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khowie
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New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by khowie » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:59 pm

I failed my songwriting goals every year. This year is going to be different. I am going to complete (at least) one song per month. Here is a rough home recording of the song I completed in January. I am thinking the genre would be in Singer Songwriter. Looking for advice to improve lyrics, melody, chord progressions, etc. I'm still learning home recording and production, so tips on that would also be appreciated
Give me your thoughts. I am looking to improve my songwriting!
https://soundcloud.com/khowie/this-cage/s-rwu8X
Verse: Em C G D Em C G D Chorus: G Em C D G Em C D
This Cage
I stayed too long
because you would not leave
the past is your blanket
and your future is to grieve

There are no locks
but you hold the key
I'm getting out of this place
why don't you Come with me

(chorus)
We'll fly toward the sun
Leaving behind the dark days
Visit the stars
as kids we used to gaze
we made wishes and dreamed
of getting out of this place
I'm breaking out of this cage
We're breaking out of this cage

You lost your way
with his death did you part
too soon it happened
you're left with a broken heart

They say time heals
It's been many years
You're getting out of this place
why don't you Dry your tears

(chorus)

(bridge)
There are no promises
but we have to try
Let's break out of this place
and fly, fly, fly

(chorus)
We'll fly toward the sun
Leaving behind the dark days
Visit the stars
as kids we used to gaze
we made wishes and dreamed
of getting out of this place
I'm breaking out of this cage
We're breaking out of this cage

We'll fly toward the sun
Leaving behind the dark days
Visit the stars
as kids we used to gaze
we made wishes and dreamed
of getting out of this place
We're breaking out of this cage
We're breaking out of this cage

Why don't you come with me
Kelley Howie
Kilgore, Tx

johnlewitt
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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by johnlewitt » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:13 pm

It's a good start.

One quick question. What program did you use to record this? There's lot of little things you can do to improve the sound (i.e. the vocal is pretty raw, but you could but some compression on it and eq it to sound a little more polished).

As to the song itself, the chorus melody is close, but it could use a couple melodic tweaks - throw in a couple surprising notes to keep the listener interested. Plus I think a harmony vocal could really help sell it well to the listener.

And, I think it needs a bass line to help move the song along.

I hope that helps.

John

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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by PeterD » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:22 pm

Hello there!

Nice idea and a GREAT plan, but here are a few notes (in no particular order). Keep in mind, I’m more of a composer/producer than a lyricist, but have been known to do some nice things with a lyric sheet.

With all due respect, You’ve got a very stiff, “on-the-grid” feel with your syllables. You’re gonna hear a lot about the subject “sounding too stiff, or too MIDI.” There’s a fine line between sounding mechanical and an extremely rehearsed, tight, well-prepared musician.

Also, I’m assuming you’ll want additional instruments in there and melodies/harmonies?

I’m being reminded of Debbie Gibson in the late 80’s and I have a feeling you might not want to be. :) Check out Robin Frederick’s book about this stuff. She has great advice about that.

Your chorus at 1:04 it loosened up a bit, which felt better.

Is that how you wanted to end, or was there more?

I understand this is just a rough draft, but do you have Melodyne or Autotune pitch correcting software. It’s always a dream to have the “industry” see the same potential in your music that you do, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Your demo (even if it’s rough) needs to really shine.

Again, these are just my opinions. There are a lot of GREAT writers in here. The challenge is to get them to reply to your post. I hope my name (not that I’m famous 8-) ) draws some attention to you.

VERY best of luck with your venture!!
Peter
:D
If I log off, I may never be able to get back on ;)

Peter D'Angelo

http://www.taxi.com/peterd
https://soundcloud.com/moanakeiki

khowie
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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by khowie » Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:35 pm

Thank you so much John and Peter. I will put your advice to good use.

I am using Logic Pro X and fairly new to it.

You are right Peter. Debbie Gibson was not what I was going for. LOL
I have Robin's books and they are helping tremendously. Reading them and putting the techniques are 2 different things. I have read it but now it's time for me to put it to use.

I'll do some tweaking with your suggestions. and hopefully come out with a better result. Also, for future projects.

I plan to be more active in the peer to peer and take full advantage of everyones knowledge and experiences. :)

again, thank you so much for your time and responses. :D

Kelley Howie
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Kilgore, Tx

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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by mikeymike2000 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:51 pm

Hi there,

So here are some additional things to consider.

Chord structure:

I like the way you are changing the progression up from the verse and chorus. You may also want to try to introduce a new chord in the chorus by replacing one that is there now. This way it is a bit different from the verse and could give other ideas to the melody. Not that there is anything at all wrong with the melody. But using the same chords (even in different order) can cause the listener to lose interest in the story.

On this same line, the bridge is the perfect spot to introduce all the chords we have not heard in the song yet. - Paul Simon once talked about using every chord in the scale during the song and the bridge is there you use those strange chords that don't fit in anywhere else in the song. - This takes a bit of finesse and may not always work but something to keep in mind.

On the mix:

I would bring the drums up and add a bass line to fill it out.

I like the keys in the intro and then when they change to whole notes for the verse it kind of stops the forward motion of the song. Perhaps keep that motif going with the keys throughout the song.

Keep it up!

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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by burpo » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:19 am

Hey there K,

I won't comment on performance or production, since this is obviously a worktape.

I think this is a few re-writes from being commercially viable as country-pop.

Give the chorus more a lift and take phrases like "we used to gaze" and make
them more everyday and I think you're on your way.

Great work, so far.

-b
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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by khowie » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:05 pm

Thank you Micky and B

Thanks for the input and your time. I will be taking your advice in the rewrite. :)

I appreciate it so much

Kelley
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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by johnlewitt » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:28 pm

Since you've got Logic you've got a lot of powerful presets right at your finger tips.

For your vocal, you always want to present the song in the best possible light. So you want to create a vocal chain that does that.

On the Audio FX inserts of your vocal channel, select Dynamics/Compressor. Once that is loaded, try out all the factory presets in there and select the one you like best on your voice.

Then add in a Channel EQ. Once loaded, try out all the different presets until you like the sound.

Then you might want to add in a touch of reverb. In the Sends, create a send to Bus 1 from your vocal channel. On Bus 1, add in one of the 4 reverbs and again play around with the factory settings. Don't over do it, just a touch of reverb is nice.

This doesn't help you with your song structure, but it will help you present the next version of your tune better.

Good luck with it.

John

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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by khowie » Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:16 pm

Thank you John
I am pretty new to home recording so this advice is golden.
I'll give it try.

Kelley
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Re: New to Peer to Peer-looking for constructive criticism

Post by burpo » Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:08 pm

Dear K,

There is a guy on YouTube who posts as The Recording Revolution (Graham Cochrane.)

He's just great, especially for home studio beginners.

Cheers.


-b
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