In July of last year, I was in a writing slump. I kept getting this feeling that I should find a beat on a beat-making website, buy it, and write over it. That way I didn’t have to worry about writing the music, I could just work out my writer’s block with lyrics and melody, so that’s what I did. I found the music behind, “Sweet Talk”, on BeatStars. I then purchased the beat and began writing over it.
When it came to writing lyrics for this song, it wasn’t easy. This song had a lot of drafts. I would write something, listen, go back to the drawing board, and then repeat that process all over again (a few times). I think that is the beauty of writing though. Sometimes the lyrics and melody come so easily, it feels like magic. You wonder, “Wow. Where did that come from?”. Then some songs, it’s not so easy. You have to work to get the song out. You have to work to get the words you really are trying to say out. This song was more like that.
When I finally had a structure for the song and lyrical content I was more than happy with done, I scheduled a drum session. This song has a lot of typical pop elements, synths, electric drum kit, etc. However, I wanted to add more depth. I added more depth by having a live drummer play on the song. He specifically played on the chorus’s, post-chorus, and bridge. We kept the electric kit in the areas he played a live kit but mixed in the live kit to give the song more energy and more of a rock’n’roll vibe. I think we accomplished this pretty well.
For the mic method of the live drum kit, I close mic’d everything. I knew I would want the person mixing this song to be able to have every aspect of the sound of this kit available when mixing, so the energy of what we were doing would come through as we wanted.
After the drum session, I scheduled a vocal session. I scheduled the session with a producer friend of mine, and we rearranged the song even more. The first version didn’t really have a chorus, so we made this version have one. We recorded my vocals on a CM7 in an ISO booth. We didn’t double the vocals, and we added some of his harmonies to the track. My friend’s harmonies had a chorus effect on them in the final mix to add more depth to them. I thought it sounded pretty cool!
I was not a part of the mixing process, so I can get too much into the specifics of that. However, I did master the song. When mastering this track, I kept it simple. I used a Slates mastering console that also had a compressor. I slightly compressed the track by 1db with medium attack and release. I eq’d the track slightly with the pro tools stock eq. I gave the track more top end, cut out some harsh midsy tones, and gave the healthy low end in the track a small boost as well.
The song “Sweet Talk” was written after I personally went through a lot of rejection. I wrote it about having your voice be heard again, being victorious, and mainly- I wrote it to empower the voices of others who have ever felt small or mediocre at some point in their life. I hope you find meaning and enjoyment in this song when listening to it as I did while writing, recording, and engineering it.
This song will be released on April 9th under Virginia Louise on ALL streaming platforms. Give it a listen, and see if you can hear the elements I mentioned in this blog. As always, if you’d like you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you SoundGirls are having a wonderful 2021 and have things to look forward to as the vaccine continues to roll out!
Virginia Haladyna is a musician, songwriter, performer, and freelance recording engineer based out of Austin, Texas. Upon graduating from The Recording Conservatory of Austin, she went on to intern and work out of the world-class Orb Recording Studios. She has recorded three full-length albums, EPs, and multiple singles for local Austin bands. As well as recording other artists, Virginia records and mixes her band Happy, Hollow. She’s assisted sessions alongside established musicians, producers, and engineers the last five years and plans to continue honing her craft for many more.