I have to say it’s a wonderful experience to be singing songs from the new cd!!! We all worked so hard on it but unless you’ve ever recorded one, it’s easy to not know the work that goes into doing so.
It’s interesting… You’d think that someone who loves to perform would love the recording process. That’s not my case. But I have to admit, I enjoy it more than I did years ago. Perhaps it’s because in Mexico, you’re not locked into the studio for 12 hours a day with delivered pizza breaks.
I tend to reach the decision to record with much hesitation… For I know how many hours it will take, how it can be such a painstaking ‘time sucker’, losing days and hours in the studio. And brain cells sometimes.:)
What I have noticed that is different since recording my first cd in 1999 is that we now have smart phones. Back in the day, we used to talk to one another in the studio, read a book, I remember copying and updating my address book. (Now THAT’S excitement, folks!!) Now I found even myself caught up in the vortex of my iPhone, seeing what’s going on on Facebook, while a drum track was being recorded, or catching up on my emails while guitar tracks were being laid down. Yes. I was caught once when David, one of the engineers at ProSantana, asked me ‘ what did you think of that?’ Even though we could get lost in translation, I knew he busted me for not paying enough attention. Lesson learned.
But seriously!! How can one lone person expect to be present every hour on the hour in the studio?! That’s what an engineer is for! lol! But I have to admit, I found myself enjoying recording the last two CDs at ProSantana Estudios. First off, you wake up in Puerto Vallarta daily, which is a good thing when you read the wind chill factor in Chicago and it’s still snowing late in the season there! I’d walk into the studio which is in a neighbourhood of families, little tiendas (stores), so I’d go see my girls at the OXXO (Mexican 7-11 store) to get my daily rations of Doritos, diet coke, water, Halls and coffee for myself and the boys if needed, then walk to the studio, as the heavily worn down cobblestones challenged me to stay upright, holding everything.
As I entered the studio, I was greeted with smiles, warm genuine hugs, kisses on the cheeks, exclaiming ‘Buenas dias, Keeeeem!!!’ Nice way to start the day, wouldn’t you say?
We recorded the music for a month or so, 6 days a week, some days were only 5-8 hours. It’s not rocket science – as you near your speculated date or when you need to leave the country, suddenly your hours are getting longer and longer each day! So it’s always easy breezy in the beginning. Plus with the laid back, relaxed mentality of many Mexicans, it’s easy to fall into the groove until one day you look at a calendar and crap yourself when you realize you only have another week left to be there.
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We started with doing a ghost track, Eduardo on the guitar and myself along with a click track – so the musicians have something to follow, while recording their parts. It’s amazing how after we’ve played some of the songs many times, you realize how much being onstage is spontaneous to a point and now suddenly, you have to do it RIGHT and CORRECTLY. Ugh. How boring but magical in the end.
Drums get recorded first, Enrique putting down his tracks doing his thang, then due to scheduling we had another Cuban drummer ‘Pollo’ come in and that room was vibrating! Secondly, bass tracks are recorded and this is where Roberto Falcon truly shines. His years of practicing bass in his room at a younger age, learning his theory, his immense ear for music, shows itself on this cd. And the first ‘Acustico’ for that matter. Then Eduardo Leon came in with that quick smile of his and was able to quickly lay down the rhythm tracks along with his unique lead guitar tracks. I never tire of bragging about his talent. I am so blessed to have gone to that Farmer’s Market back in 2011 to get God knows what.. But what I got out of that day at the market is a friend for life and one bad ass talented friend at that. There were moments while Eduardo was recording, that tears would form in my eyes… That beautiful.
Aaaahhh, then comes the moment of ‘Ok. This is for life. Get it right.’ My turn. Sure easy to sit there for weeks and comment to the guys on what to fix, try something different, etc. Now the tables are turned. I am very critical of my voice, how I want something to sound. Yes. I want it perfect. And I dread when it comes time to the vocals.
One of the songs, ‘If You Love Me’ is very close to me. First off, it reminds me of my Grandma who was a huge Edith Piaf fan, pulling my Mom with her so it’s in my blood. It’s a very tragic story, in fact Edith co-wrote the song I believe. Do yourself a favor and watch ‘La Vie En Rose’ from the late 2000’s. Brilliant. Tragic life story, very sad and after much love/faith lost in Edith’s life, she meets the true love of her life. She’d not had very good luck thus far in the men department, add in alcohol and drug abuse. Now she had this man in her life and she had a concert and he had a boxing match. He fought the match and wanted to fly to meet her. His plane went down and killed the hope she found in her life. There’s one line in the song ‘If it seems like everything is lost, I just smile and never count the cost. If you love me, really love me… Let it happen, darling, I won’t care.’
