Getting Down to the Wire

It’s now been seven months since I announced my intention to record a pop album and release it during the first half of 2016 and four months since my most recent public update on that project. As we enter the second quarter of 2016, it is getting down to the wire if I am to fulfill my intentions. So how are things going?

The short answer is, while I have been making progress, and I am still hoping to finish the project by my self-imposed deadline, time is getting tight, and there is still a good deal of work to be done. As of my last update, back in early November, I had seven songs completed and confirmed, at least informally (i.e. pending formal licensing), for inclusion on the album, plus one additional song recorded, but still unconfirmed. The song that was the hoped for eighth song at that time is still unconfirmed as of this juncture. The holidays slowed me down big time, but I have since completed and confirmed one additional track, and I’m pretty close to completing one more track, which doesn’t need licensing since it was a solo write. Thus, depending on whether the one completed/unconfirmed track can be licensed, I will soon have completed either nine or ten of the intended twelve tracks for the album. The two new tracks are:

  • Don’t Blame Me — I wrote this pop ballad with Polish-born pop singer AGATA, back in 2002. The recording is brand new, though, begun in late October of last year and finished in early February of this year. While new recordings often take me quite a while, and this one took longer than many, the elapsed time to finish this one also included an extended break in the recording process between Thanksgiving weekend and early January. AGATA and I also agreed to release this track as an early “teaser single” from the album, and it is available now in most popular digital stores.
  • My One and Only — I wrote this wedding-themed, hip-hop-flavored pop song in 2011, and the recording is still in the works, though getting close. You can hear a clip of the recording as it stands now on its lyric page. (Since I’ll update the recording when it is finished, depending on when you listen, and how long it takes me to finish the recording — hopefully somewhere between a few more days and a week — it is possible you’ll be hearing the final product. If you’re reading this during April 2016, you can also hear the full-length recording as the featured song of the month on my home page.)

So what is left? Beyond finishing the current recording-in-progress, depending on my licensing success with the one as-yet-unconfirmed track, I will need to select and record either two or three additional songs. I already have the song for the next track in mind, but there is at least some question as to whether I’ll be able to arrange it in a musical style suitable for this project since it was originally written in a rock and roll style. (It fits the lyrical theme perfectly, though, so I’m at least going to try.) That will leave at least one more song to select and record — I have plenty of candidates in mind, but there are tradeoffs in areas such as the amount of work that may be needed to produce them, the potential difficulty in licensing some that are co-written, etc. These tradeoffs will be important considerations if I am to have a chance of meeting my goal of a release by the end of June.

In addition to the recording side of things, I’ll need to create artwork and liner notes, decide whether I want to make a CD available or only digital downloads (and create additional artwork, if there will be a CD), and generate all the licensing paperwork and get it signed. Of course, there is also my day job taking the biggest chunk out of my time on weekdays and at least one important family event coming up this quarter that will be competing for time and energy. Did I mention yet that it’s going to be tight?

I guess the bottom line is, though the deadline I set for this project is largely arbitrary, and wholly self-imposed, I am, at least for the moment, still treating it as the sort of fixed deadline that has some outside party waiting for the results. I’m cautiously optimistic that I may meet that deadline — the odds are at least reasonable if I can license the one song that already has a completed recording. That said, I do not intend to compromise on either the quality of the recordings or the number of songs to be included just to meet the deadline, and I also want to make sure the artwork and other packaging materials are on par with the recordings. Thus, if it becomes necessary to shift the release date out a bit to maintain the product-oriented goals, so be it. I guess we’ll know for certain in less than three months.

By the way, if you’d like to have a listen to the completed and confirmed tracks on the album at this point (or at any point between now and the album’s release), you can check out my “2016 Pop Album Candidates” playlist on SoundCloud.com. (DECEMBER 2019 UPDATE: This album was released on June 30, 2016. The SoundCloud playlist no longer exists, but you can listen to the final album on popular music sites.)