Vancouver Island Music Awards

Highlights of 2011

2011 started with a broken collarbone and a new album and is ending with new exciting album on the horizon. There were many highlights throughout the yearโ€ฆ here are a few.

Voices Three

It always gives me enormous pleasure to play music with quality people at a great venue while raising money for a very worthy cause. For me it’s the best win/win situation, so starting the year with that was very satisfying.

One Tree Hill

Having a new song placed on One Tree Hill was so exciting. I think it is the highest profile TV show I have been played on so far and I am very grateful to Crucial Music Publishing for getting me that placement.

Vancouver Island Music Awards

This was probably the biggest highlight for me. Not only did I get the award for Female Songwriter (which meant more than you can imagine), but I also took home the Artist of the Year which blew my mind!!! And even better, I had my family there to celebrate with me.

Vancouver Island Musicfest

This is always a highlight for me. Not only do I get to talk a lot of rubbish with the very funny Todd Butler, but I also get to introduce some really amazing musicians onto the main stage. Looking forward to it again next year!

Conferences

I love all the conferences I go to. I always get something out of each one but The OCFF stands out because I got to be a music licensing mentor and found that I really like imparting the knowledge I have, and the Taxi Road Rally, where I got to be on the Member success panel which was an honour.

Exclusive

I had a big decision to make this year. For a while my main publisher, pigFactory has been wanting to sign me exclusively but I was hesitant as it was a big step. Finally in November I decided to take the leap of faith and am now exclusively represented by them. It has certainly uncomplicated my musical life and they are wonderful!

New album

Through my new arrangement with my publisher, we are moving in a new direction and I will be recording a new album in the new year. In the past I have produced most of my music. This new album will have a fabulously cool producer working on it with me and I am so excited to get to work!

So those are my highlights on 2011. I still can’t believe that I get to do what I do. When I arrived in Canada I thought it would be cool to play some local venues. I never imagined any of this and I will always be grateful to everyone that helps to make it happen.

I hope 2012 will be a wonderful year for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

My Recording Set-Up

I have often been asked where I record and with what equipment. So I have decided to write a blog with some pics so that I can direct people to it when asked in the future.

I record at home. I recorded some of my first album with another producer/engineer and although I enjoyed the experience I found that I didn’t like the restriction that it put on time. I wanted to be able record when I felt like it and not match up two busy calendars to find some space.

To do this I had to have to move on from Garageband, an SM58 mic and crappy speakers.

So I invested some money in upgrading to Logic, buying 2 nice mics, a set of good speakers and a couple of preamps. I also moved on from my old Powerbook to an iMac desktop. Larger screens make for easier days!

The Interface

The interface that I bought was called Mackie Onyx Satellite, but I had problems with the main unit (which turned out to be a common problem with all the units) so now just use the pull-out section and it all works just fine. I am looking at getting a Mackie Onyx 820i which will also double up as a mixing board for live gigs.

Here’s a pic of my current Mackie with my 2 pre amps.

The Preamps

I have 2 mics so have 2 Joe Meek ThreeQ preamps which you can see in the pic above. It just gives me that bit more control over the sound that I am creating.

The Microphones

I have a Studio Projects B1 mic that at prefer to use for all my vocals, which is on the left below, and an Apex 460, on the right, which I use for recording guitar/uke either alone or with the SP mic if I want stereo guitar parts.

The Speakers

I have a lovely pair of Yorkville studio monitors. I don’t remember how much they were but I do remember that they were very good value for money!

The Software

I use Logic on an iMac desktop to record everything. I know that there is a divide between Protools users and Logic users. It was the program that worked with the Mackie interface so I chose it for that reason, but have really enjoyed learning to use it and think I will be sticking with it for a long time.

The Instruments

I have several guitars but the one I use for most stuff is my Taylor 314. It was a present from all my friends on my 40th and I love it!! I also use a Yamaha classical guitar and my newest baby, a Lanikai ukelele with DI.

So there you have it. That is my set up and I record almost everything at home. I get the occasional track produced by the lovely Scott Feldman when I think I don’t have enough equipment or midi skills for a larger production.

I am often asked what level of production publishers want to hear and I have come to the conclusion that it depends what genre of music you are producing. My initial limitations with the software, along with critiques telling me I had a compelling voice, led my to write and record lo-fi-ish style folk/pop with an emphasis on the vocals. Most of the time when I submit I am told that my stuff is broadcast quality, but the occasional listing which is looking for more top 40 type of stuff will return my music as not broadcast quality. So it really depends on who is listening.

Everyday I learn something new. It can be a new plug-in on the software or a mistake a I make in a setting which turns out to be a great new vocal or guitar sound that I like. I really like mistakes as they lead me to places I didn’t expect. Sometimes I can’t believe that I get to record this all at home and then it gets picked up for TV, Film etc.

After all the hard work I have put into this I found myself smiling when submitting my music to the Vancouver Island Music Awards and not omitting the ‘Producer’ category in my submission. It was a good feeling.