Singer, Songwriter slash Mom
Regular Posts Tagged ‘Ken Eros’
1st Jul 2011 Posted in: Blog 3

Getting a song on TV is called “synch.”

For the uninitiated, “synch” is what you call it when music is synchronized with a visual image – as in a commercial, a movie or a TV show. My first experience with this was when my song “Beautiful Tree” was picked as the theme song for the CW show Life Unexpected.

(Actually, my first experience was when my song “Yosemite” was licensed for a rheumatology¬† nurses’ education video. But you probably didn’t see that.)

Once upon a time, synch was the biggest sellout, and in my naive youth I dissed many artists for licensing their songs to commercials. But that was when the way to obtain a new album was to pay for it. Nowadays, it’s very respectable and everyone knows it’s the only way to get the money to make the next record.

Synch is desirable, then, because it’s one of the few ways to actually still get paid. And it’s also awesome because it’s passive, meaning that if you place a song somewhere it can make money without you being present.

I go to at least one music conference a year, like South by Southwest and Folk Alliance, and as a result of religiously attending and asking questions at many panel discussions and following up afterwards, I now have agents who promote my songs for synch placements. These placements take two forms. The first is if someone wants to license a recorded track from one of my albums. The second is when I get word of an opportunity to record a song on spec.

These opportunities read something like this. (Actually they read exactly like this, as I’ve copied and pasted a real request but redacted it.)

“1. Main Title Song!¬† Something fun, feel good, upbeat to kick off the movie – rock or alt/indie rock.
** unreleased, new or releasing in summer 2011

2. End Title Song РSomething anthemic / triumphant / bright in an indie-rock / alt-rock kinda way.  big track, nothing too thin production-wise
** could be lyrics about life or love”

Then I decide if I think I can pull it off and if so I email a couple of people I work with to see if they have time to work for free with the possibility of getting paid someday. Then I either choose a song to cover (if that’s appropriate) or write something, and we record really quickly, send the song off and…then we wait for a week to three months! Yay!

So the song I recorded day before yesterday was a cover song, which I love to do. Earlier this year I wrote a song for the movie version of a book, which was a very interesting writing assignment. I’ll hear back about both of them later this summer, and I will either post my unbridled excitement or my disheartened frustration on this blog.

About the blog: okay, so I did all that work getting it good to go and had an airtight plan to create interesting posts every day. As you can see from the haphazard posting schedule in the archives, this is something I’ve never quite achieved. But now the infrastructure is awesome and all I have to do is generate content on a regular basis. So I made my first video, and I had my first contest (“write a haiku”), and I had a great response (10 haikus!). And then…I went to go visit relatives in Boston. And then, less than two weeks later I went back to Boston because one of my beloved aunts had passed away. And after that, for a little while, I didn’t feel much like posting hilarious observations about life.

And now it’s summer, and my 14-year-old daughter is not yet driving, so my days are…amorphous, shall we say.

And it’s not like the world is pounding down my door to read the musings of a semi-rural singer-songwriter/mom.

But…I hereby commit – to myself, as well as to those early readers who have actually come this far – not to regular content – but at least to slowly but surely continuing to put my heart into this blog, because I’m inspired to do so, largely because I’m so moved and entertained by this guy and want to blog kind of like him when I grow up.

Thanks for reading this far.


1st Jul 2011 Posted in: Blog 6

Okay, so today’s recording session is for a song we’re pitching for a project that revolves around a holiday. They’re accepting originals and covers, so we’ve picked a cover. This is my second time working with Ken Eros, and may I say, it’s fun! He seems to be my go-to guy for fun & creepy tracks. Doesn’t that sound pitch-worthy? (And I think I just gave away the holiday.)

Most recording these days doesn’t happen in a traditional recording studio but in someone’s house, and that’s the case today. Ken has a bitchen pro studio with a little vocal booth in the corner.

I wish I could say more about what he came up with, but I can’t talk about it until the song is accepted or rejected. But I will just say that I don’t really know where he gets these trippy ideas but I’m glad to be able to work with them!

Once upon a time (oh, about five years ago), I went to Austin to record the vocal tracks for Cinderblock Bookshelves. I was intimidated at the prospect of attempting to realize the vision I’d had in my head for so long, and relatively inexperienced at singing in an official studio. A common refrain from Mark Hallman was “Uh oh, Timid Girl is back.”

Deep breath. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough…” Dig in. Luckily Mark is the voodoo master upon sensitive female singer-songwriters (and not in a creepy way).

But then Mark and I did Internal Combustion, and if I can sing “Let’s Get It On” in a studio full of guys (particularly the line “stop beating around the bush”), then I can do most anything, studio-wise (except maybe cover “Love to Love You, Baby”).

So I had to laugh when I did a few takes in Ken’s studio (which were going very well, btw), and then he said “Okay, now why don’t you do that line again, but a little less ‘sexy’ this time.”

Okay, okay. It’s just that I’ve spent the last four weeks in sweatpants driving a kid to basketball practice, so I’m breaking out a little.

And this is today’s dispatch from the exciting, glamorous world of an indie recording diva! Next post: everything you wanted to know about Synch!