A Few Thoughts On Melodies
By Phillip E. Mitchell - Songwriter/Producer
You can’t win an argument about melody—well, unless your opponent lacks imagination. You can complain about the lack of melody in David Bowie’s early work, or the lack of melody in Akon’s “Right Now” (nanana), (Or Justin Bieber), but here’s the reality: What kinds of melodies we like is largely a subjective arena (built on years of experience listening to and maybe writing music, of course, but still subjective).
However, the fact that melody writing (and judging) is largely a subjective matter doesn’t mean we can’t evaluate our work or the works of others. There are different ways to conceptualize melodies that can help us approach our craft—to know where we’re going and how to get there.
First, for the sake of simplicity, let’s think about melodies in two ways: Boxy and Moving.
How did it feel to record for Prince: Today, on Prince's 59th birthday, I am publishing the first, of several segments to come, of my interview with the last female engineer to have recorded Prince. The interview was recorded last November at Prince's home town, Minneapolis MN after a tour of Paisley Park. My interview with Lisa Chamblee, Co-Owner and COO of Reftone Speakers, at Prince's hometown, Minneapolis, MN Part 1 of 6.
Lisa Chamblee: As an audio engineer Lisa has worked for a number of Grammy nominated projects for artists like Prince, George Duke and Justin Timberlake and is also the co-owner of Reftone Speakers. In addition to an audio engineer Lisa is also a producer, a studio designer, and a studio mgr.
A large number of artists approach me with a request for an interview but I try to be selective in whom I feature on www.SongwriterAndProducer.com because my intent is to help aspiring songwriters and producers become better at what they do. When Sham Sundra "proposed" I was surprised by the fact that the deeper I researched him and his work, the more impressed I was. The first thing I told Sham when I listened to his album (Box So Tiny) was "whoever mixed this work, understands their craft highly". I was later told that it was Sham who mixed it (among everything else he did). I also praised the consistent flow of the album, its theme. I've always been genre-agnostic but it's a breath of fresh air to listen to a well made rock album by a New York City band in 2017. Iris Pill’s Box So Tiny is a work of raw emotion and refined artistry. In a time when pure rock music is hard to find, this album is an absolute gem — authentic, unapologetically truthful, and brilliantly executed. Then when I saw the gear and knowledge that Sham possessed, I was even more impressed. A songwriter, a guitar player (who started as a wind-instrument-player), who knows their way around the studio as well as anyone. An avid ProTools HD user (no pun) while equally being split between the world of software plugins and hardware inserts. Serious hardware too. From a Neumann U47 to various Lexicons, Neves, APIs and many more. But what is all that gear worth without a great song, a great performance and a great production? As you will read below, Sham's greatest asset is to be able to keep seeing the forest from the trees, while wearing a large number of different hats, which is what it has come to lately in the vast majority of cases within the music industry. Unless you can afford the best team and a large team at that, a great output is achieved only when one person can do a number of vastly different tasks exceptionally well. Rare, because it requires equal amounts of engineering talent, as well as musicianship. Here's what Sham had to say to me about all that and more:
By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter
I hope this letter finds you well. You may not have been told this in a while, so I thought I would say it: I have the utmost respect for you. You are courageous and brave. You may feel as though your efforts as an artist are undervalued, not important, and perhaps even shameful because others might not support you. But I am here to tell you this: keep going. The world needs the art that only you can create.