Once you have made an album like All Grown Up and are rewarded with a body of work you are very proud of, it’s hard to try and emulate the process. All Grown Up was the culmination of 10 or more years work, and being able to spend such an amazing amount of time in the studio producing songs to a standard that I believe was ‘perfect’. The next step was obvious. I wanted to try something completely different.
Due to work commitments, kids and life in general I have little time to sit down and concentrate on writing, so I attack it like a seagull. I zoom in and take small bites of a song, digest that, and return to it when I can. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have weeks or months of time to concentrate on writing alone but as it’s not really a reality for me; I figure I work with what I time I have – as long as I keep producing songs then I am doing OK.
In my early 20’s I was quite staunch about establishing myself as a songwriter and it was very rare that I would cover someone else’s song, let alone consider co-writing.
I guess at the time there were so few female writers in the music world I had a point to make and every time it was suggested that I should write with someone else so I might have a chance at releasing a ‘hit’ then I would get very defensive. In hindsight, having a worldwide hit would have been a handy thing in the early stages of my career, but I have no regrets with the path I have taken. It was always more important to me to produce music I was proud of. The fame and fortune thing wasn’t something that I aspired to – if anything it was a scary prospect because I knew I wasn’t confident enough to handle the masses and the sometimes-venomous feedback when you achieve mass visibility.
2014 The Year Of The Co-Write.
This year I have decided to spend some time working with other songwriters, listening to alternative ideas, collaborating on new music.
I have been writing with several different people over the last few months and have been coming up with an assortment of sounds and ideas that aren’t 100% me. I have found the process quite refreshing and creatively heartening,
First up is Bottom Of My Heart.
This song was written with Greg Johnson. We wrote it as a pitch for a US TV show. Over time the original sketch morphed in to the recording that it is today and I have to say I really like it.
Bottom Of My Heart was recorded at The Lab, Auckland, New Zealand.
Wayne Bell produced the track and Oliver Harmer engineered, mixed and mastered.
Guitar 1: Brett Adams
Guitar 2: Jol Mulholland
Bass Guitar: Mark Hughes
Drums: Nick Gaffaney
Back Vocals: Ben King
On the day of recording Brett Adams was held up because he had a rehearsal across town which lasted longer than expected and Nick Gaffaney had to leave at 2pm sharp because he has a plane to catch. Typical.
Originally the plan was to record the track live, but without Brett we were a bit stuck – so we asked Jol Mulholland, who was working next door, to help us out by playing guide guitar. That way we could at least track the drums and bass live and Brett could do over dubs when he eventually arrived.
We had set up ready for tracking and were about to record when Brett rocked in. So what we got was a live take with the welcome addition of Jol’s second guitar.
We had what we wanted after a few takes and then Ben King came in to lay down some of his extraordinary vocals, while Jol worked some magic with a synth.
So in a round about way and not in the way that was expected we recorded the track in a perfect way.
Fortunately I received funding to record Bottom Of My Heart from NZ on Air. That meant I could spend valuable time in the studio and look after all the clever people working with me. i.e. I could pay them! I am so grateful for the favours musicians and video makers have spotted me over the years, but I am even more grateful when I can say thank you with some cash. It is important to recognise the talent and input of others and I really like to be able to respect that by paying them a fair wage for their work. This is what a NZ on Air grant means to me and I am happy to pass on the good fortune.
The NZ on Air grant also made funds available to put into a video, and this project took soon took on a life of it’s own. More about that later.
Thanks for coming on another musical ride with me.
Artist: Jan Hellriegel and Band
Venue: The Mt Eden Village Centre
City: Mt Eden , Auckland
Country: New Zealand
Age restrictions: All Ages
Notes: Celebrating the release of her new single “Because You” and following the great success of her appearance last year, Village Music is very pleased to welcome Jan Hellriegel back to the old hall at the Mt Eden Village Centre. Jan will be accompanied by her favourite ‘all-star’ musical line-up and we look forward to a very special evening for making music, not to mention the opportunity to really listen in just the right kind of intimate and convivial atmosphere. Tickets are strictly limited and priced to sell, so do get in early. Every ticket gets a seat!