Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do You Bring It?

Do you bring the emotion?
As a performing songwriter, there are many aspects that go into putting a song out there for human consumption.  There is the crafting of lyrics and a melody that will successfully communicate your ideas. Then there is learning to play the song -- so that eventually you know it well enough that you have eliminated all the outbursts of swearing --  and the hands and brain can switch to autopilot. This allows you to concentrate on the effective delivery of the song to the listener.  
To prepare for recording, I worked really hard on getting the songs ingrained in my head. And then there was the matter of EMOTION. Bringing emotion to the words and conveying the intent of the song is something that my producer, Gary Beard, repeatedly stressed to me as we prepared for this trip. At times, I find that the technical aspects of delivery can cause me to hover just above surface of the song instead of plunging in and immersing myself. I have to stop and reconnect with the words.  

Kenny Royster

Our final day of the Nashville trip was spent in the studio, hanging out while Kenny worked on the mix, giving our input when necessary, and basically, being present for the process. In more than one place in his studio, you will see the word EMOTION written in all caps on a piece of paper and taped up where it is readily visible. It’s posted in the booth where I recorded my vocals, too. Kenny remarked that he can do a lot of wonderful things with a recording, but he can’t bring the emotion to it.  
Ah yes - the universal circle of emotion-expression-art-emotion. I must remember that.  


  1. Laura...this is a nice bit of insight, trying to express the sometimes inexplicable bits of artistic process. A composer recently shared that she's learned to "exhaust her materials" as an artist...her materials = a piano, sound, silence, time, pencil, paper (to write notations). That exhausting materials idea has gotten me thinking about writing as well...defining my materials...but the hard part comes with the exploration of exhaustion. Isn't it cool how this artistic exploration makes you feel young, a fresh kid...enjoying life... :-)

  2. oooh i love this concept - i especially like the idea that silence is among these materials. you're so right about the "exploration of exhaustion" - great term by the way.

  3. I can totally relate to being so wrapped up in getting things down technically that it's hard to let the emotion flow naturally. Good advice for anyone trying to create.