There are exactly three weeks left until my album playback! On December 10th at 6pm I'll be publicly playing my entire album "Constellations" in Studio A at the Hearst CCIM building at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. HOPEFULLY the album will be available online on that date as well but I can't promise anything just yet.
This past week I finished tracking which means the mixing phase will be in full swing now. Alexa played some beauuutiful cello parts for me and really brought the songs with strings to a new level (thank you Alexa!!). Here she is looking super epic/having a cello duel with herself:
As I draw closer to the end of this crazy project I'm finally starting to feel kind of good about how my mixes are coming along. Mixing is probably what I'm least the confident about with this whole music thing, and in my opinion it's one of the most important things (uh oh). I feel pretty good about songwriting, recording, and producing, but when it comes time to actually make everything sound the way I want it to it becomes a really scary process! Since this album will be my first true release, my big debut, I want it to be really perfect, which is very hard to accomplish in the amount of time I have to complete the album. Three weeks doesn't feel like a lot of time but I also know that a lot of work can be done in that amount of time, so I'm trying to look on the bright side.
Finally here's the poster I made announcing my playback. If you go to Saint Rose you've probably seen it around but if you haven't, here it is!
What I've been listening to this week: "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens
I finally had my album photoshoot last weekend! It was five hours of intense fun and pure magic. I felt like a pop star, switching between outfits, makeup looks, and hair styles (which was very stressful at times but overall really cool). Biiig shout outs to Judybelle Camangyan for taking the photos, Anna Miceli for doing my hair, Amarie King for styling me and giving me immense emotional support, and Maria McNamara for taking these sneak preview shots!
I've started working on the album artwork itself but I can't give anything away just yet ;)
Last weekend I also recorded saxophone on two songs thanks to Paul Evoskevich. He totally killed both tunes and made me wish I had written saxophone parts for every song! He also gave me a unique opportunity that I had yet to face as an engineer: working with a (very) professional musician. The second he stepped into the studio he was ready to play his heart out and give me the takes I needed. He even improvised a bit which was really spectacular.
Throughout the week I did a lot of editing work, the usual, and yesterday I had one of my most fun sessions yet. I recorded Nick on upright and electric bass while I played some rhodes and toy piano. It was really engaging to improvise parts into my songs in order to fill gaps. I still want to do a lot of synth works to make my mixes sound really full but I want to use as many acoustic instruments as I see fit before delving into the electronic instruments realm.
Thanks Nick's dad for taking this video of the session!
That's all for this week, subscribe to my mailing list and you'll receive an extra preview from the photoshoot in the next few days!
What I've been listening to this week: "5 am" by Russel the Leaf
I’ve also been getting everything together for my big album photoshoot this weekend, which will (if everything goes to plan) be a lot of fun. I dyed my hair pink, got lots of wacky accessories, and organized all my outfits. The only photoshoots I’ve ever done have been very small and casual so in comparison this will be wild! You can see a teaser of some of my accessories and a picture of me being an actual human rainbow below.
My blog editor keeps randomly deleting things, so I guess that's my cue to wrap this up! Look out for updates on my photoshoot. I'll definitely be posting about it on my other social media (links can be found at the bottom of this page)!
What I've been listening to this week: "Heart Hotels" by Dan Fogelberg
Another week of tracking and editing down and another week closer to my playback! I'm starting to feel the impending doom as my release date gets closer (my album's going to be finished in less than two months?!) but I also know I've gotten a lot of stuff done. It's been great showing people what I have so far and receiving lots of support, which I really need right now.
Moving on - thanks to Nick (pictured below) I now have some groovy electric bass on a few songs. Now that those songs have drums and bass I feel like they have a really solid backbone. I also recorded vocals for three more songs and only have three more to do. A couple songs are pretty much ready to be mixed and the rest only have a few instruments to track, so all is going well! If all goes to plan I'll have everything recorded by the end of October and the entirety of November will be dedicated to mixing (or at least telling myself that lessens the feelings of impending doom).
Over the weekend I got to go on a photoshoot adventure with my friend Amarie for her flute recital. We went to Minnewaska State Park with a super talented photographer. It was super legit and super fun! I've included a pic of me wearing a Bilge Rat shirt (I played a show with them on Saturday, check em out!) in front of a taco shack we went to on the way home.
