Recording this CD has indeed been a Journey.
I think of it as climbing a mountain. I started out alone, but as I continued to climb I met and reconnected with a lot of wonderful people along the way.
The Journey begins with an idea: record a CD of Ballads.
Then the process starts. Which songs? I selected some old, some new and some were actually written for me. Talking with a dear friend, Steven Hurd, he begins to sing this song for me over Skype called “My Bride”. I literally lose my mind over Skype and demand that he send me this song first thing in the morning. He does. I contact Lionel Wharton, another dear friend with whom I’ve worked over the past years doing various Gospel concerts with the Freedom Family. He invites me out to his house so we can have a writing session. He puts on a pot of tea and we go to work. We come out with “The Storm”. Having never even touched the tea, mind you. It was one of those inspired moments. Magical, but I needed help with the lyrics, so I call another dear friend, Nazley Young, who also happens to be this amazing writer/singer/type person who helps me co-write the lyrics for “The Storm”. Nazley gets so inspired that she writes a song for me called “Strange Love”. She also does background vocals on various tracks throughout the album.
The Journey continues and brings back people into my life that have meant so much to me over the years.
As we continue to climb this mountain all sorts of friends assist me on my walk. Alvin Mills, bass player extraordinaire, is one of those people you just thank God for. His experience and dedication to music makes me a better musician. The only problem with Alvin is that if you have recorded any tracks before he’s played on it, there is a great chance you will have to record the song again. Which, as expected, was the case. He just takes things to a whole new level and I had no choice but to reach for a higher goal after his contribution.
Frank Dapper and I have worked together throughout the years. It was a great joy to have him join me on this Journey. You will find that his drum playing is inspired and passionate.
Speaking of the past, Uwe Metzler came into the project somewhat by accident, but what a wonderful accident that was. Uwe actually used to be my guitar teacher. I had two lessons, and I wasn’t very good! Thank God for Ebay; that’s where I sold my guitar. So nice to meet up with Uwe once again.
Hansmartin Eberhardt, is just incredible. He plays the saxaphone in a way that is breath-taking. He lends a special contribution on the project as well. It wonderful to have him back in my life.
Now at this point we’ve reached the point in the Journey where we have the idea of the songs ready but the question now is where to record. I immediately think of Alex Kleyman and we end up recording all of the songs except one at Mellowave Studios. Alex is simply awesome. The atmosphere he created in recoding these songs was just excellent. Alex and I have recorded before on a project I did many years ago. It was great having him back in my life and having him take this Journey with me.
This experience leads to another friend from the past coming back into my life. Alex Kilb and I have worked together on many projects in the past, so when I was considering the Mixing and Mastering he said, “I know someone who would be perfect for you. And you can do the Mix right here in my studio.” (House of Music) That was the best advice imaginable.
Alex introduces me to Jack Breyer. Jack is one of those people who just simply knows what he is doing. This is not practice for him. He has ears like a fox and magical fingers. As I continue to climb this hill these wonderful people just seem to come out of nowhere. It’s almost like it’s all a part of some big plan. Along with meeting Jack we work with Arne Quitsch. Arne also brings a lot to the table and is very nice to work with as an assistant.
Next up, the actual booklet. I would need pictures. Throughout this process Cassandra Steen and I had been talking and she suggested I wait ‘til the CD was finished in order to capture its true essence, but me being me, I didn’t wait and had a photo session. Needless to say, she was right. Those photos turned out to be less than ideal. I then had to turn to an old trusted friend Uwe Roeder. Uwe and I have worked together for many, many years taking photos. I called up Uwe and it was like no time at all had gone between us. The photos in this booklet are all his contribution to my Journey, so glad to have him back in my life.
I think the greatest joy I have had in working on this project and taking this Journey, is with Matthias Weiss. Matt has been there with me for years. Through all our ups and downs we always seem to make magic. We worked on “Could You Be Messiah”. Matt has been a major part of this Journey. Matt’s playing ability and skill has made me realize how electric music can actually be. He is no doubt an amazing musician and one of my dearest friends. I remember bringing the idea of a CD of love songs to Matt. His first response was, “This is a great idea” and we began working on it shortly after that conversation. Along this journey there have been a lot of changes in both of our lives. One being the addition of Mia, Matt’s daughter. She actually began her journey into this world as we were working on this CD. She sure knows how to stop a show! (Already!). Matthias Weiss has been invaluable during this entire process. They always say you will find out who your true friends are when things get difficult. Well, Matt has stepped up to the plate and knocked the ball out of the park. Your musicianship and insight has made me a better singer and person. Thank You.
I am so grateful to God for allowing me to see this dream come true. This project has had its share of ups and downs but the learning experience has been invaluable.
The most difficult part about recording and performing is coming to understand the peaks and valleys of work. There are times when I might work for two weeks straight but then have five days off in a row. I’ve learned that it is wise to have a few months of wages stored away for the dry spells. Being an artist is not a job, it's a lifestyle. It's not 9-5 in an office. It means perhaps working weekends, holidays, Ground Hog day, and sometimes at bizarre hours. Therefore the utmost important thing is to love what you do in life so much that you want to do it whenever needed.
The Journey Continues…