If you followed my journey in the last couple of months you know that it was a rocky one. But my singing class is almost over and we’re headed to the grand finale. This usually means a live concert, but since no one really knows how Covid measures will unfold in the next time, the head coaches decided that we would do music videos instead of a live performance.
I initially felt a bit sad about it until I realized that this is right up my alley. I’ve never done a full music video to any of my songs, but this is something that actually excites me. I can get creative, not only with the video, but also with the song choice. I want to do this.
A live performance only allows you to do so much. You can only do one voicing, there’s a definite limit to being creative (unless you’re a loop genius etc.). But when you do a studio take on the song and then shoot a video, you have a lot more options. So to decide on my final song, the range of possibilities was on my mind.
I kinda always figured, that we would be allowed to choose the last song ourselves (which turned out to be true) so I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while now. My first thought was something by Amanda Palmer. I’m such a massive fan and there’s so much depth to her songs. Her songs also accompanied me through the last 20 years (almost) so it would be fitting. And somehow there was this one song that has captured me in the last two years:
“Drowning in the Sound” – Amanda Palmer
Then there was this song from last months list, when my peers decided on my song, that I just couldn’t forget about. It would be nice to do a jazzy tune and it would give me lots of options to work on my singing:
“Makin’ Whoopee” – Ella Fitzgerald
My next thought was, that maybe a more lighthearted and fun song could be great. The coaches did encourage us to not just choose slow ballads but that uptempo would be great. And there was this song by Miley and Dolly that I’ve always loved AND that I could probably incorporate some harmonies as well as playing ukulele:
“Rainbowland” – Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton
And well, since we’re already in Dollywood, there’s always this song to fall back on:
“9 to 5” – Dolly Parton
Then I thought something in German or even better Austrian dialect might be nice. I’ve been going a bit in that direction with some original songs lately, so that could be a good option:
“Jo Na Eh” – Ina Regen
Well and then there was this one song in the back of my mind. I’d already played it with my uke a couple of times and it would be a great opportunity to work with several harmonies and make a fun project of it:
“Rum and Coca Cola” – Andrew Sisters
I really like the Andrew Sisters and always thought “Rum and Coca Cola” is a super fun song. But somehow I also had a bit of a strange feeling about it. So before I wanted to decide on this song, I wanted to learn some more about the origins. Turns out the song is based on a folk song from Martinique and the lyrics are basically from a calypso musician from Trinidad named Lord Invader. It was meant to be a social commentary on US soldiers and their behavior in Trinidad. It’s actually very problematic what the Andrew Sisters and their producers did with the song and how they appropriated it. So the song turned into an absolute no for me.
I started thinking if there was maybe something similar, but without such a problematic back story and I remembered this song:
“Candyman” – Christina Aguilera
Choices (I mean it)
So with those 7 songs in mind I went to my first session with my main vocal coach Manu. We tried them all out to see how they feel and how I would do with the range etc. I was really hoping for an easy decision, but at least we got to cut it down to 3 songs: Drowning in the Sound, Rainbowland and Candyman.
All 3 songs are very unique, have a complete different style and would probably need a tailored approach to work on them. But I was really happy that we got to narrow it down a bit. I then had two days to think about it a bit more, before my session with one of the head coaches to make the final selection. I really wanted to have my final song set ASAP to not waste any time by working on multiple songs or even worse, one song that wasn’t the final choice. But thankfully during this second vocal coaching it was really easy to decide. One of the songs brought me so much joy and it was a lot of fun to sing it: Candyman by Christina Aguilera
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Wow Nikky, that’s a huge task, are you sure about that?”. And yes, I am totally sure about it. I completely fell in love with the song. It has a great energy. It’s a bit cheeky with some fun double entendres. I love it.
The song also offers some great learning opportunities for me when it comes to singing: harmonies, runs and riffs, improvising… It has it all and it’s all things that I want to work on. So it’s just perfect.
Plus, I instantly knew what the music video would look like. It just all came together.
So in the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on this song. Trying to get down the main voice, the harmonies and all the improvisation parts. I’m not gonna lie, it is a lot, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Today everyone in my singing class got to present their song during class to get a kind of full picture of what’s going to happen in the grand finale. And in the next three weeks I’ll head to the studio to record the song and I’ll shoot the video with the help of my husband (thanks babe).
The preparation for my very first (how exciting!) studio recording is mainly practice, practice, practice –> during vocal coaching but also by myself. For the video I’ve been shopping some new clothes (my favorite part), got some fun props and booked a photo studio. Hubby and I are really excited to do this. It’s the first time that I’ll do a full music video and I’m looking forward to learn some new skill when it comes to recording, shooting and also editing.
So next month you’ll get some more insight on studio work and video shooting. And in September you can get the full video experience 😉
If you missed the first parts of the series, you can check them out here: