At this point I would like to introduce you to our "vierdafür" team member Maike Toussaint. She is a nursery rhyme singer and actress. We got to know her in our joint project vierdafür. You can find more information about our album "Dezemberzeilen" here.
Maike has summarized her view of the production of an album with a production team in this blog article for you.
I have been able to gain practical experience in the field of children's music for a number of years. Not only as a consumer, because I am both a trained educator and myself the mother of two music-loving daughters, but also practically on stage. Together with a children's songwriter, I was allowed to sing and perform his songs for children for three years, which gave me a lot of joy and made a wish grow in me: "I would like to do something like that someday!"
At first I got to know Marcel and Markus very briefly. Together with Denis they wanted to produce a Christmas album. It should be modern and fresh. And most importantly, it should appeal to the whole family, which turned out to be more challenging than you initially think.
And then I got an incredible chance. Although I didn't really have any experience worth mentioning and, frankly, was initially a little intimidated by these seasoned professionals, Marcel offered me to join this production as a full team member.
At first I had a lot of doubts: What kind of expectations do you have of me? Can I even do justice to this? They are mega professionals! Where will you benefit from this project through me? Where I can't contribute any musical training or other specialist knowledge, etc…. But what I was able to offer was, in addition to a pedagogical training and an eye for “the family”, a burning passion for the project.
I also knew that it gave me an opportunity to learn and understand how an album is actually produced. Because honestly, at the beginning of autumn 2019, I didn't have the faintest idea.
Denis and Marcel had put their heads together and drafted songs many times when we first went to work together in the studio. The first layouts were created.
And suddenly I was right in the middle of it. Help! What actually is a layout? So the first thought of how a song should be laid out or in which direction we are moving thematically and musically.
But at this point in production, neither key, tempo, arrangement, nor the final voice and the like are in the foreground.
I proudly presented our layouts to my family at home. Which of course resulted in getting feedback on these completely “young and wild” ideas: “But the drums are very dominant”, “That's not really your pitch” or simply “doesn't necessarily sound like Christmas now”.
Armed with a complete A4 pad full of well-intentioned suggestions for changes, I drove back to the studio and stared at mischievously grinning, slightly head-shaking faces. I was warned beforehand not to present the layouts to the outside world during this pre-pubescent phase. Now I first had to be grounded and understand where we are in production. Today - with a few months of experience of how these young, wild ideas grow up - I understand absolutely why and am all the more grateful for the endless patience that was shown to me again and again when I asked supposedly “stupid questions”.
And then it was arranged without end. Due to the spring lockdown, I was only able to accompany this process very passively. But Markus is very meticulous in recording every development step and creating it in our joint “MeisterTask” work platform. So with every instrument by Marcel and every draft of text by Denis, slowly, piece by piece, a shoe became out of it. I understood Marcel, who was the producer of this project, and his “vision” better and better. And even if each of us had his own idea of the album in mind and there was always a tug-of-war between our own points of view, it is incredibly important that one has an overview of the big picture. Otherwise you just won't get any further.
And then came the most beautiful part of the production for me. The vocal recordings. On the one hand, it was exciting for me to be able to sing on this record myself and, on the other hand, it was great to see how a team always wanted to make every singer who came into the studio to record a good feeling. Sure - we all wanted to get the best out of everyone. Also from me! But never having to "deliver" with a feeling of pressure to perform. But motivating words and helpful support from all sides. And with Marcel as a qualified vocal coach, nothing could go wrong. There was simply no room to feel “small” or “not good enough”.
Then I thought: “Ok, in the box! - Off to the pressing and off to Spotify. ”Because at that point the songs sounded unbelievably good to me. But then Markus really only starts to get started. And what the right mix and then a professional mastering made of the songs that were now created just blew me away.
And now - at the end of 1 ½ years of production, I am standing here and can hardly believe what we are holding in our hands.
I'm honest. I would probably never have dared to really work on an album or even produce my own. But with this team at my side, I have gained a deep certainty that the long and intimidating path that lies between an initial idea and a finished album can be mastered with an incredible amount of competence, great human support and shared passion.
We are now standing at the starting line of a new production full of pride and confidence. Namely a modern and fresh children's song album for me. This time, I'm the producer with a “vision”. And even if it intimidates me again in some quiet moments, I already feel much safer and can fall back on my experiences from the joint project.
We are currently “laying out”. And yes! - now I know what that means and what the next steps will be.
I'm looking forward to this time! And in addition to the joy of working with people who have become friends, I am particularly looking forward to the many new (and old) learning steps. - This is going to be great. -