This past week, I wrote my first song on a digital workstation (DAW)! It’s so amazing the resources that are provided – so many instruments, sounds, etc. For this song, I used Ableton. This was a huge milestone for me as I’ve had access to Ableton Live Lite 10 for the past few years since it came with my Focusrite interface, but I never quite “got it” until this week.
It really helped to have the deadline imposed by the class I’m taking (taught by the incredible Ryan Tedder). Plus seeing what some my peers in the class were posting, along with messages that this was the first time they were using a DAW. I realized that I must have been missing an important step if they were also beginners and were creating great recordings. So I did a little more research, watched some more videos and finally figured out the basics (such as the downloadable sounds) that I’d missed before.
I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m finally understanding the possibilities. In addition to creating a vibe for a song, the assignment was to sing a melody we felt went with the vibe (using gibberish just to be able to sing it) and then next was writing the lyrics and doing some light production.
My first “vibe” was very upbeat, but after witnessing what happened at the U.S. Capitol, I wasn’t in the mood to write a happy song so I created a different vibe. My classmates’ comments were that it sounded mysterious and the word “dream” kept coming to mind so I went with that theme for the lyrics.
The result was a song that I probably wouldn’t have come up with without hearing the melody and music first so it was fun to try a new approach.
The idea behind the song is missing someone that you can’t see because they’re too far away (inspired by the pandemic and missing family members that we can’t currently visit). It’s called “Let’s Meet in a Dream.”
I finished the song in time for this month’s Arizona Songwriters Association Songs in Progress meeting and got a great response. It was really encouraging as it was different from everything I’ve brought so far. Randy from ASA, who co-runs the sessions, suggested a different word in the chorus, which was a great suggestion. In order to make that change, plus a few other minor changes I wanted to make in the lyrics, I needed to rerecord it. I think the first recording had a better sound, but I couldn’t replicate it. Once I learn more about mixing, I want to go back and make some other changes, but for now I’m pretty happy with the results and excited about moving forward with other songs.