On Ten Miles, I vowed that I would find a way to record in a real studio. By then, I had learned a lot more about music and production, enough to know that I wanted a warm, organic sound reminiscent of vinyl.
Recording in a studio made a huge difference, one I'm sure you can hear when you compare the two albums.
But one thing I didn't change was my desire for a recording process that felt as real as possible. So while you do hear a pop or crackle here and there on the album, you also hear, I believe, a really warm, intimate, and very human sound -- as if you were in the studio while we played. That was my goal. With the help of amazing technicians and engineers, along with some awesome musicians, I believe that I achieved what I'd hoped to, and I remain proud of Ten Miles.
One thing I didn't use was a device called Auto-Tune. As I understand it, Auto-Tune was developed in the late 1990's basically as a way to help singers sing more consistently in tune.
Now, I have been known to sing out-of-tune from time to time. It happens to all of us. I know, from paying attention to my body, that there are times of the month when I am more likely to have trouble singing in tune, so I want to avoid recording or performing during that time if at all possible. Otherwise, it's a matter of listening and practicing so that I know how a song feels in my throat and can then try to replicate that feeling. Not being a trained singer, that's as good an explanation as I can come up with. I'm sure trained singers could explain it better than I do here. At any rate, more and more recording artists in all genres of popular music are resorting to the use of Auto-Tune when they make their albums. There may be some perfectly understandable reasons for using the device -- perhaps the artist is making an electronica recording and wants to utilize the flexibility of Auto-Tune as another device to alter the sound. Or the artist is getting over a cold and is having difficulty making a couple of higher notes -- studio time has been reserved and is expensive, so you do what you can to pull out a good recording. I'm just guessing here.
Auto-Tune is an amazing tool for recording artists, but I don't necessarily think its use in the studio is always a great thing. Many more artists seem to rely on it than when it first came out, maybe just because it's there and can save you from a bad take or a bad recording experience. Or to make things a little easier for a producer whose more organic musical options are limited in some way. But in the end, those albums recorded using Auto-Tune and other devices designed to make a digitally pure sound may be losing something else in the process.
I believe in keeping the human element -- the quirkiness, unpredictability and downright daring of real performance -- in music. Music is made by humans for humans -- so why remove the risk-taking? I think that by doing that, an artist or producer risks removing some of the wonder and miraculousness of the enterprise.
So if you buy my recordings, you won't hear sonic, electronic perfection.
Because for me, anyway, that wonder and miraculousness, which can come at the expense of absolute perfection, is part of the point.
Thanks for buying and sharing my songs.