Calling All Singers—let’s Write a Song

When I first started working on my own music album--and writing about it at Macworld.com's Creative Notes blog--I wanted to make it an interactive experience, where readers can participate by asking questions, offering advice, and giving feedback. And in the 11 months that this project's been going on, that's worked out really well.

Then I thought: what better way to get people involved than to actually write a song with one of my readers?

So that's what I'm doing. I'm putting the call out to all singers. If the rock and hard rock genre is your thing and you want to contribute your vocal and lyric writing abilities to a song, keep reading to see how you can participate directly in this album-recording project.

I have already included many of my Mac-using musician friends from around North America for different parts of the project. My remote crew includes a bass player in San Francisco, a drummer in New Jersey, and a guitar player in San Jose. There are also some special guests that will be playing on the album too, but I'm not ready to talk about that just yet.

The way I've worked with musicians to this point has been to send them a WAV file of the demo. If it's something they liked, we would discuss ideas for the direction of the song, possibly adding a breakdown, extend a verse or add in a chorus.

While I'm making changes to the music, the person I'm working with begins writing the lyrics. When I'm done with the final music demo, I'll send that off and we'll take a listen to make sure it matches our initial ideas.

Then it's time to lay down the vocal track. Once the vocals are done, I get a WAV file of just the vocals sent to me, and I add it to the demo. I'll bounce out a mix and we'll take another listen.

Of course, background vocals need to be done, which requires a separate track. That can be done with the first vocal take or later on. From here, we evaluate the song, and, if it's where we want it to be, we start tightening up the recordings.

Currently I have about 20 songs in various stages of completion (music only), with about half in demo state. The music is pretty much straight-ahead rock in the vein of Velvet Revolver, AC/DC and Zakk Wylde. Good blues-based, foot-tapping music. I've got an acoustic ballad type song, right up to a heavy riff that I tuned down to Bb. There's a little something for everyone in there.

So, what is it you will need to contribute to the project? A voice that fits with the genre that I'm writing the music for and a way to record your vocals and send to me to plug into the song.

While this is my personal project, I will be writing about our experiences collaborating on the song for Macworld. It doesn't matter to me if you're in a band and just want to take a break and work on this with me or if this is your first time singing. I'm looking for strong lyrics and vocals.

What's in it for you?  Well, like I said, this is my side project. Macworld's not involved, so I can't promise you a cool forums avatar or Jason Snell's home phone number.  But in exchange for all of your hard work, I'll credit you as a writer on the song when it gets released on iTunes and give you a cut of any profits on the song.

If you're interested in working with me on the project, send me an MP3 of your singing abilities to my e-mail address.

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