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  • Performers on the Go

Singer songwriter Sam Chetkin takes on song production during quarantine

New music projects became the welcome focus during the Covid-19 quarantine.

New songs, new covers, new instruments learned, new media content, and pages in writing journals loaded with new songs in process, are just some of the music activities that kept our artists focused on their music and career progression during the at home days. Every artist set their own goals which were balanced with their school work, sports and other activities, and all used their time productively during the at home time. Performers on the Go is super impressed with all the new music, content and recordings which were developed during this challenging time. Additionally, many artists dedicated time to marketing their new music across streaming platforms, gathering followers and impressive Spotify streaming numbers. With close to 30 new songs written, a dozen released and many in production, 2021 has some great content coming its way.

Sam Chetkin, 16-year-old singer songwriter from Boston, MA, is one of our artists that took on new challenges during the lockdown phase. At the beginning of the summer, Sam decided to focus on some songs he had written prior to the pandemic, and thought it was a good time to see how they could be improved both vocally and instrumentally. With no ability to get to a studio in the foreseeable future, Sam decided to plunge into song production and create his own music with the tools he had available at home. For software he used GarageBand which was hooked up to his Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, which he was able to hook his guitar and mic up to, and manage to get a really clean sound. For four straight days, Sam dove into the process and completed his first demo tracks. Performers on the Go loved the transition the songs had taken, and feel his new found confidence will follow him to the recording studio.

This hands-on approach was a big learning curve, but he mastered how to fine tune and tweak the songs, to get them to a point where they could be sent to a recording studio producer for input and organization of a recording plan. He knew he could have found online guidance, but the wide-open challenge of using a trial and error approach enabled him to find features and accessories that could enhance the overall production.

Sam's experience taught him so much on how songs can evolve through the process:

"It was like a painter looking at a blank canvas, and I could add whatever came to mind at the moment and see how it all fit together. There’s just no telling what the songs are going to turn into or what you’re going to come up. It’s funny, there were points in some of the songs that for the longest time I thought were perfected and were never going to change, and once I had these new tools at my disposal, they were the very first to go. Then sometimes the parts I thought needed lots of work only needed a few tweaks. I am so glad that I started doing this before I eventually head over to the studio with these songs. It showed me just how unprepared I would have been, but now it’s all about how prepared I can get, which in the end I guarantee with make for a much smoother recording experience."

Sam felt arrangement of the song was at no point during the process set in stone, so it was fun for him to apply different ideas he came up with while playing the songs live and seeing how it would sound like with a full band. The arrangement was a combination of his ideas that were once on the back burner and him just playing with the software and finding the right sounds along the way.

At this point, Sam has two full songs completed, with a few more not far behind. He hopes to have a line up of songs studio ready in near the summer of 2021.

Sam’s biggest challenge of this experience was simply starting the project. He questioned whether or not he was ready for the challenge, but learned quickly once he started it he couldn’t stop, and he was fine with accepting an outcome that needed more work. Making it all on his own was the best part.

The two songs he finished demo’s of are two that directly juxtapose each other. The first song, 'Stay', is about dealing with a heartbreak, while the ladder, 'You remind me of something', is about the fun and excitement of young love.

Sam is proud of what he has learned from his experience and envisions having the recording in full swing in the spring and summer of 2021.

At the completion of two songs, Sam gained a lot from experience:

“This experience has changed how I think about my songwriting process. Now instead of imagining what support from a band would sound like, I can do it at the tip of my fingers. Any harmonies, solos, or beats in my head can now become reality in front of me. As a result, I feel this is a great approach for anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with simple recording software. It is fun and for me was the way to go."

To recap the advantages of this approach, we've summarized the areas Sam recognized benefits:

  • Saves studio time and makes you better prepared to have a recording plan well before the song is recorded

  • Helps the songwriter stay fully engaged in the production process for the duration of the project, thereby, having direct influence over its overall direction

  • Enables you to take a trial and error approach to applying changes, some of which you may incorporate before you get to the studio

  • Helps you solidify your song is ready for the studio, which will help you to be more confident throughout the process

“Music moves us at the level of the body, the brain and the group. The interpersonal synchrony that we achieve through making music links our minds and bodies, enhancing social cohesion, bonding and other positive outcomes.“-The Conversation

"Every new skill learned will enable the artist to become more independent and in greater control of their career development. This added power will drive more confidence to all music activities the artist engages in both in and outside the studio."-Performers on the Go

Written by Patty Duffey

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