The holidays are a great time to celebrate stuff. So while we’re in a celebratory spirit, i’d like to honor some folks. In my world, the studio is a hot bed of creativity, energy, exacting expectation and great pressure to perform. There are some amazing people who have been a constant in my career for most of my adult life. I’m talking specifically about the studio session singers and instrumentalists in Nashville. Although this blog concerns our session singers, I will be writing about our Nashville instrumental musicians in an upcoming post as well (this will include drummers… just a little studio humor).😮
I bumped into Shelley and John Jennings today. She’s a consummate session singer here in town with artistry of tremendous swath. She works with similarly -gifted singers here in Nashville. If I started naming each one, this blog would go on far too long. But seeing her today was a catalyst of great emotion for me, and I needed to write through my feelings.
Every time I see one of these singers, I just want to cry because I’m so unbelievably grateful to them. So often in this town, talent is taken for granted. Some don’t realize the quality of musician with whom they’re working. People just assume that this is how it is everywhere. Well it isn’t. The competition is fierce, and only the cream rises to the top. Conversely, there is a tremendous spirit of camaraderie among the established singers.
Here’s their life from my perspective. Often they’re singing demos, jingles, choral sessions or live gigs from 10 in the morning till 9 at night. They are asked to scream their heads off all day long, and with full throttle emotion. Sometimes they’re asked to read charts that make no sense at all. There have been instances in a choral session where the client asked the singers to make up their own parts. Wacko stuff. Within the body of singers, there are those who actually act as arrangers and producers to move things along. They get no credit for that.
They have to put up with producers, I’ll confess, like me who say “that was perfect, let’s do it again.” They’re thinking, well if it was perfect, why are we doing it again. That is an obsessive paranoidal compulsion that I have gone to the confessional booth to ask for forgiveness and absolution many times….and I’m not even Catholic. (Trust me… I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg of all the missteps I’ve made with singers)
They have to put up with the mercurial nature of clients, artists, producers, arrangers as well as the recording and publishing companies. Sometimes they’re really busy and sometimes it’s dead. It’s certainly not an easy life.
I got a note of thanks the other day from Evie…my sweet sis. She told me how beautiful the choir sounded on a song we recorded 30 years ago. Those voices are the voices of whom I’m speaking. It wasn’t my voice. I just mix the salad….and put the right ingredients together. When you’ve written a song…they sing it back to you…and your musical dreams are realized… it’s stunning…..that’s what they do on daily basis.
So I celebrate you. I celebrate you because in every session you come with a smile, regardless of the struggles you’re going through or how you feel physically. You give your best even in the most mundane situations. You answer the call, you are professional and exacting with each note, phrase and breath.
I just wanna hug each of you over and over and over again. Thank you SO much for all you’ve done for me. I am way beyond grateful.