My First Behind the Scenes Patreoen Podcast is up Yay!

Just wanted to pop in real quick and say that my first patreon exclusive post is up that isn’t a video or MP3, yay!  I’ve been trying to figure out a structure to recording these behind the scenes podcasts, and finally found my groove with it.  The first one is up, and available for 3 dollar or more patrons, so if you’d like to hear any of my musings for my covers in audio form, it’s a pledge away!

 

You can listen and pledge here.

 

As always, not pledging doesn’t mean I’ll stop making videos.  If you’d like to support me monetarily  and get some cool rewards however, check out my Patreon page 🙂

This Track Drove me Crazier, But I Think I’m Done With it!

Recorded extra vocals on Tuesday, still didn’t get the effect I wanted.  So I sat down at my piano  last night, and tried to get a strings progression I liked.  It failed miserably rotfl.  But, luckily, I have amazing friends who come to the rescue!  One of my more musically inclined friends recorded a chord progression for me I really liked, but I just couldn’t get it down on keyboard so I did something similar enough and called it a night because I literally had been trying to record and fix up that one strings section for four hours and by 1 AM I was frustrated nearly to the point of tears.  I really need to not drive myself to that point but…it happens, what can I say?  When I want to finish something, I get really determined to do it even if it’s to the detriment of my sanity lolol.

 

With the strings added, it sounded better.  Not how I wanted still, but better.  I wanted to add more vocals to the 2nd part of the song but it just wasn’t working for me…until, I went, aha!  I can use that same chord progression my friend made, only make it with my voice instead of strings!  I did something I never have done before, and rolled out of bed to record the extra layers I wanted to test out.  Partially because I want this to get done, and partially because I needed to hit really low notes, and a tip I got years ago from a fellow singer was when you need to do that, just roll out of bed and use your morning voice.  I had never tried doing it before, but it totally works!

I have to see how everything sounds after mixing it later today, but honestly at this point, I’m done with this track.  I still find it a bit jarring as of now, but I think I’m always going to feel that way about this cover in particular because it’s the exact opposite of how the original sounds.  Honestly, I’m proud I took the leap to do something this experimental, whether it sounds good or not.  It’s at the point where I’ve worked so hard at it I’m posting it regardless of how I think of it.

 

I think I’m letting my nerves get to me too.  Like, I’m really iffy about posting this and people being like “Ugh, this sounds nothing like the original!” I’ve heard covers that sound drastically different than the original though and really enjoyed them, it’s just the 2nd phase of the track sounds so much different than the first to me, but at the same time, I like how it sounds?  It’s difficult because I really can’t go to the original and be like ok add this part because they both have completely different stylings, so I’m having to borrow things from the original, rework them, and fit them into the style of my cover.  I’m happy I’m doing this because I’m really pushing my music muscle, but ugh XD  Lol this is the most conflicted about something I’ve ever been, which usually is a good thing when it comes to music.  I did a more folksy cover of another Final Fantasy track (not a battle song) I need to post too, but with that one I can see it sounding the way I’ve covered it.  This one, I took from being high energy battle music to being haunting piano, vocals, and strings so really I’m just nervous about how people will perceive it.  But I know someone who has a YouTube channel where they do nothing but make battle arrangements of different music, so I guess me doing the opposite to a battle theme isn’t much different XD

 

TLDR:  I’m over thinking this entire thing, I like half of this track, am ok enough with the 2nd half and am going to post it anyway once I record video.  Need to record video for the other Final Fantasy song I’ve had done for like a month, I’ve been majorly slacking hahaa.  I really need to get a schedule going for this sort of stuff.

 

In other news, I got a statement from Soundrop, and I got some money from someone buying my tracks online, woohoo!  My first 78 cents, I’m in the money XD but in all seriousness, I’m super excited someone bought one of my tracks, super exciting!

Nier Automata Possessed by a Disease Cover, plus Mini Music Updates

[Nier Automata] Possessed by a Disease Cover – Crystal Dennis – YouTube

 

Posted this cover last week.  It’s been in the works for like, 2 months, and let me tell ya it’s probably the most intense cover I’ve done with a pre-existing backtrack.  I adore Nier’s music, but the reason I tend to not cover things from it is the sheer amount of work that goes into doing so.  The Chaos language is something you have to pick out by ear because there aren’t really any lyrics around, so it’s like learning a song in another language which, I always have to learn phrase by phrase.  Luckily, this song is in Enka, which is a real language but still…same concept applied.  I wanted to cover this song so much though, it’s my favorite piece of Nier music.  So not only did I learn this one by ear, but I took the time to write out the phonetics of the song so I could get as close to the original as possible.  Is it perfect?  Nope!  But it’s as close as I’m going to get with pronouncing the lyrics in this song so I’ll take it XD
The other troublesome thing with this one was mixing.  I only have access to Audacity for mixing due to like, no other DAW being 100 percent accessible (get on the ball for PC some DAW come on) so the original mix of this was garbage, and I hated it so much. I hate not being able to use a more advanced DAW in general but I use what I can to the best of my ability and that’s another story for another post, but one of my friends offered to mix this one for me because of that.  When I heard this mix, I was floored!  It was just how I wanted it to sound, love how it came out.

