Getting Out of My Comfort Zone...and Beyond
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Aside from being a professional composer for commercials, movies, apps etc., I really like to just let loose by writing songs and recording song covers. Sometimes I shoot videos of myself performing them, just for the sheer fun of it. Over the years, I started to realize, while my profession requires me to be really up to date with the current trend in music styles and genres, when it comes to songs that I choose to cover, I always chose old songs that I grew up listening to.
Maybe it's because those songs lyrics and tune are all so ingrained in my soul that it's just easier for me cover them, or maybe I was just so influenced by them during my younger more impressionable years. Whatever the reason, I think it's just a case of me being in my comfort zone. While this is comfy, I really do believe that being comfortable is like a poison to the desire to improve and grow. So I thought, why not just do a song that's new, something that I had never heard before. So there I was on one fateful evening, checking out YouTube for songs that came out this year. I stumbled onto James Smith's "Call Me When It's Over". I was just so captivated by the song that it made it easy for me to decide this was the new song that I would cover.
I thought I'd just do an unplugged version of the song, with me just singing and playing the piano, but then I realized it's been quite some time since I did an a cappella version of any song as The Five Jinxes (a video I did years ago covering Michael Bubles "Haven't Met You Yet), so why not do that? With that decided, I had to learn the new song and lyrics and this really was an easy thing, now with the Internet handy, lyrics were easily gotten and all I had to do was sing along with the song on YouTube again and again like I sang along to the radio all those years ago as a pimply-faced teenager.
Then it was time to record myself at my studio. The only difference is, since this was going
to be an a cappella version, I had record myself singing all the vocal parts that would take the place of the musical instruments in the original song. I was thinking of filming myself doing the different parts and putting all the different takes on one screen for the video (like a Zoom conference with multiple Jinxs), but my wife convinced me that doing an outdoor video with the Five Jinxes would be less monotonous. I'm glad I agreed to do it.
We decided to do the shoot at a nearby park, and after looking around some possible locations, we settled on a park bench under a large tree. After setting up the camera, I took
my position as the lead Jinx singer and sang along to the a cappella version of the song.
This was one of the locations we were thinking of shooting at...but it was too "enchanted-forest" looking for me.
After finding the right spot, it was time for video recording!
After one take for the lead part, I took a different position as the "bass" Jinx and did one take take of me singing that part.
Shooting the "bass" Jinx
This went on for all the parts of the vocals. What we didn't prepare for was the fact that the park was closing much earlier that we anticipated, so we couldn't record any additional takes for any of the parts. In fact, we didn't have enough time to get enough footage so we had come back another day to shoot some shots we needed, and even then, we didn't have a lot of time, because the sun kept disappearing into the moving clouds. Since this was an outdoor shoot, it was impossible to ensure that the shadows would not change position the during the shoot, but we decided to throw all caution to the wind and simply didn't let that deter us from filming anyway. We weren't going to let perfection keep us from just shooting and having fun.
Then it was time for putting the video takes together and thankfully, my wife is a wiz at video editing, so she handled all the technical details of that. If it were left up to me, the song would already be old before I would release this cover! So here's the video:
I am really glad that I decided to learn a new song to sing. As much as I love singing the old songs of my yesteryears, there is something lovely about singing a new song and making it part of your new history. I hope to do more of these in future, aside from performing my own new original songs (can't get any newer songs than that!)