As I wrote a few weeks ago, although I’ve momentarily paused on work for The Broken, I have been working on a few songs to compliment the book in the style and genre of the band described in the book itself. A heavy nu-metal band in the early nineties, their songs are filled with angst, rage and torment, and often describe the feelings of neglect and abuse arising from their upbringing in a poor, run-down section of Paterson, NJ.
For those of you who aren’t aware, my background is actually in music composition. Whilst I specialized in classical composition, I’ve always had a love for the power and raw emotion of metal, and when it occurred to me that I wanted to know what The Broken‘s music actually sounded like, I knew what I had to do.
I have a reasonable level of proficiency in music production software; that is to say, I know how to operate the software, although I don’t necessarily know how to get the best results from it. Additionally, I am a reasonable keyboard player, and can muddle my way along with a bass guitar, I can’t use a pick and can’t properly play guitar.
This means that, short of hiring a band to perform my music, I have to program it. The software I use has decent, if not perfect, sample libraries, and I’ve been able to recreate a fairly authentic guitar sound. The drums sound good, and the bass is heavy and deep, but the singing, sadly, can’t be digitally recreated. Someone – namely, me – needed to actually sing.
And herein lies the rub. I am not a talented singer. Lost in the behemoth of a classical choir, I can hold a tune and pitch in at full blast, but solo on a song … not so much.
The rap/spoken word parts, the screams, all of that I’m okay with. But singing just … as much as I try, I always sound a little flat. I’ve had advice from increasing my airflow to imagining that I’m directing the air to the top of my head, but nothing really seems to make a huge difference. It’s good enough for me to listen to for my own enjoyment, but nothing I’d feel comfortable positioning as a genuine accompaniment to the novel itself.
I’ll keep practicing, of course; I sing in the shower, and in the car, and I always sound better to myself than I do on recordings. I may never achieve a voice worthy of musical publication, but then again, that isn’t really the point.
The point is to enjoy myself, to create, and to love what I create. And to that end, I’ll probably keep singing in the rain … even if no one wants to hear it.