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A sneak peek into the making of a CD.

My new CD, 'Beautiful Souls', released over a month ago. In the months leading up to the release I was very busy with everything that has to happen prior to a release concert. This is my FIFTH collection of original songs, so all of the tasks involved in this musician's life are well known to me by now, but maybe not very well known to you. So, if you ever wondered what goes into the making of a CD, read on!

The writing takes the longest. My last CD released in November of 2011. The first song I wrote for 'Beautiful Souls' was 'My Heart's Home', which I composed in March of 2012. Songs come in their own time and in their own way. Sometimes they come out all at once, and other times they arrive in sections, spread over time. The song, 'Bodhicitta' began as a piano song many years ago. Other songs, like 'Ella and Chester' come out all at once. That was the last song I wrote for 'Beautiful Souls'. I thought it was so well suited for my new CD that I actually bumped another title that I was planning to include. Even after I feel that a song is written, and I begin to perform it at live shows, they can still go through a subtle transformation such as polishing the ending or slightly changing lyrics if they don't feel quite right on my tongue during a performance. But all of this is my favorite part. It feels like I am taking all of the stuff of life, the beauty, pain, emotions, experiences, passion, energy and love, and forming it, shaping it, and polishing it into something beautiful.

Next comes the recording. This was so much fun. Amanda Lyn Hornberger recorded this CD, and no matter what was going wrong (and things went wrong) she was positive and encouraging and we ended up sharing A LOT of laughs (one of which was recorded and inserted into 'Brighton Pier'!) After the recording comes the mixing. Amanda did most of this on her own, with a little input from me and Donna. Mixing is basically balancing all of the tracks and matching levels and things like that.

Having the hard copy of the completely recorded CD in my hands feels like a big relief but it is only temporary, because MOST of the real work (and by 'work' I mean not as much fun as writing and recording) comes next. Production was the biggest headache, mainly because this time I decided to save money and NOT pay the 'Art Department' for designing or formatting my Cd and its envelope. Navigating through the online templates and formatting the photos, etc. was one bump in the road after another. FINALLY, after MANY headaches, rejected proofs and phone calls & emails to the lovely support folks at Oasis, the Cd and cover were ready at last. The folks at Oasis duplicated the Cd, wrapped them up in the lovely sleeve that I designed, shrink wrapped them and mailed them off to me. When the shipment arrived on my doorstep, it felt like a major victory!!

Ok, so in my hands was my new CD filled with 10 new songs.....but would anybody ever hear it?  Next comes marketing!! Getting the word out, posting on Facebook, sending emails, texting friends. I had already scheduled a performance at The Yoga Place in Ephrata for September so I decided that the timing (and venue) was PERFECT for the release concert. Since space would be limited, I began advertising right away, thinking that it would sell out fast. ...... It didn't. Ever. {Insert lots of anxiety and worry here mixed with a whole lot of self pitying whining such as, 'why am I doing this anyway?"} It was about a week and a half before the concert when the seats started to sell. We didn't sell out, but I still breathed a huge sigh of relief when most of the seats were sold.

Now that I knew there would actually be an audience, I began to prepare the set list, which was one of the easiest tasks of this project. I planned to perform all of the songs from the new Cd and the rest of the space I filled in with special requests that folks were sending me through Facebook. Set list written!

The next task is the one that worries Donna the most.....CHOOSING MY OUTFIT!!! Poor Donna. Too many times she has witnessed me standing in front of the closet, tearing outfits on and off in a whirlwind of self-criticizing remarks paired with what I like to call 'wardrobe whining'. As the pile of rejected clothes gets higher my mood gets lower. But, this time the stars were in my favor. I tried on one dress that I had in mind to wear. It was a lovely oriental style, but it just didn't feel right for the night. Decided instead to wear the very glamorous shoes I bought for my last release concert, (in Brighton!) and I built my outfit from the shoes up. So, with only one 'rejected' outfit, this was a personal best. I think Donna wrote about this amazing and rare turn of events in her journal that night to remember always. ;)

Then there was a checklist of things to remember, chairs to bring in, snacks and drinks to purchase and dozens of other little things to prepare. I wrote my self a list of reminders like; remember to wear a watch, remember to bring the email sign-up sheet, remember to bring the box of new CDs (that was an important one!) We arrived at The Yoga Place with plenty of time to get everything in place before folks began arriving. Chairs were set up, the merchandise table was looking good and the sound system was plugged in and working. Phew! All I had left to do was to drink copious amount of water and wait for folks to arrive....and wait....and wait.....and start to worry. By the time the concert was meant to begin, one third of the reserved seats were still empty!! (Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic) Thankfully the audience was VERY friendly and there were many conversations going on in the room, so when I asked if anyone minded if we delayed starting by a few minutes, no one was bothered in the least. About five minutes later three different groups of people came rushing in the door. Phew! Another BIG sigh of relief from me.

Then there was only one thing left on my to-do list, BE AWESOME!

Done. :)

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