She simply wanted to die to be with him. You can hear my voice choke for I started to cry, even just singing the words. Aren’t music and lyrics a wonderful thing? They can take you back to moments in your life when you felt the same despair or yearned for more, perhaps reminding you of a love you left behind.
Recording ‘Hoy Tengas Ganas De Ti’ was interesting!!! First off all, I don’t speak Spanish fluently and all I’ve learned from the guys are bad words! Which always get a laugh out of the taxi drivers! So there I was, trying to sing this beautiful duet with Fernando Gonzalez but it came down to the point where i just had to write down the words phonetically so I could sing it properly. (Doesn’t matter what language it is, isn’t it funny when people try to teach you words in a language – suddenly they’re talking like you’re 3 years old and they’re over emphasizing every vowel, mouthing it slowly to you and usually the volume rises as well!) Anyway, it was my idea to add ‘It’s Impossible’ or ‘Somos Novios’ to it and now I finally understand what reknown writer, PV’s own, Paco Ojeda meant by ‘interesting choice’. The song means, ‘I Want You Today’ and then I add in the song ‘It’s Impossible’. In the end, it all worked out AMAZING!
Another wonderful, thrilling surprise for me was when Carlos suggested bringing in trumpet for ‘Sweet Dreams’. I thought it was David playing a trumpet part in the other room for it was so precise and clean. Well, Presiliano blew my mind!!! In walks this young man, who worked that trumpet masterfully. David Esqueda and I would shake our heads in bewilderment while listening through the speakers. Just brilliant. You’ll see!!
Then after all is said and done (meanwhile editing for days is done on the songs, to ensure everything is on time, David and I fix the bad/pitchy/sharp/flat notes (only TWO…. lol!!) and then it’s time Carlos and I sit while he mixes the tracks. I’ve learned that I’m a very ‘hands on’ person… Which can be a good thing and a not so good thing. The good thing is that I know that whatever comes out, I’m responsible for. So yes, I spend long days listening, hearing things that could be tweaked. I’m not someone who goes in, sings her parts, then leaves. Damn. That sounds heavenly… lol! Nope -it’s my name, my money, of course I want to be there for every moment of it.
As soon as we were done the crux of it, it was now time to decide what photos are we going to use? A dear girlfriend of mine, Robin Toma from Vancouver happened to be in town so we booked a day with her and what a blast we had! I had the idea to go to one of my most favorite places in PV to visit… Ocean Grill Restaurant. Alfonso was cool with my idea and off we went! I wanted us to look stranded on ‘Wilson’s Island’ , which has a double entendre (think Castaway) along with the fact that his beautiful, with a mind of his own, Great Dane is named Wilson. It turned exactly as I’d hoped and of course I had to rid myself of the can of hair spray in my hair so we had so much fun jumping off the pier several times, before guests for the restaurant started arriving. Again, Alfonso is such a good, true friend, that as soon as I started telling him my idea, what I needed his island for, it was ‘yes’ right away. Whatever I needed. If you ever go to PV? You MUST reserve online and see this slice of heaven. Magical.
I was loaded up with Cassandra Shaw Jewelry and our photo shoot was done!!! (I love using our promo shots to promote other businesses that are close to me. Cassandra and her sister, Candace have become dear friends as well and I’m so spoiled that I get to wear and in turn, showcase the stunning jewelry Cassandra chooses/ designs for her store. Nothing like them. Breathtaking.) There. You now have TWO places you have to see while in PV!
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This is all a wonderful memory and I’m preparing to head back down to Puerto Vallarta as I type this, to go perform it live with the guys! I hope to see you this upcoming season while myself and the guys perform at The Palm Cabaret and Bar right in the heart of Old Town, on Olas Altas! Every Wednesday and Sunday 7pm, you can catch our Acustico show.
You can also listen and purchase ACUSTICO II online on iTunes, also available online and get CDs on cdbaby.com and on Amazon.com. Thank you very much for your continued support and I look forward to seeing you this season![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]