With hours and hours of video taken, hundreds of photos posed for in several locations, and an unplugged concert under my belt, I returned home to Florida. There, I would work hard at completing the album and get it out to Bentley Records for distribution.
I thought it would be a long time coming, as he was in the middle of doing his regularly scheduled video editing, doing my video as an extra project.
He was excited and in what seemed like only hours after I got home (OK, it was days, but still!), I got a call from Jeremy saying that a first rough edit was done and that he’d like me to see it. MAN! That was fast!
I have a feeling this guy works the way I do: Demos are more an “almost final, I just need to tweak a few things” entity than a rough draft.
The first cut of the video blew me away! I watched it several times, calling in my wife (then fiancé) Kerrie to take a look. I mean, here it was. ME. In a music video. And that’s MY song! (Cue angels singing, light shining from above…)
I called Jeremy after the initial awe wore down (who’s kidding, I am STILL in awe) and we discussed it a bit. We didn’t see some things eye to eye, nor could we each understand each others vision, but we listened to each other, again, respecting the artist in us, and came to some edit decisions. In the end, I know he is very happy and proud of his work, and I am ecstatic!
I have no trouble standing in front of a crowd and performing. Doesn’t phase me in the least.
Standing, sitting, walking, staring, smiling, singing or ANYTHING ELSE in front of a camera, however, is another story.
I’m not sure how long it took for me to really get comfortable. I think you can see me relaxing into it more throughout the video, but I had some trouble at first living in the lens.
Of course, it didn’t help that as I was getting my feet wet, learning to work with the camera lens, the day was fast approaching that I was going to have to get my feet wet for real for the final shot of the video.
As I said before, the final line of the song is, “I drown in my sorrow that I do not know how to walk upon the water.” It was apparent to us all that it meant I was going to have to TRY to walk upon water and fail! Any discomfort that I felt shooting video before rose to a whole new level as I considered what was coming.
So, on the last day of filming, with 2 changes of clothes in tow, I went to Lake Huron with Jeremy and Dot, picked a spot, discussed how we would get the shot and proceeded to do it. Of course, Jeremy wanted the shot down in 2 different ways, so I had to walk into the water and “drown” not once, but twice! I’m sure the folks on shore thought we were crazy!
Don’t let anyone fool you. Shooting a music video is FUN!
...and a LOT of work.
We had 5 days to get lots of photos taken, to do some interview footage for the promo, and to run around to all these locations to shoot the ideas that Jeremy had for my music video Walk Upon The Water.
Now, let me be clear. The hard work was before and after I was there, I’m sure. Jeremy and his wife, Dot, went location scouting in the weeks prior to my arrival, so they knew exactly where we would be doing all of the video. And then, I got to go home while they edited photos and video. Real rock star kind of stuff for me. Real work for them.
Jeremy has always been a real visionary in his work with video, and I KNOW his best stuff is still to come. I’m just glad he took interest in making my music video happen.
The thing is, he really did have a vision for what the video would look like. He took great care to set it all up. However, once in a while I would throw out an idea that I thought would be cool. We have very good working relationship, respecting each other as artists, so he tried my ideas and one even ended up in the video!
There is more to tell, but I’ll save that for another day…
When I was talking with my good friend, Jeremy, about my songs and the album, we decided that he would listen to the new tracks and give me some feedback. So, as I got demos done, then more accomplished in every song, Jeremy would listen critically and give me some feedback.
One day, I finally sent the first demo mix of Walk Upon The Water. This is a song I wrote during my former marriage that I never really completed. It is about feeling like someone expects you to be perfect, even TELLS you that you are perfect, insisting on it, though they never really accept it, and you being afraid to admit that you are not. The end line is “I drown in my sorrow that I do not know how to walk upon the water.”
So, Jeremy listens to this demo and gives me a call, insisting that it is a wonderful song, that it should be the title track to the album AND that he would like to shoot the music video for it, because he has already seen what he wants it to be. We discuss it, and though I am not totally sure, I trust my friend and his creativity to guide me well here.
So, the decision is made early on, before I’ve even finished all of the music and mixes, that this one song will be title track and have a video.
I finished the mix as soon as possible for a final to shoot video to, and went to Michigan and stayed with Jeremy and his family for 5 days. In this time we were very busy doing photo shoots, interviews, a live unplugged concert of the album songs, and all of the video shooting.
After working on these songs, and playing a live show, I began, all by myself in my home studio, to record the songs, but had no real idea what I was going to do with them. I just knew that I had to make the recordings!
Some time ago, I had sent in some music to be considered to be a part of their label. Now, mind you, they are a hip-hop label and I knew it was a longshot, at best. I was sending my songs everywhere, in hopes to catch someone’s attention.
Though the email was kind and ultimately a rejection letter, it did offer a potential distribution deal, since they recognized my talent and potential.
After a few email inquiries back and forth, I ultimately spoke on the phone with Troy Beelen, who pretty much explained the whole deal, process and everything. My songs would be mastered and distributed by Bentley, even marketed through their new software, but I would be responsible for my own recordings, artwork (unless I wanted them to do it) and creating my own way. He made me feel great and was very encouraging.
I had been writing some songs for the first time in quite a while, when I got an opportunity to play at an original music festival.I needed a solid 45 minute set, but only had around 20 minutes of material that I could feel good about playing live. I sat down to see what would come out, and quickly some ideas formed.
My process varies from song to song, but normally I sing or play into my iPhone, into the program Voice Memos. Ideas, snippets, thoughts, whatever comes out, when I am in the living room playing guitar, or sitting in traffic humming a tune, or whatever.
So, I began to have enough solid material to feel good about playing the festival, and I put a 3 piece band together to flesh it all out for a live show. When rehearsing the new songs, the drummer, my dear friend Matt LoMaglio says, “You know, if you put these songs in the right order, they tell your story.” And when I sat down and looked it over, he was absolutely right. From the frustration of my previous marriage, through the joys of my children, my continued commitment and dissolution in marriage, to a new relationship and renewed outlook on life, it was all there.