 

The last step of releasing this one was the step I always debate over the most lol.  The dumb video!  In the end, I did a still image because I just wanted to release it and have been stressing out over what types of videos to make for eeeevery video  and honestly, at this point, I’m starting to re-evaluate what style of video I want to make for my channel.  I had this epiphany  last night when I couldn’t sleep:  I honestly don’t remember if recording myself on camera singing was something I wanted to do, or just did because everyone on YouTube forums and subreddits said I should do it to engage the audience more.  Seeing my view counts for certain videos, I feel like that isn’t exactly the case for my channel:  the highest views I have on any cover is close to 1000 views in a year, and that’s a still image video, same with the second video with the most views on my channel.  I like the idea of giving back to the artist community in a way by commissioning artwork to use in videos, using animations of friends and acquaintances  and things like that, and when I think about doing that for videos, I get excited to make things.  When I think of recording myself on camera, I think of how much of a hassle it is to get everything set up, and that it’s ridiculous how much I’m stressing over it when I really care more about producing music.

 

I know I talk about this particular thing sooooo much on this blog so if you’re tired of hearing it, sorry XD I know I’m tired of thinking of it, so yeah!  I’m not going to for sure say I’ll never record on cam again, but like I said I’m definitely going to re-evaluate what type of videos I want to predominantly  feature on my channel, and make sure they’re videos I’ll 100 percent be alright with and proud of posting, regardless of what they are.

 

That being said, if you watch cover videos that use animations or still images, I’d love for you to describe the style they use to do so!  I know some way bigger YouTubers use minimal art and animations for vids, so if you have a particular YouTuber you like that does this I’d love to hear why.  It’s hard for me to figure out what style could work for me when I can’t see others videos XD

 

And I told myself I wouldn’t blog about this when I posted my tangent on facebook at 5 AM, oy…

 

 

Some Mini Music Updates, to finish off this post:

 

Piano Practice update:  I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I hit a major landmark the other night!  I’ve been struggling with playing and singing at the same time, but the other night while practicing, I was able to do so!  I was so happy because that was something I was majorly struggling with, so just being able to do it was so cool.  It’s weird how it doesn’t seem like you’re progressing in something, but then something like that happens and you go “Oh, guess I actually am improving”.

 

Original Music Update!:  I’m working hard to churn through my backlog of melodies I’ve recorded and not finished.  I finished up a simple piano and strings piece last night and really like how it turned out.  It’s some more VGM inspired music (aka loopable music lol) so be on the lookout for that soon!

The best piece of advice I’ve read is to just finish up compositions,, no matter the quality.  You learn something from every piece, and can move on knowing you completed something.  So I’m going to work hard to do that with all the melodies scattered across my computer!

 

Song Writing Update:  I have five or six originals I wrote probs about 2 years ago.  I didn’t have a keyboard, or drum, or any way to use VSTs that was accessible with my screen reader, so I did them all a cappella.  But I always dreamed of going back to them, rearranging them with instruments, and re-releasing them.  I got inspired by a critique on one of them to stop procrastinating on doing that little project, so we’ll see how this goes!  Aka I hope I don’t just procrastinate on doing it more XD

 

I wrote a companion piece to the very first original I made that I need to work on too.  I’ve just been slacking on it. But I feel like I should probably redo the first original then work on that one so the styles match.  But once again, we’ll see how that goes haha.  I’m trying really hard not to procrastinate on these things though!  At the same time, I need to pace myself and doing all of these will probably lead to burn out if I’m not careful so yeeX D

 

Mmm, don’t you love when posts get far longer than you expected them to?  Tends to happen to me when I’m talking about music.  Anyway, hope you enjoy the Possessed by a Disease cover, and see you guys on Thursday!

YouTube Views Experiment, Results and Closing Thoughts

A month ago I started a test where I started monitoring the views of one vide, without any video footage attached to it, and just using a still image.  I wanted to see if it would get the same amount of views in a month, as a video where I was on camera singing just to see if it makes a difference.  At the end of the month, Weight of the World wound up getting 78 views, as opposed to my Inuyasha medley having 194 views in a month.  But, I also posted 3 videos this month, and one the month I posted the Inuyasha video, so I feel like that may have to do with the view count as well – Inuyasha was the only video posted the month it was posted, so if new people came to the channel, that would be the first video to click.  Since I posted 3 this last month, I think my view count got split between those three videos (they all netted about 60-80 views – Inuyasha got 194 in the first month, but do the math and that’s about how many the 3 videos got per month).

