The Broken is about a band. Naturally, as I started writing the book, I realized I wanted to hear their music, too. After all, their music is my music; the soundtrack to their youths is mine. As I wrote a few weeks ago, a large part of the past few years has been spent working not on The Broken itself as a novel, but rather on writing, recording, and producing their music instead.
To date, I’ve completed all the songs for their first two albums, The Broken and For the Greater Evil, and have finished seven songs for their third (and final) album, We Don’t Even Exist. Some of them are cheesy, some are poorly recorded, but some of them came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.
The problem I have is that, with all my background as a composer, musician and writer, I’m not a singer. As much as I practice, I don’t have great vocal tone, and I can’t stay in tune to save my life. It’s not that I’m awful, but I’m no Malcolm James (the singer in the book), and I want the music to represent the music described in the book as faithfully as possible.
This leaves me with the idea of finding someone who can sing the songs, but I need a good metal singer with a similar range to me (the melodies are already written – I just need someone who can sing them more in tune than me), and I don’t have a clue where to find one. And even if I did, how could I trust that they would be able to pull off the emotion and drama that I want to be in the songs (whether I’m doing it now or not is debatable)?
I had this vision that I could release the book and the music as companions to each other – enjoyable separately, but more meaningful if taken in the context of the entire story. The albums could even be considered a soundtrack to the book. But if I’m going through all the effort to make sure that the book is as polished and professionally edited as possible, I really want the music to be a reflection of that, too. And try as I might, I just don’t think I have the vocal capabilities to handle the music I’m writing.
Ideally, I’d also get someone to mix and produce the music, since I have limited knowledge of that kind of process; but I need the instrumentals and vocals to be as well-recorded as possible first, and that means a decent singer.
There’s also a part of me that thinks the music may not be as good as I think it is, and I should just hide it under the rug, never release it, and leave it for my own personal enjoyment. But I really want people to know what The Broken sound like, and this music I’ve written is the closest approximation that I think I’ll ever come up with. And I think that if you’re going to read a book about a fictional band, you deserve to know what they sound like.
What do you think? Should I take vocal lessons? Keep practicing? Or look for a singer to re-record my vocals and do a better job of it? And do you want to hear these songs?