The music video for Sweet and Easy comes out on Friday as a free download for a limited time. Before then, I really wanted to tell you of what actually went into making this song, the video and ultimately a new website launching on Friday called www.seattlecameraclub.com.
In equal doses, I think artists are as insecure about the quality of their art as they are biased about its originality. This artist is no different: Sweet and Easy holds a special place in my heart. On many levels.
This was the first song I recorded with Steve Hansen of Hi-Top Productions. I had been travelling weekly between London and Edinburgh for nearly two years, which isn’t as wonderfully jet setting as it sounds. You’re neither in one place nor the other, no routine to speak of and desperate not to waste time and miss out on opportunities to be creative. I had my studio at home and had been working on songs for the debut album. I was pretty happy with what we’d produced thus far.
I knew I would soon be spending two weeks in Stamford and, pondering this thought one midweek evening at London City Airport, wondered how I would spend the weekend. ‘Hotel US or hotel UK, what’s the difference?’ kept resonating in my head. So, I decided to Google ‘recording studios Stamford’.
Three entries appeared and Hi-Top seemed an interesting name for a studio so I looked around this site first. Compared to the other two, I kept coming back to Hi-Top because of something mentioned on the site: ‘Projects start with a preproduction meeting to discuss your goals and Steve Hansen will lend his expertise in developing your ideas to their greatest potential’.
I called the studio, spoke to Steve, mentioned I was coming out to Stamford and wondered if he was free over a weekend to record one of my songs, just basic vocal and guitar. Steve replied that this was an interesting request all the way from the UK and to call him once I arrived in Stamford so that we square up dates and times. I hung up the phone and looked out onto the golden tarmac in the evening sunset. ‘Deep breath Kathy’. This was a major turning point for me as my experience in studios had always been as a backing vocalist and I had left that all behind such a long time ago. Here I was, pushing my boundaries, getting out of my comfort zone and recording somewhere else. The USA no less.
A few days after I arrived in Stamford, called Steve and we arranged to meet on the Sunday afternoon. Our first meeting was excellent: we talked through what I wanted to do, I ran through the song, explained the lyrics, talked about possible arrangements and then went into the vocal booth to lay down a guide guitar track and vocal. It felt great getting direction.
We did one more session and then collaborated remotely for a few more weeks. When Steve sent me the first mix, I couldn’t believe this was how I really sounded. I knew then that I had to keep recording vocals with him until the album was done.
And that was the start of a journey that, nearly a year later, has seen us co-produce the debut album Far From Entirely and currently finds us halfway through producing the second album.
The mutual collaboration, creative direction and brilliant French coffee are as good as they have ever been.
Speaking of which, it’s time for a cuppa. Does anyone want one?