The whole experience made me feel a lot more prepared for my own photoshoot that's coming up soon; plus being in nature was some much needed stress relief. Thinking about scheduling everything and making album art and editing and school work and EVERYTHING has been emotionally exhausting! My hope is that my photoshoot will be a really fun thing, though I guess I'll just have to wait and see. I'm not exactly excited to be so on display and feel silly posing for the camera but I am excited to have some album artwork.
Whenever I've had brief spurts of free time I've been working on my program for my album playback, and it's finished for now! You can see a little sneak peek of that at the end.
Thanks for reading and keeping up with what I'm up to! I've really been enjoying writing these posts.
What I'm listening to this week: "Animal Spirits" by Vulfpeck
The first day I was there I walked down the main road past all of the famous hotels (see the included selfies) and I couldn't help but feel like I was in some weird adult version of Disney World (because everyone around me was either drunk or half naked). Then when I finally reached the hotel I would be performing at, The Venetian, I was transported to an extravagant Italian palace! Every hallway and side room was decked out in beautiful paintings and gold decorations, besides the very modern conference center I performed in.
The next morning I played viola in front of 5,000 business people and executives attending the LinkedIn Talent Connect conference. It was a really cool and unique opportunity to play in such a professional and classy setting. All in all the whole trip was a nice change of pace from all the tedious editing I've been doing pretty much nonstop.
I had a nice moment waiting for me when I got back to Albany - my song being played on the radio!! Big thanks to 97.7 WEXT and the Local 518 show for playing my single "Ocean Song" on their program again. I actually got to hear it pretty much right after I flew in from Las Vegas so I felt like a superstar.
In the midst of school work, organizing a show I booked, my crazy travel schedule, and my job I also managed to record some oboe and electric guitar tracks as well as a lot of vocals. Conor Grocki lended me his wonderful oboe talents on a couple songs (thanks!!) and Jake Crofoot played his signature noodly guitar licks as well as some improvised studio magic.
Without giving too much away, here's a short preview that shows off Jake's guitar and my vocals:
Finally, here's an adorable bunny town that I found at a pumpkin patch!
What I'm listening to this week: "We Are Not Ourselves" by Foxtails Brigade
The recording never stops!! This week I tracked trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, euphonium, and vocals as well as finished recording violin. It felt good to escape from the confines of my (very messy) room where I've been doing all my editing and mixing and record some instruments I don't usually get to work with. Thanks Adin Kovacik and Judybelle Camangyan for lending me their glorious brass talents (sorry I forgot to take pictures of you!)
Here's a snippet of "Technicolor Sea" that includes all the brass and the last violin parts I recorded as well as Nick Cavin playing drums:
Other noteworthy moments this week were working on my mic techniques when singing live in my artist development class, playing a show in a barber shop, going apple picking, and performing in the Saint Rose symphony orchestra with the one and only Livingston Taylor.
Overall it was a crazy and fun week and it went by in a blur. Here's a happy moment from when I went apple picking with my besties at Indian Ladder Farm:
That's all for now! Don't forget to subscribe to blog updates in the sidebar if you want your email to be filled with rainbows.
What I'm listening to this week: "Sweet Relief" by Kimbra
So much has happened since last week! I've played more shows and recorded even more parts. This past weekend I played another show with Another Michael (you can go grab the new cassette of his album Sans here) as well as my first Alenni show with a full band (Nick Sebastiano, Jake Crofoot, and Mike Doherty).
The Alenni show was a really fun night full of great music. Callout Culture opened up the night with their intricate, experimental pops tunes, I jammed out with my bandmates (including a guest appearance of Connor Benincasa of Comfy on drums for a couple songs) for a very sweet and friendly crowd, and dollys closed out the show with one of the best sets I've seen in awhile. All in all it was one of my favorite shows. I even a had merch table with mugs and pins! The mugs sold out (thank you everyone who bought one!) so I'm looking into options for getting more. Look out for them on my store page!
