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I’m going to start posting more of these covers, and what better place to start than this classic song? I’ve loved it since forever because it conveys such longing and loss, and those are two really interesting textures to breathe into a song. As I’ve been polishing my singer-actress chops, I thought this one would make a good exercise.
But there are so many great covers of it up already on YouTube, so I knew that I was going to record and post a video I would want to do something different with it. So I pulled it in a bluesier direction by switching the song from the original 4/4 time signature to 12/8. (Non-music nerds, listen to the song and count along ONE-two-three-FOUR-five-six-SEVEN-eight-nine-TEN-eleven-twelve to see what I mean.) Then I created an arrangement that was driven by some old school organ sounds rather than the usual piano or acoustic guitar-driven arrangement.
Warning: deeper music nerd talk ahead…
I mixed the whole thing in GarageBand using an AKAI MPK mini MIDI keyboard (which I love) to arrange the instrumentation. The vocals were recorded on a Shure PG-42 USB Mic, which has been without a doubt the best piece of gear I’ve picked up this year. I have a big dynamic and vocal range and I use a lot of different colors vocally. Finding a USB mic that can keep up with me has been one hell of a challenge.
I used the camera on my iPhone 6. Next time, I won’t start recording so late in the day. I’ve been trying to use natural light from the Seattle summer sun for my videos, but this ended up being the best take vocally and I was already losing the light. I tried to correct for it as best I could in iMovie, but the sound is what’s important anyway, right?
I synced the recording from Garageband with the video from my iPhone using a neat program called WooWave Dreamsync. Just a few drag and drop operations and a few minutes of waiting for the files to export yields perfectly synced audio and video from separate sources. It’s totally worth the $99 once you consider that you could spend hours sliding an audio file back and forth in iMovie to get a less perfect result. The UI is janky as hell, but it’s a smart piece of software and if you read the first page of the instructions, you’re basically golden.