My First Studio Day of 2024

Today, I went back to the Vault for a ten-hour session. It was so amazing to finally be back at my second home. During the session, Bob and I got a ton done—no surprise there!

Demi Michelle and Bob McCutcheon at the March 2024 session

I’m excited to unveil all the fun from the studio today.

Producing the Intro for Literary Blend

This month, I’m launching my brand new show, Literary Blend: A Publishing Podcast. Bob and I produced the intro for Write on Track back in 2021, so we did the same for this one.

Since we had to build the music around the duration of the script, starting with the talking part got the ball rolling. I wrote my intro ahead of time and had it memorized, so when I went into the booth, I nailed it right away.

Also, I got a mini lesson in audio engineering. Bob explained everything he was doing with the EQ, compressor, and more as he was polishing my voice. I’m so lucky to have a producer who takes the time to teach me along the way. From when I started recording back in 2019 to now, I’ve learned so much from him.

Next, Bob and I produced the music. When we did the Write on Track intro, I didn’t plan the music in advance because I wanted to do what felt right on the spot. I took the same approach for this one. The music turned out perfectly. It’s so cheerful and captures the heart of the show.

Now that the intro is done, I can finally launch Literary Blend. I have been planning for months, from recording and editing episodes to scheduling future guests, so I’m beyond excited to kick off my new bookish adventure soon.

Vocals for a Secret Song

In January, Luke recorded acoustic guitar for a secret song. I’m the worst with secrets, but so far, I’ve kept this one.

I loved recording vocals for this song. It’s very close to my heart for many reasons. Along with singing the lead vocal, I had fun with the background vocals. There aren’t too many, since this is an acoustic song, but there are just enough to add a special flavor.

This one will be released as a single in August. I seriously can’t wait for you to hear it. I don’t have many fully-acoustic songs, so I always enjoy when I can do another one.

Christmas Came Early This Year

Once I finished the intro for Literary Blend and vocals for my secret song, there was more than half of the session left. Bob and I spent the rest of the time producing “Meet Me At Christmas Time.” Let me just say you are not ready for this one. It’s contemporary pop and shimmers with Christmas magic.

I had a very clear vision for this song. Before my session, I recorded a demo at home. Bob and I started by building up the instrumentation, pretty much replicating the demo with better sounds. I’m so glad I’m doing pop music again because it’s so fun picking sounds and recording all the instruments.

Once we had a solid foundation, I recorded sleigh bells. In 2021, I played them on “Snow on Christmas Day,” so I had fun doing so again for this one. “Meet Me At Christmas Time” wouldn’t be the same without the sleigh bells. Even though they’re ridiculously heavy and a little difficult to play, I succeeded at being a percussionist for a few minutes.

Demi Michelle smiling in the booth with the sleigh bells

After I finished sleighing the sleigh bells—sorry, I couldn’t resist—it was time for vocals. I have a funny story. Apparently, I can’t count to eight.

Yep, you read that right. Let me explain.

Long story short, the song has a pickup, which means I start singing before the downbeat of the first measure. For this reason, I needed a count-in, so I knew when to start singing. Bob gave me eight metronome clicks, and I had to come in on the fourth beat of the second bar, basically the eighth click before the music starts. Easy, right? Yeah, should’ve been a piece of fruitcake, but for some reason, I miscounted more times than I would like to admit. I kept coming in too early or too late, when all I had to do was count to eight. Eventually, I remembered how numbers work and sang on the right beat. Still, I was a hot mess.

I finally moved on from the beginning of the song and sang the whole thing. While hearing the sleigh bells, glockenspiel, and other fun instruments, it was so easy to get into the Christmas spirit.

Since I had a ton of background vocals planned, Bob wanted to tune my lead vocal first. Dear reader, hearing myself get tuned was quite the experience. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind. If I had to tune my own vocals, I think I would combust. It’s a good thing Bob has the patience for this because me? No way. Part of me thinks this whole development was Karma. Since I couldn’t count to eight, my punishment was hearing my vocals get tuned.

After my newfound form of torture was over, I got to have fun again by laying down all the background vocals. Along with the doubles, harmonies, and ad-libs I sang, Bob added extra effects on my lead vocal line in the choruses. Seriously, the vocals in this song are the coolest. I’m totally obsessed.

If you’re wondering if I had to hear the background vocals get tuned too, I did, but this time, I munched on potato chips to relieve some of the pain.

Once my vocals were all nice and tuned, Bob and I added a few more production elements. Finally, we tied the bow on “Meet Me At Christmas Time.” The song isn’t even mixed yet, and it’s already a bop.

Hearing “Meet Me At Christmas Time” come to life was a blast. I also filmed while recording, so a studio vlog is in the works. This one will be released as a single in November. The urge to drop it sooner is unmatched, but I’m going to have to restrain myself. If I would release a Christmas song in July or something, my Butterflies would definitely have questions. I mean, I totally have elves and gingerbread men in my room year round, but sharing “Meet Me At Christmas Time” before the holidays would be a step too far, even for me. So, I’ll have to be patient. At least I have the recording from my session to play on repeat all year.

That’s a wrap on today’s session. I seriously had a wonderful time. I’m forever grateful I get to create my music with the best producer ever in such a special place.

If you would like to read about my other fun days at the Vault, head over to my studio stories. I hope to return for another session this summer.