«Studio 24 Sessions» (2008)

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My very first music project was with Studio 24, previously known as PT Studio, in Stavanger, Norway. This was all the way back in 2008. The studio is really both a music school and a studio and my story actually started with me signing up for a singing course there. At that point I thought that the only way possible to make music demos was to sing the song melody out, and because my singing voice was so horrible I was hoping they could help me get a good enough voice so I could sing on my own demos. That was my mission when signing up for the course. After a few vocal sessions with music teacher and studio manager Adrian Peter Ronaldsen I realized it would be a challenge to get my voice good enough for this. Also, I was really not comfortable singing, or trying to sing, at all and I felt embarrassed for even trying. After a while the teacher and I discussed what I really wanted to do and the reason I signed up for the course in the first place and when he understood that it was because I wanted to get all the music I was carrying out he hooked me up with his colleague, Odd Vegard Sunnanaa, who would help me with my very first professional music demos.

We started working on four songs. Odd Vegard recorded some basic instrumental tracks with a drum pattern and a guitar oriented arrangement and I (unfortunately) had to sing the songs myself the best I could. The vocal performances are awful of course but the experience was wonderful because I for the first time got a real music product out of something that I had created which was an amazing feeling. The songs we worked on were these:

  1. «An angel just like you»: originally a mid-tempo pop ballad which on this studio demo got a more rock oriented sound. Odd Vegard has put some additional vocals on top of mine in some parts of the song, which makes it better because he has a much better voice than what I have. 
  2. «One more night»: was also supposed to be a much slower pop ballad with a piano hook part. This also got a more rock feel than originally planned but I think it works very well. This is a song that I really like and I think it would be interesting to know how a finished recorded version of it with a good vocalist would sound like.
  3. «She came home today»: a very simple pop song with a good melody. I would also have loved to hear a recorded version of it with a good vocalist because I don’t think that my poor voice makes it justice. For some reason I always thought about this song as my «And I love her» song, the Paul McCartney written Beatles song. I dont know why, because they are not similar at all, but I guess it´s just because both are very simple and melodic songs. But this is just in my head, I don’t think anybody else will understand why I think that way.
  4. «Ain´t nobody like you»: like all the other songs this one was also supposed to be a more pop oriented song which ended up as a rock oriented demo. This is the one of the demos that I am most dissatisfied with. I really like the song itself but first of all my vocals are too dark and too low in the mix. I don´t think that the melody comes out enough. There is also something with the timing in one part of the chorus that me and the producer hear different things on. He wanted me to wait and drag out one sentence in the middle of the chorus, which to me does not sound right. In my head the chorus has another flow. So all in all it´s not the most successful demo in my opinion but it´s nice to have something recorded anyway.  

Besides recording these four demos Odd Vegard Sunnanaa was the one who showed me Garageband and told me that I could make demos using my Mac and a midi- keyboard. This revolutionized the whole music making situation for me. Up until that point I had tried to sing some songs onto some cassette tapes to remember the melodies, but mostly I had the majority of the songs in my head. And as everybody knows, there is a big chance to forget and lose the songs if you don´t record it. After my time at Studio 24 I began making very simple home demos on my computer using Garageband. I tried to get down as many demo sketches as possible so as few melodies as possible would be forgotten. On these first edition of home demos I had to sing the melodies. It wasn’t until I had a meeting with Inge Engelsvold, the producer who would end up producing my Dreamwork album several years later, that I got the idea that I did not have to sing. He told me during that first meeting that I could play the vocal melody with an instrument instead, and after that day that’s what I started to do. So I recorded new instrumental versions of many of the same songs several times and the quality improved each time.

The «Studio 24 Sessions» was the project that got it all started for me. I have the demos we recorded on my computer and considered putting them up on my website as the first project but I decided not to do it because I don´t feel comfortable letting anyone hear them. But maybe one day…