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!

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Almost Backslid, but Stopped Myself – Progress Yay!

So as stated on Tuesday I’ve hit 100 subscribers on YouTube.  I think that’s in major part to starting to arrange my own covers, and recording myself on camera for said covers.  I also set a goal to post 2 covers a month, and this month I had two…technically.  I had one arranged for the longest time, but for some reason I didn’t record the vocals for it until last week.  I was going to record video footage for it this past weekend, but didn’t get to it, and there starts my dilemma.

 

I usually record video on the weekends.  Like, I’m pretty sure I’m conditioned to do that because the thought of recording video during the week just erks me, and I’m not motivated to do so.  I think it’s because I gear myself up to prepare to record on Sunday (but I’ll probably do it on Saturday this weekend, I want to get it done) because I do vocal warm ups all week and take a break on the weekends to rest my voice.  So I take that time to do other things, usually bake or record video depending on what I need to do.

 

So back to setting a two covers a month goal.  I totally misscheduled!  I know it’s entirely my procrastination’s fault, and if I had recorded vocals and mixed like two weeks ago I wouldn’t have this problem.  I recorded the actual piano like last month and just have been sitting on this, so legit the only reason I didn’t record vocals and get this done was laziness.  And that made my brain go into paranoid overdrive, because I thought of doing videos in my old, still photo style.

 

I’m planning to license  this specific cover to be sold on digital music distribution sites, and had my friend do some art for that.  So I was like “I’ll just use that instead!” and I went back and forth, back and forth about doing this.  I don’t mind using animation’s for covers still, because there’s movement involved in that and it isn’t just a still photo.  But I really want to stop using still images as a crutch, and almost back peddled into doing so, but I stopped myself!

 

Last night, I made the video really quick.  I wrote out my video description, even uploaded it onto YouTube, had it unlisted to share to patrons, but when I was doing all that, I got this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I started getting super nervous that the quality wouldn’t be good, that this video wouldn’t get as many views as my last two, that I wasn’t doing my best.  The first two were just me being wonky, but the last one I think was my brain going “Cryyyyystal you know you don’t want to do this stop stressing out over your self-imposed deadline” because even though I want to do two covers/musical pieces a month, the fact of the matter is, I didn’t plan well enough for that to happen in March.  If I’m going to post a video, I want it to be one I’m not going to second guess (something I did a lot last year) and I want it to be the quality that I want, with guidelines I set forth.  I’ve never done this before, but I kept the video unlisted, deleted the video and told myself to just record this weekend, and post the video next week.  After that, I felt a lot better about my decision, but was glad to have gone through that process of uploading, not feeling right about it, and deleting, because if I hadn’t I would have been debating with myself about what to do about the video for ages.
One of my main reasons for not recording video was just because I wasn’t feeling being on video this week.  But, that’s ok:  I’ll wait until I feel better about being on cam and record.  I’ve also set some guidelines in place for my video styles, because I don’t want to have a mental battle like this again XD so I figured I’d do it like this:
For arrangements that I worked super hard on like what I’ve been doing recently:  Record myself on video, because those videos deserve to have me on video for them, because I’ve worked really hard on them!
Originals:  Either choose to use an animation, or record myself on video.  More leaning towards an animation, if my friend has something that I can use for certain originals, because I like the idea of having a scene playing while some video game inspired music is playing.  Because, let’s face it, any original track I do that isn’t a song with lyrics is going to be RPG/JRPG inspired, that’s just my esthetic haha.  On that note, I finished my first all instrumental original, and in March too!  So I got my goal of getting an original track done in the month of March.  I really like how it came out, even though it’s probably pretty basic!  Once I finish up with this video, I’m going to work on releasing that one.

For covers with pre-existing backtracks:  Haven’t decided yet, maybe a still photo?  Or maybe I’ll set this one to have the option to choose between recording myself singing, animation, or still photo.  But still using a still image just doesn’t sit right with me anymore, but we’ll see when I do a cover with a pre-existing backtrack how I feel.  I think I’d probably just record live singing, though, but want to give myself flexible  guidelines because I realize that’s just how my brain works.

