a long-term commitment or just someone to play for a show or two), etc. It’s a good idea to specify that the musician must have their own gear and reliable transportation (and that they should show up on time). Also, provide a link to music samples so any prospective players know specifically what kind of music they’ll be playing. In return, ask anyone interested to send you samples of their playing.

Music Stores

This may be considered the “old fashioned” method at this point, but it’s still worthwhile to print out physical flyers and post them on bulletins boards in local music stores and schools. One of the best ways to find musicians is to go where they congregate!  Anywhere that sells music gear or teaches music lessons is a good choice. Include all of the information mentioned above for the Craigslist ad, and make sure your contact info is clear.

Musician Classifieds Websites

There are websites other than Craigslist that offer services to hook fellow musicians up with each other.  Sites such as Bandmix.com offer alternatives that focus specifically on musicians, without any of the extra clutter that comes with Craigslist.

Word of Mouth

Sometimes all it takes to find someone is asking around! If you’re a musician, chances are you have several musician friends. Ask them, and ask other friends and family members if they know anyone who might want to play in your band. You might be surprised with the number of people you find!

A Note on Safety

Any time you’re dealing with communicating with people you’ve never met, you should always be cautious for your own safety. Never reveal any personal information in posts on the Internet. Always meet new people for the first time in a public place away from your home. And it’s always good to have other people that you trust around as well. Inviting a guitarist to meet you and your drummer at a rehearsal space is fine… Asking a prospective bass player to meet you alone at your house is not. Always use common sense!

There are thousands of musicians out there just dying to play with a great band.  The key is getting out there and finding where they are!

Still in the recording stages of your musical project?  Have Studio Pros’ top-notch professional studio musicians take your songs to the next level!

Featured Artist: Barb Bechler

Friday, June 19th, 2009

20 years ago she thought making music might be fun. Now with the help of Studio Pros, Barb Bechler has accomplished what she never thought possible.

UPDATE: Barb has created dance/hip hop tracks from a capella demo versions to professional final products with the help of Studio Pros.  Three of these tracks have been added below.  She has also won two more songwriting awards in the Song of the Year competition for her tracks “Come on Out and Dance” and “Wishers” since this feature was written.

Barb Bechler’s path to becoming a musician is not your typical story. In fact, her creative use of Studio Pros’ services makes for one of the most unique musical journeys you’re bound to hear. While she’s been a fan and admirer of music for most of her life, Bechler never was a musician herself–until she began learning, experimenting, and expanding her musical boundaries with the help of the world-class studio musicians that Studio Pros provided. Utilizing Studio Pros’ services, Bechler found herself going from complete novice to award-winning songwriter in an astoundingly short period of time.

Not too long ago, Bechler was retired from real estate sales and writing children’s stories. Now, she is submitting her music to TAXI for publishing in film and television. “I’m probably coming from a different direction from a lot of people,” she says. “I’ve always admired musicians and listened to a great variety of music. The big thing for me was that I always wanted to be able to write songs.” Wondering how she could translate her story writing abilities to songwriting, Bechler had a breakthrough when her niece, Deanna, showed her how to use GarageBand music software.

Before:

After:

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