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!

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 😄 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!

I’ve Reached 100 Subscribers on YouTube!!!

I did it guys!  After almost 2 years of YouTube, I made it to 100 subscribers!  I checked, and my YouTubeaversary is April 17, so almost two years.  I’m SO FREAKING PUMPED!!!

 

At the beginning of March, I noticed my subscriber count was at 95, so I randomly decided to set the goal to get to 100 at the end of March.  Usually, I’d just set a goal and hope it happened, but this time I was a lot more proactive, linking my channel all over social media, asking people to share my channel, and people to subscribe if they hadn’t been subscribed already.  I was pleasantly surprised to see so much support come through from old friends, family members, and acquaintance’s.  My brother kept on retweeting my link as well, and he got a few of his let’s player buddies to subscribe too, which helped loads:  one of his friends was my 99th subscriber, in fact!  I can’t see who my 100th subscriber is because of their channel preferences, which is ashamed because I’d really like to know, but I’m also not complaining because AHHH I’m at 100 subs!  In doing all of that, I realized hustling to get something accomplished wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.  In fact, it’s actually pretty fun!  Doing this helped me get over my trepidation’s in regards to sharing my content, so that was a major bonus in just deciding to get to 100 no matter what this month.
One of the cool things you get when hitting 100 is a custom URL.  So instead of my channel link being some weird user ID, it’s now /c/crystaldennismusic.  Which, to be honest, is the whole reason I was pushing so hard to get to 100.  I really wanted that custom URL, and seeing it there is so amazing.  I’ve typed it in like ten times today and squealed every time my channel has popped up, it’s sooo cool!

 

Now that I’ve hit this milestone, I feel like my channel is finally going somewhere.  100 people like my music enough to be subscribed, and that’s an amazing feeling.  That’s like, the size of a concert!  Getting the amount of views I get, now that I’m recording myself is great too, and I feel like it majorly contributes to people’s readiness to help me out.  I could kick myself for not doing so before!  I’m not going to do every video on cam, like I don’t think I’ll do it for originals, but maybe I will, who knows haha.  I want to branch out and start recording in outside locations as well eventually, just have to plan it a bit better.  But overall, I’m super excited that I’ve hit this milestone!  I’ll shoot to hit 200 by the end of the year!

 

In other music news, a random tune popped into my head last night.  I’ve been obsessing over NieR Automata’s OST and story, because I’m a huge fan of the first NieR, and the OST for the 2nd game doesn’t disappoint!  The story doesn’t either, it’s freaking beautiful.  I’ve been soaking in NieR lore, watched the entire games story on video, and have been watching all the boss fights because ugh I love this game so much, and wish I had a PS4 to play it.  That tangent aside, I think this tune that came up is really inspired by NieR’s instrumentation style:  melancholy and haunting.  For my first piano original, I was trying to do a video game type of track, but it didn’t really click until I was practicing piano last night and ran across some really gorgeous sounding key combination’s.  So, I grabbed my USB cord, plugged my keyboard into the computer and recorded a few layers of melody.  Tomorrow I’m going to fine tune it a bit and see what I can come up with, so excited!  The tune is a bit simplistic, but as I’ve stated before:  I think simplistic, acoustic folksy stuff is just my style haha.  I never find a need to add more than about six instruments to a track, and I’m finally feeling like that’s ok.  So woo for progress in my musical self-esteem!

 

Long post, but ugh I’m just so excited.  EEEE I got to 100 subscribers!  My channel can only go up from here, can’t wait to make more content this year!  This milestone has given me major motivation, can’t wait to get my next video out so I can start working on other projects!

March Piano Update

Quick piano update because I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.  Also a bit of a YouTube update!

