As a composer, one of the steps in the creative process that I often find mentally difficult to grapple with ...
Album Release Week culminates today with the premiere of Love in 6 Stages! This was such a fun album to write and make because it was the only vocal album of the 4 (Me to We, The Current Agenda, You Haven’t Been), it’s also the only “pop” oriented of the 4 and it’s also the most quirky.
Quirky might be a strange word to use for a more “pop” focussed album especially if you’ve gotten a chance to listen to Tuesday’s release, The Current Agenda. But it is because I gave myself some peculiar rules in writing the album. For starters, I wanted each song on the album to be 10 minutes in length (not a second less:)). In pop-song writing school, that would have gotten me an “F”. I wanted the vocals to be spacious between piano interludes. Oh ya, I only wanted it to be piano and vocals. No other instruments allowed, although I liked the idea of digital effects.
So with all this in mind, I got to writing earlier this year. I started by writing the words and massaging them a lot with the help of my wife, Lisa. Then I took a break from lyrics and did all the piano parts without any ideas of what the vocals would be like later. Then I plugged in the melody and lyrics in a very manic way…almost randomly, at least that’s what it felt like consciously. I wanted to see if I could create sounds I had never created for the voice by taking a bit of a different writing path. And I did.
Regardless though of what tricks I would use, I always knew that the success of this album would be based on the quality of the singer. I listened to so many SoundCloud pages to find the right type of voice that would be open to singing these crazy songs…but no luck. I called my friend, Jean Martin and asked if he would co-produce it with me and and also if he had any vocal recommendations. I knew Jean would know the right person because he knows me so well, having worked on a number of my albums in the past (I Can See You & Strange Machine). He immediately recommended Laura Swankey.
And by miracle, everything aligned to work with the fabulous Laura! The fact that it’s hard to describe what kind of singer Laura is exactly is why she was perfect for the project. She’s sort of jazz, sort of contemporary, sort of singer-songwriter, sort of experimental. She’s basically everything you could want! And most of all, her range and her skill of being able to morph her voice into different shapes and sizes gave us the ability to tell the story of this person who goes through various emotions on a wild journey of love.
That’s right…surprise, surprise, another concept album from Horvat:)! I knew I was going to have to create an album of love songs eventually:)! Honestly, because that’s been done musically over and over again, I was a bit nervous. But it all worked out since for me, the album just doesn’t feel like a bunch of songs, but an experience and a story. Albums like that always intrigue me, I guess I felt compelled to do it myself.
Click here to listen to Love in 6 Stages in it’s entirety. I would love to hear how this journey goes for you!