 

In the End, I realized this was a really good thing that happened, because I touched on something I probably needed to deal with.  Setting guidelines, and limitations for myself, and finding out that that sort of video doesn’t appeal to me anymore is a huge step forward, because I remember when recording myself on video just didn’t appeal to me haha.  The fact that a still image vid wasn’t up to snuff is a great improvement on my YouTube mindset, that can only improve from here!  I also learned that it’s ok to miss a deadline you set for yourself and make sure that missing the next deadline doesn’t happen again by having better time management.  Next step:  to not chicken out about licensing my covers, and to figure out how to master tracks for releasing on those platforms!

YouTube and Music Update

Now that I more or less have my anxieties about recording myself on video singing done with, I want to move on to working through other things via camera.  The two things I really want to work on is actually talking on cam, like in vlog format, and being able to add facial expressions and be more animated while singing.  For the ladder, I think it’s fine to not look animated when all you’re doing is a lot of “oos” and “ahs”, but with songs that have lyrics, I really want to look like I’m invested in the song.  It’s frustrating though, because every video I’ve looked at says look at yourself in the mirror and practice, but I can’t do that and haven’t found any alternatives.  I thought of recording demos on camera and sending it for advice, but not sure how that would help unless I know someone who could give me pointers on how to perform a song with more than my voice.  This is when I wish some sort of acting class was in my area!  Though I really just want to know about how to perform a song, I think it’s something I need some one on one coaching with, and I just can’t wrap my head around being able to find some help, other than like I said shooting camera footage and asking for advice and hoping who I ask knows a little about performing with facial expressions.

 

I found one interesting tid bit that I am probably going to try, where it was you make a character for yourself while singing the song by reading the lyrics beforehand and putting yourself in the characters shoes.  Also, staging what you’ll be doing before performing the song as well:  I know for some things, I’ll just be playing an instrument, but when it’s just me sitting and singing I’d like to have something to look like I’m invested in the song because that’s been a chronic issue for me, even back when I did live gigs.  SO my new goal since I will be back on the saddle of YouTube this month is to work on those things.  In the back of my head, I always say “Just don’t put yourself on camera because of those issues” but then I realize that so many YouTubers started off by being awkward, and maybe meh looking while doing their videos, but they only learned by putting themselves out there, and having an audience that gave them critiques, and an audience that they were accountable to so they were more likely to want to up their quality of content.  I guess since I actually want to upgrade my performances and quality, I’ve gotten to that point too!  Only took a year of YouTubing XD

 

For the vlogging, it’s weird because I used to podcast and didn’t have a problem talking there.  But with the camera on me, it’s a whole other animal, and nerves tend to get me to stammer and stumble.  I can always edit things out, sure, but I tried that on a test video and it’s really tedious and annoying, so I’d rather just do things in one take, then if I want to talk more, stop that and do another take.  Because having to go through like an hour of footage because I just kept on talking isn’t something I’d like to do. And, since I would rather not put my friend who would be editing stuff for me through the torture of me rambling, if I vlog I think I’d do that multi take format, and write down an outline of what I want to say.  On my test footage I didn’t have an outline, and it showed because I just was talking with a lot of ums and ers and it was so awkward XD  As I did different takes it got easier, so that’s why I think an outline to bounce off of would work best for me if I do vlogs.

 

But I’m excited!  Next week is when I’m getting all of my audio equipment, and I’m probably going to go to Guitar Center and see what hand drums they have there, and hopefully I can grab one to drag home.  With that, I’d have a whole mini percussion section I’ve been wanting, and with the keyboard, I’d be good to go!  I got some virtual instrument VSTs that were on sale for a dollar (they’re usually 100) and one has strings in it, the other an array of instruments.  I can use my keyboard as a midi controller, so I plan to do that with the virtual instruments, and hope it works well enough to just be able to flip through the different instruments with my keyboards keypad and play them on my keyboard.  I’ve tried VSTs in the past, but on a computer their accessibility factor has not been very good.  So I’m hoping with a piece of  hardware, where clicking with a mouse won’t be a factor, I’ll be able to use them to the extent of switching instruments with the keyboards keypad and using them, then mixing them with effects on my DAW.  I was sooooo excited to find those two VSTs for such a steal, I was like “I don’t care if they are accessible or not, they are a dollar so I will buy them and use them” haha.  I need my computer fixed before doing that, but I have my keyboard until then so nbd~

