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Day After Day:
fate steps in

Every story has a beginning, and every song has a story…

For someone like yourself who appreciates music, I thought you might like to know how Vocalessence by Amy came to be. Each tile on the home page tells the story of the twelve songs which comprise this special album, presented in the order they were created in the studio, from the perspective of the album’s producer.

When you’ve finished reading this page (and listening to the music), click next and you’ll be taken to the next song story. (You can also use your browser’s “back” arrow to return home, or tap the album cover at the top, then select the next tile in order. It’s kinda fun!)

I hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at the making of a modern classic…

Once in a great while, a singer emerges in popular music and touches the hearts of many. You probably can recall at least one or two such artists in your lifetime that made that connection with you via radio, live performances and/or recordings. Icons like Carole King, Dionne Warwick, Karen Carpenter, Whitney Houston, Céline Dion and Norah Jones are among them. Artists capable of creating that kind of emotional impact are far and few between.

One fateful day, an aspiring singer arrived at my recording studio, Theta Sound, to make a demo tape. It was supposed to be a routine recording session: singer lays down a lead vocal part while listening to a backing track; engineer makes sure the part sounds good; engineer mixes the song; repeat the above for one or two more songs.

The first song, originally recorded by Céline Dion, went very well. Engineer (me) took notice; this singer is REALLY GOOD! Second song, more of a country style, also went well. But something happened with the third song (which happened to be an original by singer and her cousin). Engineer put on his producer hat. Realized that the backing track for this song was interfering with the singer during the choruses; and it wasn’t something that could be fixed in the mix. Producer/engineer asked artist for access to individual instrument tracks for song #3. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), those tracks were no longer available. Hmm…

After some deliberation and false starts at reconstructing the backing tracks from scratch, producer/engineer, and now musician and arranger, decides to try a different approach and rewrites the arrangement in a completely different genre and mood. Upon hearing the new arrangement, artist lights up! The next day, producer/arranger/musician/engineer records artist lead vocal. Magic is happening. Producer decides to arrange background parts for singer to try. Singer sings each part as if she had known it all along. Sparks are flying. New vocal parts are being recorded as fast as possible. A heavenly choir is emerging from our collaboration. Goosebumps… Next day, producer/musician puts down final instrument parts and mixes the song. Singer brings her mom to the studio to hear final mix. Everyone is blown away. Now what?

The “demo” is now a thing of the past. The other recorded songs will not be needed. An album has begun…


SONG: Day After Day
WRITERS: Amy, Nancy Hemmings, Randall Michael Tobin
PRODUCER: Randall Michael Tobin

next…  In a Heartbeat