 

There were so many variable’s to this experiment, I feel like it didn’t quite work.  For example, my Terra’s theme video has only been up a week, and already has 63 views.  That has me singing in it, along with the album art for the cover.  However, The Witching Hour, which is an animation video, also got a decent amount of views – 69 in a few weeks, and doesn’t have me on it at all.  Even Weight of the World, which like I said is a still image video, still got a lot of views in a month.  So I guess the end result of my experiment is…the video format doesn’t really matter?  When posting consistently I got the same amount of views on videos, but like I said I’m still getting more traction from the being on camera videos (Inuyasha medley went up by 30 views this month, Terra’s theme is new and got the amount of the other two videos in less than a week).

 

At the end of the day, I guess just keep posting videos, you’ll get views and subscribers.  My experiment wasn’t really a failure, just a bit of an eye opener:  If your music is good, people will listen.  I think the best thing to do is have a moving video format instead of a still one, though:  Like if I’m not on cam, use game footage, or animations, because I do notice I get a lot more traction from a video that has a moving picture aspect to it.  I didn’t take into account the popularity of the tracks I’m doing either, so like not sure if that goes into account also.

 

So TL;DR:  This experiment was a semi-success?  It helped me see what to keep on doing on my channel, and what not to do, so I suppose it worked well!
If you’d like to see any of the videos I’m talking about, head on over to my YouTube Channel and take a listen!

Terra’s Theme with Lyrics (Shine) Final Fantasy VI Released!

[Final Fantasy VI] Terra’s Theme with Lyrics (Shine) – Crystal Dennis – YouTube

 

-collapses on the floor after doing happy dance-

 

Ugh, it’s finally released!  I’ll get this out of the way now:  This wasn’t  a pain to arrange or anything, but it was a major pain to distribute.  Releasing this is a really big landmark for me for a number of reasons though.  The first one being, I’ve had these lyrics written for years.  Since about 2013, I want to say.  Back then, I wasn’t really sure about how using midi and virtual instruments worked, and would just try downloading things and not have them work and…stopped trying.  It was always uber frustrating to me, because for this track in particular I really wanted to make it have a backtrack.  That being said, this isn’t exactly how I imagined making it:  I wanted it to be a bit more orchestral, but with what I have at my disposal  right now, a piano and strings arrangement is all I could do.  I’m really happy with how this came out, and how I reworked it to fit this sort of style though, so no complaints!  Honestly, I feel like I wouldn’t really utilize orchestra instruments anyways, and it’s been a lot of fun embracing my folksy Celtic acoustic roots with these arrangements.  Eventually I want to get into making things more dynamic, but baby steps.

 

That tangent aside, I always wanted to have this have a backtrack, and not be a cappella.  Even when I started doing a cappella songs, I wanted this to have music to it.  I tried making it a cappella and it just didn’t work.  Also tried arranging it without a keyboard to play on (writing music without a piano keyboard is just impossible for me, accessibility reasons is the short story about that) so just coming out with this is suuuuch a major goal for me I’m so happy I’ve achieved!

 

And now the bad part of this story.  Freaking Soundrop!  I ranted about this a few weeks ago, because dealing with them was a pain.  Not only did it take them a week to get back to me (and only after I tweeted at them in an attempt to get their attention – which worked) but it still isn’t fully released on stores.  It’s on iTunes and Google Play though, so I just went ahead and posted the video because I was determined to get this out before April because it should have been out last month.  All that aside, squeee I have an artist profile on iTunes!  You can check it out here.

 

The actual track is here:

 

iTunes

 

Google Play

 

And hopefully Spotify and Amazon Music will be coming soon!  I really hope I linked the iTunes link right, as well XD

But yeah think I’ve said all I can say about this one, just happy to have it out after working on it for so long.  I love writing lyrics to pre-existing game themes, I already have another Final Fantasy track in the works!  Just have to figure out what’s erking me about its arrangement XD

The Witching Hour (Original) Smile Bomb! And General Music Update

The Witching Hour [Original Instrumental] – YouTube

 

Smile Bomb!  – YouTube

 

