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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.

 

Featured Artist: Gary Quinn

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

garyquinnUpdate: 12/4/2013:
We are so proud of your recent win for UK Song of the Year at the British Country Music Awards in London!  For the song the Studio Pros team produced a while back: “He Don’t Show Her Anymore”. Congrats Gary! Keep on writing those beautiful country ballads!

The story behind the songwriter.

Gary Quinn is a songwriter that knows how to pull on the heartstrings of his audience.  Creating beautifully crafted lyrics, he draws you in with his picturesque storytelling through his swooning country melodies.  Quinn grew up in Ireland where he listened to his father’s Kris Kristofferson tapes, but he ended up falling in love with American country music after hearing the Garth Brooks album No Fences in the early ’90s. “There’s a big country and Irish scene with an undercurrent of American country, which is what I’m into,” Quinn says of Ireland. “It started picking up again with the likes of the Internet. It’s a bit more accessible.” (more…)

Guitar Solos: How to Record a Great One

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Sometimes an awesome guitar solo can add a new level of energy and fun to a song. In some cases, particularly in songs from guitar-focused bands like The Black Crowes and Van Halen, the guitar solo can be the defining moment of a song. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a bad solo can really bring a song down with it. Imagine that just when you are really getting into a song, suddenly a lame solo completely takes you out of it–and once you’re gone, the song may never recover.

It’s important, then, to be sure you’re laying down a sweet solo whenever you record your song–a solo that will enhance it and not hinder it. Here are some tips for recording the ultimate guitar solo!

To improvise or not to improvise?

Even before you go to record your guitar solo, you have some decisions to make. Do you want to sit down and write a solo beforehand or are you planning on improvising one on the spot? Unless you’re a seasoned improviser and you’re playing music that typically involves heavy ad-libbing (like jam band music or jazz), I would recommend at least outlining a sketch of your solo beforehand. You don’t have to plan it lick-for-lick, but it’s a good idea to come up with some basic guidelines: how long you’ll play in one position before shifting up an octave, what bar you want to play a cool arpeggio over, where you’re going to fit in that really catchy lick you came up with, etc.

When I was recording the solo to a song that had a particularly complicated chord progression, I knew I needed to work out what I would play ahead of time, because I probably wouldn’t improvise anything memorable on the spot. I was really glad that I did–the solo that I ended up writing was much more thoughtful and interesting than what I would have made up, and it became a signature musical moment for my band.

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Buying an Electric Guitar

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

In my last post about buying gear, I walked you through what you need to know to buy the perfect acoustic guitar. This time around I’m talking about guitars again, but we’ll be looking at electrics. Shopping for an electric guitar can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t have a good idea of what you’re looking for. Walking into a music store to find 20-foot walls covered in different types of electric guitars is an intimidating sight for the uninitiated. Luckily, I’m here to make sure you’re not uninitiated… Here’s what you need to know before you head to the guitar store.

Find the right price range

Just like with acoustics, the range in prices for electric guitars is about as wide as the grand canyon–from $100 to several thousand dollars. And while you can sometimes get a very nice electric for much cheaper than an acoustic of similar quality, it’s important to remember that you’ll also need to buy an amplifier, so that instantly adds to the price of your guitar (and it’s a topic for a future post).

Unfortunately, the cost of many woods commonly used to make guitars has gone up over the past few years, meaning guitar prices have risen accordingly. American-made guitars in particular seem to have jumped in price. The Fender American Standard Stratocaster, for example, now sells for around $1,000, whereas it used to be closer to $700-800. The Mexican-made counterpart now sells for $500-$700. But a lot of players seek out American-made guitars because they are generally built well–a quality that means the guitars tend to sound better and last longer. Some popular U.S.-made electrics include Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters and Gibson Les Pauls. Other USA companies include Ernie Ball/Music Man, Paul Reed Smith and any number of boutique guitar builders.  Many guitars are also made in Japan–Ibanez is a popular Japanese guitar manufacturer.

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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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Buying an Acoustic Guitar

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Buying new music gear can be fun–there have been very few times that I felt more excited than when I buy a brand new guitar, amp, pedal, or other piece of gear. But along with the excitement can come a lot of other feelings: confusion, frustration, and anxiety over whether you’re buying the right thing. With the price of instruments and gear often so steep, it can be a little nerve-racking to think you might not be spending your money well!

