This post is killing two birds with one stone.The MOST exciting is that my long-awaited duet with Loralee Christensen is finished and uploaded at the bottom of this post. At last!
Also, this is week three of February’s Self Portrait Challenge. The theme is “Black and White”.
I have wanted to do a series like this for a long time. I prefer a strong contrast in black and white shots and I have prominent features that can pull it off. True, the color on the IPOD and the heavy contrast is akin to those prints you used to hang in your room in Junior High, you know, where the woman has a tear running down her face and her either her lips or a rose has a hint of red to it?
So, forgive the cliche, but I like these.
I picked a secondary theme of music for this series.
WHY, you ask?
Brace yourself. This is long, but it represents six MONTHS of planning and work, so it should be.
Last June, I received a very lengthy, very amusing fan email from a vocalist in California. Her name was also “Loralee”. She was even a “Loralee C.”! She was Googling herself in the middle of the night and found my blog. Just from THAT information, I knew we were going to click, and we have. She calls me “LL” and I call her “Thing Two” or “Thingy” for short. It is just too WEIRD to call another person “Loralee”.
I heard her CD’s and raved. She saw my dorky youtube videos and was very complementary.
About 6 months ago, we started discussing the possibility of recording a duet together. This is no small consideration, since I live in Utah and she lives in California. One day, though, we just decided to DO it.The next issue was what on earth to sing?! Thingy is all rock and roll and I am classically trained.
She came up with such a great suggestion, I am ashamed I didn’t think of it myself. I love the song, “For Good” from the Broadway musical, “Wicked”, a story about how the witches of OZ became who they ended up. This song has such a sweet melody and the words are so emotional and meaningful to me.
She wanted to record it and asked if it would be a good idea. The answer was, “HELL yes!”
Once we decided that the project was a GO, we began the very long process of recording and mixing. Loralee 2 laid down her tracks in California and then sent it to me. My parents got me studio time for my birthday and I laid my vocals down in 70 minutes.
There were some concerns on my part. I have never recorded solo in a studio, and this was a stretch for me vocally. To quote my brother, “Where did your opera voice go?”. I love singing like this, but to be honest, I am usually not allowed or asked because a lot more people can sound like this than when I sing opera, if you get my drift. Liken it to being Dark Karo Syrup your whole life and then switching to being Light Karo Syrup in an hour.
People ask how we managed to “Blend”. This would be the almost 25 YEARS of choir I have participated in. You get good at matching people if you do it enough.
Besides being much less experienced than Loralee 2 at studio recording I had another fear about this project. This song is just about as emotional as it gets for me. I don’t need to go into it, but I was worried how I would do. I had to book my session 2 months in advance and it fell just a couple of days after a huge, horrible fiasco in my life. The day of my session I felt like a humiliated, despised, guilt-wracked heap of pathetic.
I didn’t think I would be able to eek anything out during my session. Is it was, I came of lighter and more nasally then I would have liked but this might have something to do with the tears and the mucous that came as I snotted all over the microphone at times. The sound guy was very understanding and he had plenty of water and tissues on hand for me to use.
In the end, I just grasped the lyrics for what they were: Take hard things (And the snot-drenched) , and try to get by by remembering what good came from it.
So, I did.
I sent back my vocals to California and then “Narren the Amazing” stepped in and worked his magic.Narren is the dad of Loralee’s son. He has a studio in his house and he is the one that recorded Loralee2 and mixed EVERYTHING for us. He put in all the instruments you hear and blended us together. He is so talented. Every time I listen I hear some tiny detail that I cannot believe he thought to add. What an ear.
I think the end result is that we sound really good together. It was a stretch for both of us, but it was so worth it. This has been one of the highlights of my life. It is just a perfect story, a perfect song and a perfect experience for very imperfect people.
The moral of our fairy tale?
Never underestimate what a bit of rampant narcissism at 2 am can garner you!
Enjoy it. WE did.
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(I need to mention that if Jonathan had not left my three boxes of vocal memorabilia on my driveway in the RAIN while we were renovating our basement, there would probably be more photos of me actually singing n’ stuff…)