on making cover songs (day 6 of 100)

For a long time, I've admired people who aren't afraid to be seen and heard. I have wanted to be the kind of person who can put their ideas and creations out into the world. The problem is that as much as I want to do those things too, I'm extremely afraid.

One possible way around it is to conceive of my creations as gifts to people I love. Right now, I'm working on covering the song "Hallelujah," recently released by the band Haim (it's not another version of the Leonard Cohen song). Instead, the Haim song is about sisterly love and support. I've found that if I frame the cover song as a gift for my sister, with just a simple dedication, it makes it so much easier for me to stomach the idea of it being out in the world.

The key here is follow-through. I have lots of cover songs that I've started and abandoned out of self-criticism. I want to just put something out there for once, finish it before I convince myself otherwise. Who cares if it's not perfect? It will never be perfect anyway. I become ready for a thing by doing the thing, right?

So far, I've:

  • figured out the main fingerpicking pattern and chord progression for everything except the bridge
  • transcribed the main guitar part into musical notation (both for future reference and to strengthen my music-reading muscles)
  • practiced playing and singing the lyrics at the same time, which I feel decent about at this stage

What's left to do:

  • figure out and transcribe the guitar part for the bridge
  • get the lyrics locked down
  • practice the whole song, focusing on tricky parts
  • figure out the vocal harmonies
  • decide which other instruments to include in the arrangement, if any
  • record the various parts: main guitar and vocal, vocal harmonies, and any others, like second guitar or subtle keys
  • mixing and other simple post-production
  • record a simple video, edit if necessary
  • put it up!

I'm hoping to put it out into the world by the end of November. I've been practicing the art of putting out imperfect things with this blog; now I just have to translate that into another medium.


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