Luckily, with a few simple guidelines you can arm yourself with the knowhow to get an awesome piece of gear for years to come. Today, I’m going to be talking about buying an acoustic guitar. There are literally hundreds of guitars to choose from, so how do you know which is the right one for you? Here are three things to ask yourself when shopping for an acoustic:

What is my price range?

The range of prices for acoustic guitars can run from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. That’s a pretty big difference! With that in mind, you can narrow down your choices greatly by specifying what price range you can afford, and what you’re willing to pay. Prices vary depending on several factors, including what kind of wood the guitar is made out of, whether or not it has pickups built into it, where it was made (USA-made guitars tend to be more expensive), and the quality of its construction. You’ll find with most music gear that you get what you pay for, and acoustic guitars are no exception. More expensive models will generally sound and play better and last longer, because more care has been taken in their construction. But be careful what you’re paying for, because some guitars are expensive because of fancy inlays and designs or because they are limited editions.

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Featured Artist: David Llorente

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

David Llorente used Studio Pros for his first professional project and was blown away not only by the musicianship, but by how much they cared.

“It was probably one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had as a musician.”

That’s how David Llorente feels about his time working with Studio Pros. “Just going through all the processes, seeing what people have to do to get a professional track cut. I didn’t know how long it took. I didn’t know everything that was involved from start to finish. And now, having gone through it with Studio Pros, I’m never gonna forget it. It was awesome.”

Llorente, a Nashville-area singer/songwriter, was hunting down recording options online when he discovered Studio Pros. “I really wanted to get this project out, it was real heavy on my heart,” he remembers. “I read about Studio Pros and thought, ‘that’s a good idea.’” Though intrigued by the idea, Llorente still needed convincing that Studio Pros was the best choice for his music. All it took to persuade him was a little research and a phone call to head of production Kati O’Toole.

“The credentials behind the staff are amazing,” he explains. “I actually went and checked out Katie’s albums that she had done. She’s not just a producer, but she’s a musician and songwriter.” Knowing that his songs were in the hands of fellow musicians put Llorente at ease. “I could hear that she’s passionate about what she’s doing. It was cool to have some people that really cared.”

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Press Kit: What You Should Include

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Even if you’re relatively new to the musician world, you’ve probably heard the term “press kit” thrown around quite a few times by now. A press kit is a package of materials that you might send to record labels, media outlets, venues, etc. that contains all of the pertinent information about your band. But what does that mean exactly? What is and isn’t relevant information?

You’ll want your press kit to follow some basic standards if industry people are going to look at it. Here are a few tips and essentials on putting together the ultimate press kit.

Band Photo

The first thing in your press kit should be a hi-resolution photo of the band (or yourself if you’re a solo artist.) This can be black and white or full color. There aren’t a whole lot of rules when it comes to taking a great band photo (although you might want to stay away from some common clichés such as railroad tracks and brick walls).  But you should definitely make sure of at least two things: everyone’s face should be easily seen in the picture, and the band’s “image” should be on display. If you play dark metal music, it might not suit your image to be wearing bright colors and lying in a field of flowers. If you’re an upbeat pop band, it might not fit to be wearing all black and looking dreary. Let your band’s character shine through!

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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: Robert Norris

Monday, May 17th, 2010

With a little Studio Pros magic, Robert Norris is making music fun again.

Robert Norris had all but given up on music by his early thirties.  ”Music just wasn’t fun anymore,” he remembers. “I basically ran out of steam and decided to get on with my life.”

Norris had been a musician since he was a kid, when he took drum lessons and started his first garage band in junior high. As time went on, he began learning music theory, became a lead singer, and even got to sample the rock star lifestyle in the beach town of Marshfield, Massachusetts. “The summer we graduated, 1975, the drinking age was 18,” he says. “We were playing in bars that we were barely old enough to be in. Lots of fun, great experience, and a taste of the life.”

After a brief stint at UMass Amherst as a vocal music education major, Norris sang in several bands around the Boston area and began writing original music. After a band breakup, he took to the studio to record a cassette tape of original songs called Nobody’s Dream Come True. But despite getting some local airplay and seeing some interest in his songs, Norris felt like he had hit a wall; music was set aside and life went on.

But as most musicians can attest to, the music bug doesn’t easily go away; years later, Norris wanted to start singing again. But having been removed from the scene and all his old musician contacts for so long, he needed to hire session players for his recordings. “I contacted a studio locally,” he says. “Having no other viable options, I scheduled a four-hour session to start my first song. He charged me from the minute I walked in till the minute I left with no allowance for the three breaks the musicians took. And to make matters worse, I didn’t really like what we had recorded.”

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