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Featured Artist: Crystal Mia Hinds

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

crystaldemopicI’ve just had the pleasure of completing a project with the talented Crystal Hinds. Crystal is a young singer/songwriter based out of rural Lytle, Texas that has been frustrated by a similar problem that a lot of us singer-songwriters encounter. We have the material, we have the vocal chops, we’re missing the band and local resources to get a quality recording.

After having a few conversations with Crystal, she decided to give Studio Pros’ production team a shot on her first single to be produced with us: So Do You. Throughout the process, Studio Pros production team helped transform Crystal’s vision of recording her song step by step with live band instrumentation. She had very distinct references and knew exactly the sound she was going for. She was even able to provide instructions for each musician so we were sure to capture the final recording that she had been waiting for, for so long! (more…)

Featured Artist: Matthew Alexa

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Matthew-Small-Album-CoverMatthew Alexa is a Nova Scotia based singer-songwriter with a modern pop-rock edge. He was originally recognized as a drummer in the Canadian music scene and this is his first introduction to the music world as a singer-songwriter. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Alexa on his recent release of his 11 song debut album “Chasing Airplanes” which was released on July 6th through Bandcamp, CD Baby and iTunes.

Alexa first started working with StudioPros in July of 2011 after seeing an ad in Sound on Sound magazine and tried us out for a custom guitar track. After hearing the results of how the guitarist improved his recording, Alexa was hooked for the rest of the album. We continued to piece together his album by replacing guitar parts with our session guitarist coming in and re-tracking his ideas to take it to a more polished level. We then starting adding additional instrumentation step by step: bass, additional guitars, pedal steel, keyboard layers, live strings including violin, cello and viola, backing vocal arrangements to support his lead and eventually the final mixing. Alexa performed all of the drums on his album, which was a great way to put his mark on his record to establish his sound. (more…)

Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Standard Form Song

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Beginners Guide To Song Form Part 2

After receiving such great feedback from you guys, we’ve decided to continue the songwriting form series. Last time we touched on the AABA format using Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” as an example, and today I want to focus on the most popular song structure-ABABCB.

Understanding Song Structure Basics: ABABCB Song Form

The ABABCB Song Form:

The most common song form is the ABABCB form, which is a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song. The “A” section is the verse, where the story is told. The “B” section is the chorus, which is the hook and the highlight of the song. A standard verse chorus can often become tiresome, so adding a “C” section, also known as the bridge, adds variation. The bridge is a musical departure from the expected-often summing up the song-thus supplying new momentum to the final chorus. Some popular examples for ABABCB songs are “What’s Love Got To Do With it” by Tina Turner, “Girl” by The Beatles, and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry. (more…)

Featured Artist: Angie Zawada

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Inspirational songwriting, an interview with Angie Zawada

ang2Angie Zawada is a songwriter I have come to know quite well over the past year. We have produced two full productions together along with StudioPros’ production team. Both projects have been huge thought out productions with lush arrangements, full band instrumentation, full choral arrangements and an inspirational message for the world.

She is an emotional songwriter- someone who finds time in her busy life as a 4th grade school teacher to spend late nights pouring her soul into her productions. She has been involved every step of the way in the production process and has fine tuned each step of the production until she is 100% sure that the production that unfolds meets her message and vision for her songs. (more…)

Featured Artist: Silver Saddih

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Making Music Across Continents With Studio Pros.

Collaborating with Studio Pros mixing and mastering engineer all the way from Nigeria, Silver Saddih proves you don’t have to be in the same country, even continent to make music together.  I was blown away the  first time I heard Silver’s vocals when listening to the mix preview of “I Be Boss”.   I shared it immediately with my Studio Pros co-producer Keeley Bumford.  We both were dancing in our seats listening to this track.

Silver hails from Kaduna state, Nigeria (West Africa) and currently lives in Lagos and Abuja.  His crystal clear R&B vocal tone has undertones of his native African roots which really makes his sound unique.  You can hear his world influences coming through in his vocal performances, combined with contemporary pop and R&B/hip hop influences.  It amazes me how we can collaborate with talent like this instantly between Los Angeles and Nigeria – thanks to the internet. (more…)

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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Featured Artist: James Robinson

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

With the help of Studio Pros, James Robinson made recordings on the road and expanded his production company’s clientele.