A few musical updates today!  There was one more collaboration I could have linked but I really don’t like how it came out and it deserves a post all its own if I ever wind up posting it to be completely honest.  Not a bad experience, just an annoying one lol.  But, This collab is another story!  I met Chris through seeing a friend of mine link her collab with him.  I commented on the video, he emailed me and asked if we could do something together and my answer is always “Yes!”.  After that, we got talking, and we get along really well!  He’s really nice to work with, and I definitely am happy to have a new friendship with him (an working relationship, as well!) it’s really nice to have people to talk to about all this music youtube business who’s into it too, I’ve already gotten loads of help and support from him, and doing this collab was amazing.  Yu Yu Hakusho is an anime I loved from my childhood, and when I saw Smile Bomb on the list of suggestions he had I was like “I love that song, let’s do it!”.  Overall, I just feel really open about talking to Chris, and working on improving our channels together, and this collab is hopefully the first in many more collabs with him!
This is another huge milestone, because it’s the first thing I’ve done that’s on iTunes and Spotify and other music distribution sites EEE!  I couldn’t stop myself from listening to the preview over and over again on iTunes, it’s so cool to see it there!  I can’t wait to see more of my stuff go on those stores as well, it’s a dream come true!
On that note, I got all of the distribution stuff situated for my next cover.  I had to get a bit aggressive with Soundrop, because I emailed them three times before they responded – and they only responded when I tweeted at them about my problem (which was pretty entertaining to see, I must admit hahaa).  They fixed it yesterday, and my next cover is now in the process of being listed on stores!  So after that’s done, I’ll be posting my Terra cover on YouTube (finally!  I’ve been working on this for so long).  They said it could take up to a week to get it to stores but I’ve seen other friends have a turnaround of a day or so, so the cover will be going up next week, woo!

 

Because Terra’s theme wasn’t ready yet, I opted to post the other video linked above.  I mentioned working on this track a while ago, and got my awesome animator friend to make an animation for me.  The first custom one he’s done, yay!  (Side note:  If you want him to be able to do this a lot more, consider supporting me on Patreon – he also made my album art for Terra’s theme).  I put this together a few weeks ago probably, just in a 3 hour span of time.  Figured out all of the melodies just by noodling on the keyboard.  I figured out the piano background first and was like “Oo this sounds spooky, what else can I add to it” and just kept on building on it until I got this.  I half improv, half made the main melody.  Not sure if I could even redo it haha but I really liked how it came out for my first attempt at an all instrumental track!  Let me know what you think J

 

It sort of just happened this month, but I really liked the amount of content I released!  I got one original track, one cover with backtrack, and one VGM/anime cover arrangement done.  I’m not going to concrete say I must stick to this schedule, but at the same time I kind of want to.  If the licensing goes smoothly, it really wouldn’t be a major hassle because this is all I do for an…attempted living XD I’d love to try and get a video out a week, but I don’t think I could do that with music all the time so may look at doing some how it’s made behind the scenes stuff, who knows.  Either way, I’m really happy this month of music is over, because hoo boy was it stressful haha.
That also was a lot longer of a post than I expected, but like I said a lot has been going on!  Hope you enjoy these videos, more will be coming soon!

Weight of the World Cover from NieR: Automata and Mini Experiment

Weight of the World cover from Nier Automata

Late post today, because I’ve been recording video all night.  Recording video is one of those things that I always dread getting ready to do but then love doing when I’m actually doing it haha.  Recorded for two collabs, and one of mine which I was going back and forth about recording for and got really good results with tinkering with my video settings and setup, so woo!
But enough of that, here’s a cover from NieR Automata aka the best game of 2017 so far.  I loved the first game, and the first games OST, and this one only amps up the quality of awesome it has with its music.  Definitely going to cover more from this series, loooove it!
I’m also doing a mini experiment with how I uploaded.  As you see, I uploaded this one with a still image.  So, since I’m a weirdo who really likes to see how things work, I’m going to track this videos view progress and put it up against the view count of my last on cam video, which would be the Inuyasha cover.  Do they both get the same amount of views in one month, and how many do they each get in the first upload day?  Right now, the Inuyasha cover has 189 views in a month.  It had 31 on its first day so let’s see how the NieR cover is doing so far!

 

Views for Nier cover in 1 hr: 14

In 8 hrs:  24

11 hrs:  27

23 hrs: 33

2 days:  41
So far, both videos have gotten about the same views in one day.  At the end of its first upload day (Sunday) it had 27 views.  Inuyasha had 31, so only a 7 view difference.  By the morning of the next day, Weight of the World had 33.  So as of now, doesn’t seem like either video style really makes a difference in view count, but we’ll see at the end of the month if Weight of the World reaches 189.  I know there are a lot of other variable’s,  like how popular the song is etc etc but still  they both got about the same amount of views in one day so who knows how much that actually matters.

 

But enough of my weird “science” lol.  Hope you enjoy the cover!

 

Extra Note:  Just saw my Inuyasha cover and it’s up to 193 so I’ll use that as my base number for this since I posted this today lol.  So we’ll see how Weight of the World  does in comparison!