As for recording updates I finished recording my viola parts, I recorded almost all the violin parts (thanks to the lovely Jahna!), and I recorded all of the drums for the album. The drum session was easily the craziest session so far and I couldn't have done it without the help of Judybelle and Collin (so so much thanks <3). The session lasted about eleven hours and I recorded nine songs. A huuuge shout out is warranted for the drummers for putting their all into their performances: Nick Cavin, Mike Doherty, Collin Bevan, and Connor Benincasa (who came all the way from Utica!!) Here are some epic shots Judybelle took of the session:
The toughest thing with this whole project so far has been the comping/editing. It feels like a never ending pile of work that will only grow as I record more instruments. It takes a lot of effort to stay on top of editing everything as I record it and even after I edit everything I have I just record more and have more editing to do! I can only dream of the impending gratification when the album is finished that feels so near yet so far away.
To close out this post here's a clip from my show. Check out and subscribe to the events tab of my Facebook page to keep up with my live performances (click HERE!)
Thanks Stephanie Sebastiano for taking videos at my show!
Thanks for reading/listening/watching!
What I'm listening to this week: "imitator" by dollys
Since I last wrote I played three shows with three different bands, recorded flute and viola for my album, and performed at a tech conference in New York City. Busy busy times!
On Thursday Amarie laid down some killer (and by killer I mean super adorable) flute tracks on a few of my songs. It made me want to write flute parts for everything! She is seriously so talented.
I've been playing keys, guitar, and singing for Another Michael and on Friday we had our first show with the new lineup! It was such a great time. Playing music you love with people you love is probably the best thing in the world.
The next day I played with Another Michael again as well as The Plastic Faction at an event held by Newlywed Records in Utica and THEN I played a solo set back in Albany. It was a hectic day but getting to hear so many different bands with different genres was a real treat. I feel really lucky that I get to do what I love so often.
A millions thanks to Nici Alex Photography for this photo! Check out her other photos of me from this show as well as all of her amazing work here.
As if four gigs in one week wasn't enough, I had one more performance in NYC for a tech conference at the Waldorf Astoria. I was the violist in a small ensemble and had the opportunity to play with some very talented musicians. The art deco styling of the building was jaw-dropping. I could have taken pictures of every single pretty shiny thing that I saw but I only got a photo of the chandelier in the grand ballroom, and I think it speaks for the grandeur of the entire hotel.
Finally, once all the gigging and traveling was over (for now), I recorded the viola parts for most of the songs on my album that have strings. It's always a little lonely working in the studio alone but the payoff of getting work done and recording more instruments makes it worth it (plus look how pretty the studio is!)
Thanks for tuning in! Here's a preview of Amarie's sweet flute and piccolo skills.
What I'm listening to this week: "If I Had a Dog" by Frankie Cosmos
This past week was full of album progress and birthday celebrations. I was able to get into the studios a few times as well as schedule a weekly time slot. Everything is going to plan!
To start off the week I embarked on an epic birthday adventure to New York City with some of my close friends. We saw an amazing performance by EXO-TECH, an improvisational collective started by Kimbra and Sophia Brous, in Brooklyn, found a super cute candlelit bar with some pinball machines, played with the cutest kitten in the world (thanks Amelia!), saw an old friend from high school (shout outs to the original Emilia), and visited the oh-so-eye-popping Nintendo store.
I spent two long sessions recording acoustic guitar and even a little bit of organ. There were a few hiccups here and there but it all worked out in the end. It's so exciting to see these songs come together! I'm happy I got the guitar done but now my fingertips are very sad. Plus I've been playing electric guitar for Another Michael so my fingers are extra exhausted!
Last but not least, my coolest birthday present was by far these Mackie monitors. They've been great for editing (and for impromptu Beyoncé jam sessions) and I can't wait to mix with them.
That's all for this week! I have another session tomorrow and a whole bunch of gigs coming up so I'll have a lot to update on soon. Thanks for reading and here's another preview!
What I'm listening to this week: "Teen Heat" by Kimbra
Today marks my very first recording session! I tracked the entirety of the piano on my album which makes me VERY excited. Playing a beautiful Steinway grand for five hours was a great way to start my day. Everything sounded great and made me feel inspired and motivated. Most of the times I've recorded my music I didn't have access to high-end equipment, so hearing the piano lines sound pristine and powerful made the songs come to life.
None of this would've been possible without the help of some true heroes; thanks to Judybelle for setting up microphones, Collin for pressing record many, many times, Nick for being supportive, and extra thanks to Judybelle for taking these amazing photos!
Here's a tasty little preview to wrap this up:
What I'm listening to this week: "Char" by Crystal Castles