James Robinson is one of the lead writers and producers of APT6 Entertainment, a music production team (also including Dwayne and Dwight Madison and Greg Edwards) based out of Los Angeles, CA.  As self proclaimed “R&B heads,” the team is heavily influenced by such classic R&B greats as Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and The Underdogs, as well as modern acts like Neyo, The Dream and Trey Songz.

“R&B is just our thing,” Robinson says.  “APT6 was birthed in the church/gospel music scene, so it’s only natural.”

Robinson joined APT6 in 2007, two years after it was formed.  Though originally brought on as a hip-hop artist, he was eventually made a co-owner.  Between Robinson, Edwards and the Madison Brothers, APT6 covered the composing/songwriting and keyboard playing side of things.  Studio Pros helped them have everything they need to be a full-service production team.

“Studio Pros is amazingly simple,” says Robinson.  “I can’t stress that enough.  We uploaded our WAV files, then we were prompted to leave notes and examples of what we were looking for. Within 48 hours we had our first sample! The engineer was almost dead on AND open to making adjustments.”

He soon learned to love the rapid turnaround time that Studio Pros offered.  “When we asked for adjustments on bass levels and reverb, we were shocked at how fast the turn around time was–I believe it was within a few hours,” he remembers.  “That was when I became a huge believer in the quality and customer service of Studio Pros.”

But the real kicker for Robinson was that he and APT6 did everything while they were on the road.  “We were going back and forth between in-home setups and handling a lot of business,” he explains.  Being in one place was close to impossible.”  And what did he think of what Studio Pros did with his simple recordings?  “The results were amazing.” (more…)

Featured Artist: Roger Miller

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Roger Miller, like many musicians, is a bit of a perfectionist. Luckily, Studio Pros is full of perfectionists as well.

At the beginning of summer 2009, Roger Miller acquired the funding he needed to record a full-length album of his Christian alternative acoustic music. In order to get a professional sounding product, Miller decided he would head to Nashville, TN, rent out a recording studio, hire session musicians, and put together an album that could hold its own against any major label production. But during his online search for recording studios, he came across a more convenient option that caught his attention: Studio Pros.

Unsure of whether or not Studio Pros could really deliver the top quality product he was looking for, Miller sent in just one song to test the waters. The final product convinced him to continue on with his entire album. “The final album and the songs, they exceeded my expectations quality-wise,” Miller says.

Miller sang, played guitar and even some cello on his songs, but one of his favorite parts of the process was working with the professional studio musicians that Studio Pros provided. Through this recording process, Miller had access to some of the best musicians in LA playing on his songs, while still involving him in the production of his album. “Going into it, I had pretty high standards,” Miller says. But he was impressed with the caliber of playing he received. “The drum tracks were incredible. They were a lot better than I thought they were going to be. The backing vocals were stellar.” Miller used a strategy that combined using his own very specific musical ideas in conjunction with letting the musicians improvise and do their own thing when the songs called for it.

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Featured Artist: Tommy Owen

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Looking to take his recordings to the next level of professional quality, Tommy Owen teamed up with Studio Pros to make his music radio-ready.

Tommy Owen

“I felt like I was working with a group of super-talented friends that I had known forever.”

Tommy Owen didn’t have a plan for his music; it was simply a hobby for the San Marcos, Texas native.  But working with Studio Pros has a way of opening doors for artists; after putting his songs on MySpace and Facebook, Owen couldn’t help but pay attention to the response he got.  “I must have gotten about 50 emails the day I put it up on MySpace,” he says.  “Half of the feedback is about the quality of the recording!”

Owen, who runs his own graphic design company, has been playing music since he was a teenager.  He soon decided that producing his own music was a lot more fun than playing someone else’s songs in a band, so he bought a 4-track and started recording.  For years, Owen never felt the quality was up to par, but after teaming up with Studio Pros he found himself suddenly being contacted by radio stations asking him for a physical CD (a friend passed on Owen’s music to a radio connection).  He attributes his newfound success to the professional product he was able to make with the help of Studio Pros.

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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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