In this blog, I thought I’d share the stages my tracks go through, from the initial demo stage, all the way to the fully produced, “radio and sync ready” master stage. This particular song, “Home Is Where The Heart Is”, I wrote last year when I was vacationing in The Dominican Republic, right before the Covid pandemic started and I ended up effectively trapped there for several months due to the airports being abruptly shut down and my flight cancelled.
I wrote this particular song, if my memory serves me correctly, in about an hour. It was one of those songs that sort of just poured out of me. I was on the balcony of a small studio apartment I was renting at the time and this song came to me in a moment of inspiration early in the morning around 7 am.
A few days later I recorded the following very simple, rough demo:
As is often the case, this song sat on the shelf for a good long while. I tend to have a pretty large back catalog of un-recorded tracks at any given time, that I often circle back to when I go into the studio to record.
Fast forward to earlier this year and I was with my friend and collaborator MJ and we were going through my demos deciding what songs we would work on and we came across this one. My friend MJ really resonated with this track and he was one of the main reasons I decided to revisit the track and finish it.
So, for the next couple weeks or so, MJ and I worked on the track. MJ came up with some really cool harmony parts, a great piano part and helped write the song’s outro. One of the things I love about collaborating with MJ is having an extra set of ears that is able to hear things slightly differently than I do and come up with different parts and ideas that really enhance the song. Ideas that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.
After a couple weeks, MJ and I then created the following, more fully produced demo:
I then sent the demo, along with a few other tracks to my publisher to get her feedback. My publisher is cool with checking out songs in their demo stage, in order to see if it’s something she wants to move forward with or not. This is extremely helpful as I’m able to get a good sense for which tracks she thinks she’ll be able to successfully pitch before I go through the longer process of creating the actual fully produced and mastered version.
One of the other tracks I sent her was produced by Gary Gray and featured a different vocalist, Joseph De Natale, who has sung several of my tracks. My publisher loved his voice and requested that I use him on, “Home Is Where The Heart Is”. Since I aim to please I said sure, I will see what I can do and that I would get back to her.
I reached out to Gary, who is friends with the vocalist to see if he could arrange to have Joseph sing the lead vocal on the track and help me finish the production. Gary, being the agreeable guy that he is said absolutely! Over the next few weeks, using the initial tracks that MJ and I laid down, as well as adding their own parts and tweaking the arrangement slightly, Gary and Joseph created the final version of the song, which you can hear below.
I’m really, really pleased with how this track turned out. I think it’s one of my best sounding tracks overall. Joseph nailed the vocals and both Gary and Joseph nailed the production.