I’ve worn many hats during this project (I like wearing hats): composer, digital artist, font designer, video editor, website designer, copyright & licensing coordinator, agent, promoter... I expect there to be a few more hats to try on as things progress.
I hesitate to use the label “musician” on myself - I can read music but struggle with timing. I much prefer to use “artist” to describe myself as I feel it sort of encompasses everything I do: music, art, website design, and so on. I am starting to lean towards adding “composer” to describe what I do... creating, editing, recording music. Making music isn’t my job - life and my “day job” take priority at the moment. A hobby? It’s a little more than that... more like a passion I never knew I had in me. Finding the Music in Me.
VIDEO FIRST, MUSIC SECOND
I was really excited to make a video of my encounter with that family of hawks
. Initially, there wasn’t going to be any music. I downloaded a free video editor which included royalty free music you could use. Wouldn’t you know it, right after I posted the video, someone made a copyright claim on one of the songs. I disputed it (as per the app’s recommendation) and won. Right then I knew I had to make my own music so I wouldn’t have to deal with any such nonsense.
MAKING THE MUSIC
Funny enough, I had no idea where to start, other than knowing I would use GarageBand
on my iPad Pro. I sort of knew what vibe I was going for... some kind of background nature documentary soundtrack. My earbuds were not conveying the sound properly so I invested in a good set of wireless headphones - what a difference!
The first song I completed was Look Up
- the first song on the album and the first in the movie, Hawkish 2.0
. The album namesake song Hawkish
was the second song I finished. Oddly enough though, it is the fourth song in the video and on the album - it just fit better that way. Then came the sort of “filler” songs Flight
. I kept the order of the songs on the album the same as in the video.
By now I was short about 3 minutes of “soundtrack” with the length of video I had. Back to the drawing board and one of my favourites of the 6 songs, Mother Earth
came to be. This whole time and everytime I open GarageBand
, I was finding new ways to arrange and manipulate the instruments, and even made some bold choices like using the instruments in the Chinese Kit as fillers rather than keyboard or strings. This was originally the last song in the video.
Now happy with my background music and more or less satisfied with the footage (a lot of the video I shot was pretty shaky but I felt they were still important to the “story”) and photo arrangements, I posted the video on YouTube to show to friends and family. I still had an itch though. Somehow I went back to GarageBand and Freedom
poured out in less than a week. Hm, now why didn’t I put that one
in the video? For quite a while, I held onto that song, only playing it for a couple of people. I can’t seem to truly explain it but that one song IS
THE DECISION TO SELL MY MUSIC
I would never have thought this would be something I would do, especially when my music background is somewhat limited to what I learned taking accordion
lessons in my youth. But I had an epiphany one day - “why not try and sell your music?” I said to myself. “Get outta here,” I replied to that voice, “are you kidding me?” Apparently that voice was more convincing.
Little did I realize all that was involved with making this decision a reality. Very first thing I did was register a copyright on my album with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. OK, done, now what? Do I just send my songs to iTunes or Google Play or some other online music distributor? Whoa Nelly! Don’t you know you need ISRC numbers for all of your songs? Say what now? Lucky for me, I found just what I needed at Connect Music Licensing.
The decision to go through CDBaby as a partner to all music distributors really boiled down to one thing - having money earned deposited directly into your bank account. Though other sites offered pretty much the same services, most all gave you a credit to your account with them but you had to have a PayPal account to transfer it to to get your cash. CDBaby would do all the distributing to the stores of your choice and all the necessary artist and album information would be taken care of by them. Much easier than going through any one store independently.
The last thing I did was get all the songs professionally remastered through CDBaby and SoundLab. That last bit cost me a fair chunk but if I can make at least that money back, I’ll be happy. Designed the album cover, wrote up my artist profile on CDBaby and set the release date: March 9, 2018 - let’s just say, a significant day for me.