 

In my last post, I mentioned adding more movement in my playing by having my left hand play a cord progression, while having the right play another part that would probably be considered the melody line/embellishment bits in whatever I’m playing.  I’ve found that instead of some sort of structured warm up/exercise program for learning, I work a lot better just noodling around on the keyboard and seeing what happens.  So I did that a few nights ago, and decided to try playing a chord with the sustain peddle on one hand, using the sustained cord as a backdrop for playing a few embellishment keys, then going to the next chord.  It worked pretty well, but I need to get down transitioning to the next chord after doing that sort of thing:  my fingers weren’t nimble enough to do a few separate key presses, then hit the full chord again, but it’s something I’m going to start practicing.  I’ll record it also to see hwo it sounds, and share it with you guys!  That’s pretty much it on the piano playing front, at this point most of my practicing comes with making up arrangements and noodling around with different chord progressions, adding things to said progressions.  I’ve stopped being afraid of using the black keys with things, and wow what a difference they make!  So I’ve been seeing how doing the 1-3-5 chord is with a sharp and flat in there, seeing how the chords I’ve learned sound with those augmentations and they sound so much different, I’m a little annoyed I was nervous to use the black keys before!  When you just start plugging them into chord progressions you already know, they get a lot less intimidating than AHHH they are black keys AHHHH.
But yeah, excited to see how adding the black keys to arrangements will change the dynamics of arranging things.  I’ve been trying to work on arranging for original pieces, and just working through that has made the thought of doing so not as difficult as I originally thought.  Will I have an original piece by the end of March?  I’m hoping at least a demo, but we’ll see if everything comes together by then.  I work better when I have lyrics written first, so I’ll probably work on that as well.  But I just wanted to get used to hashing out chord progressions for something not a cover, which I’ve been working through decently well.
I’ve been sitting on an arrangement I need to just record vocals for and mix, which is a Final Fantasy VI cover with lyrics I wrote for the character theme.  I’m going to get it out by the end of March, to keep my two covers a month upload schedule.
And that’s pretty much it!  Small, but important strides both with YouTube and piano playing.  Fingers crossed I can get a demo for an original song done by the end of March!

Lufia and the Fortress of Doom Prologue Piano and Vocal Cover, And my Patreon Launch!

Lufia and the Fortress of Doom Prologue Piano and Vocal Cover – YouTube

 

Late post today, because I’ve been working for the past two days on putting this together.  I’m both excited and nervous to be posting a video with me on camera (and my hands on camera lol) but I’m more excited.  Man, what a rush I got just by knowing that I put all of this work into arranging, and producing this video!  My amazing friend Kevin edited the video for me, and my Mom helped me with makeup, camera placement, and looking more animated while singing.  She also double checked the video for me.  All in all, this was a group effort, and I’m so blessed to have such supportive people in my life to help me out with this stuff when they really don’t have to 😀
This is a video of a lot of firsts:  It’s also me playing the piano, if those hands moving on the keyboard aren’t an indication haha.  I learned a lot of things about recording an instrument being played while doing this, one of many things is if you have to, record different sections in chunks.  You have no idea how many times I messed up, and started over again, all while getting uber frustrated.  Imagine how easy it would have been just for me to do one section, then another, then another?  I wound up having to do that anyway, so next time if I have to I’m just going to go that route instead of playing the entire thing all at once, possibly messing up, then starting over again and letting my rage grow and grow and…ahem!  Anywaaaay~

 

Along with a new video launch, I also launched a Patreon page!  This too was both exciting and nerve-wracking.  If you could share this page around, I’d greatly appreciate it!  Of course I’ll still be doing videos for free, and sharing them with you all, but becoming a patron will allow me to produce more polished, quality videos, like the one above.  Plus, it’ll give me the chance to pay my amazing artist friends to do the things for me that they do for free, cuz they’re awesome 😄

 

How do you like the video?  The cover?  If there’s anything I can do to improve my video quality, please let me know!

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 😄

 

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 😄  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!

Ori and the Blind Forest Collaboration

 

I’m surprised that this came out so fast, because I just started working on it a week ago!  I did the video for it last night, and sent it over and then five hours later bam the cover was up 😄 this is the collaboration I was mentioning that happened because of the Final Fantasy I collaboration.  I really like Ori and the Blind Forests music, so I was really excited when Nathan said he wanted to do this with me!

 

Eventually I’d like to do video’s like this too, with the video game footage +  me because I really like that style of video.  I also thought of just using game footage, but ideally this is the type of video I’d eventually like to have done on my channel too, so finding out this was how the video was made was super cool for me!

 

Think that’s about all I have to say on this one, hope you enjoy the cover!