 

After picking up a drum, the only other physical instruments I really, really want are an ocarina and a mountain dulcimer.  The ocarina because Legend of Zelda, come on (I also think it’s overall just a beautiful sounding woodwind, as is the recorder) and the mountain dulcimer, because it’s from what I’ve read, the easiest string instrument to play, but once you learn it you can do complex stuff with it.  It also sounds so beautiful and folksy, and really fits my aesthetic of Celtic-folk style that I love!  An ocarina is very inexpensive, so I’ll be picking one up this month.  A mountain dulcimer of good quality is a bit more pricy, so I’ll be buying it a bit later.  Really happy that my one-woman band is starting to come together though!  So cloooose, just got to pick up some things to get the ball rolling woot woot!

 

That was a lot longer of an update then I expected haha.  I’m just so excited February  is here, because I can finally start arranging covers on my own again, only this time the way I’ve wanted to with actual instruments!  I know it won’t be super easy, as I’ve seen from singing along and playing piano to some arrangements I’ve been hashing out, but I’m ready for the challenge.  I’m really excited to grow as a musician this year, and onward!

Getting Things Situated

Since my computer has been on the fritz, I’ve been really stagnant in doing things I’ve been wanting to do, mainly with recording and arranging because my Mom’s computer doesn’t have all of the things that mine has for audio.  When I tried to mix something, it crashed whenever I tried to add one of the heavier effects, so I’m trying to keep mixing to a minimum.  Luckily, I can still record on here, so the collabs I’ve been asked to work on are still going to be happening but as far as content on my channel I don’t think I’ll have any for a while, which majorly bums me out.
I found out through a few more tech savvy friends, that the charging cord probably isn’t the issue.  I guess Acer computers have a problem with soldering?  And a chronic issue with them is that the area where the cord plugs in gets  loose and doesn’t take a charge.  I decided to order an extra cord just in case, but I’ve been looking for computer repair people around my area that may be able to fix the issue.  But now I’m super nervous my computer will catch on fire or something if they don’t know what they are doing rotfl.  I don’t have everything backed up on my computer either, so I’m kind of mini-freaking out over looking for a computer repair place and getting this fixed, or I dunno, just buying another computer all together ugh.  Worst case scenario, I buy a new computer and pull the hard drive out of my old one and make it an external.

 

But anyway!  Instead of dwelling on that stuff, I have been putting things in order for my YouTube channel, and home studio setup.  I’m super excited to DIY a portable recording booth for my mic, and just bought some acoustic panels to use for it.  I have everything else already at home, and I have plans to glam it up with pink paint and possibly glitter-tasticness with my Mom XD I love Nintendo’s Kirby, so I may get a print to put on it too, we’ll see when I actually get to designing it!

 

The other thing I’m super excited about is that I finally got my Pay Pal in working order again!  For months I wasn’t able to log into my account because it would ask me to make a business account –shakes fist-.  I emailed customer service and got no response, so yesterday I was determined to get it resolved by staying on the phone until I got an actual human being to fix it.  I got said human being, and they downgraded my account back to personal, and it was so nice to see the account summary page of my Pay Pal again!  More importantly, I can use it to pay to commission people for things like audio mastering and graphics and stuff again EEE!  It was such a huge relief to get that situated again, like seriously!

 

Right now I’m just exploring YouTube, figuring out what I should be doing to optimize my channel, along with that, I have some other things I’m getting ready to launch with my next video, that I can’t wait to get working on!  I really hope I can get my computer fixed soon because as grateful as I am to my Mom for letting me use her secondary computer, man I miss mine so much!  You get attached to your computer when you use it for everything lol.  But at least I can still do half the things I do on here, just not being able to make music myself is making me really anxious XD but baby steps, baby steps.  I’m still working towards my goals so I will just keep telling myself that!