Interview with Ariane Cap – A Journey in Music

These days it is incredibly hard to focus on anything because there is so much noise. Work on something with dedication for three months, then evaluate: are you getting the results you are after? If yes, keep going; if not, tweak until you do. – Ariane Cap, Bass Instructor

In this awesome interview with bass guitar instructor Ariane Cap, you will learn how classical music combined with psychology can create the perfect bass study routines and guarantees for some awesome bass chops.

How would you introduce yourself?

Ariane Cap, bassist, author, educator. AKA “Ari”, and yes you may call me that!

When did you decide to become a music teacher?

I have always had a knack for teaching – even back in school. So it was a natural progression to teach music (piano, singing, theory, then bass). To become a bass educator was a perfect fit for me. If I had to choose between performing or teaching, I’d have a really hard time to pick! Luckily I don’t have to 🙂

Was the bass guitar your first instrument?

Bass was not my first instrument. I started with the piano at an early age. Bass came much much later, after flute and guitar. I wish I had found the bass earlier, but piano was a really great foundation. I was a keyboarder and guitarist in a blues-rock band when we lost our bass player. I picked up the bass and had my first gig a few weeks later and never looked back.

Your style of teaching really stands out. People love it! What makes your way of teaching differently than the “mainstream” music teachers?

Thank you, that is very nice to read! I spend a lot of time testing what works with students. I keep meticulous notes about what we do and what the results are. I have tweaked and adapted over and over, over many years. Psychology and the brain is my passion – I read many books on peak performance, sports psychology, on using language patterns for optimal learning, on motivation and on the power of attitude. All this informs my advice to students. At the same time, I pay keen attention to my students and come up with specific approaches/exercises for each unique challenge. All science aside, though, I learn the most from paying keen attention to my students. And I see myself not “only” as a music teacher but also as a performance coach and a mental trainer. This led me to develop my PORA approach and incorporate Tiny Habits into my teaching (to name just two of several such concepts I use).

You seem to master a lot of different styles, even classical music! Why did you choose to play classical music on your bass guitar?

Classical music was my first love, especially Bach. (And Bach really rocks some bass lines!). While I first played Rock and Pop and then Jazz and Fusion on the bass, the classical influence never left me. Especially when I started teaming up with bassoonist extraordinaire Paul Hanson, my love for classical music got revived. The bassoon is a classical instrument and Paul sure blows what that instrument traditionally does out of the water. That really inspired me to approach the electric bass in a similar way. My compositions tend to show my classical roots, too. I just love the whole spectrum – whether it is playing a funky groove with a super tight drummer bringing down the house or checking out tapped chord melodies and finding creative ways around my six string.

You have a lot of positive comments on your bass sound. What makes it so special?

Thank you! A lot about good sound has to do with good technique – I worked on playing even, minimizing tension, alternating my right-hand fingers and optimizing my posture, positioning of the thumb and fingers etc. I find the best angle to pluck the strings and I pay close attention to coordination between the hands. Both the hands as well as the mind need to be on the same page with the notes we are playing!
I love my Marleaux basses because they have such a breadth of tonal expressions. A few of them have programmable electronics, so I can dial in precisely what I am looking for. I use Revsound cabs and TC amps. My strings are Dean Markley SR 2000’s. When I record I love going direct with my Tsunami cables. I think it comes down to knowing your gear very well and dialing in the right sound for the tune. For mixing the sound in all of my videos I have Wolf Wein of Wolftrackaudio to thank – he is a bass player himself as well as a composer, so he knows sound!

What are some major milestones in your life?

Meeting my teacher Wolf Wein who encouraged me endlessly was a huge milestone. Up to then, I had been a marine biologist, so talk about a turn of direction! But when I met him and he gave me awesome feedback, I went back to university, but this time not for zoology, but for music. Other milestones were passing the hard entry exams to the University of Music in Vienna, getting selected for a scholarship for the University of Miami School of Music, Bass at the Beach with Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten, and moving to the States. But most interesting I think are those little milestones – when I get a musical idea out of the blue and it turns into a song. Or when the music just flows with my favorite bandmates. Or every single time one of my students has a light bulb moment! Self-publishing my book and creating my courses was a milestone. Meeting Scott Devine of Scott’s Bass Lessons at the 2015 Warwick Bass Camp was a big milestone. And whenever I get an email from someone somewhere in the world who tells me a video or my book helped them or encouraged them in some way, then I feel like I am on the right track.

What do you think is most important in being a successful musician?

Being creative and solid. To understand how to best serve the situation. And to create your own
Focus! Decide what to learn (a book, a style, a program), and then learn it. These days it is incredibly hard to focus on anything because there is so much noise. Work on something with dedication for three months, then evaluate: are you getting the results you are after? If yes, keep going; if not, tweak until you do. The PORA method I developed is all about training one’s attention – it accelerates learning. Being open-minded is also important, and looking to learn from everyone, drummers, singers, soloists, harmony instruments… Learn as many styles as possible, it will enrich your experience.

Do you have any great music projects coming up with a band?

I have a new project with trumpeter and GRAMMY recognized producer Nick Phillips. We do original compositions as well as adaptations and re-harmonizations of Jazz standards. We are working up a program at the moment. My duo OoN with Paul Hanson is playing a few upcoming gigs. Recently I recorded for a Disney production for kids and I am exploring the LA scene. I am also writing several more books and courses.

What does a typical music day in your life look like?

I meditate, workout and clean my space in the early morning. I do one short practice session and a few minutes of ear training and piano. Then I either see students online for a few hours or do business-related tasks. The afternoon is reserved for writing. I try to write about six hours every day these days – books, blog posts, teaching materials. At around 8 PM I do my own practice, including learning band material and composing. Sometimes I see students very late at night to accommodate time zones.

What advice would you give other musicians that are just starting out?

Focus on the quality of your practice, not the quantity (a good teacher or program can set you on the right path). Cultivate good technique habits early on (relaxed posture and hands, the economy of motion). Don’t try to find justifications for shortcuts that sound alluring but don’t work. Don’t waste time trying to find answers to questions like “What is the best bass for me”, “Should I use TAB or not?”, “Does learning theory stifle my creativity?”, “Am I too old to learn to read?” etc. Instead, hunker down and do it. Start with regular, focused practice sessions. They don’t have to be long, but consistent and focused. My view: the notion of talent is way overrated, and smart regular work is underrated. Don’t wait for motivation to show up – just do it! When you feel you are getting better it becomes easier.

Where can people find you, and why should they connect with you?

https://arisbassblog.com/
https://arianecap.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ariane.cap
https://www.facebook.com/CapCatBass/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/arianecap/
My book: https://amzn.to/2jhcqpK
My wall chart: https://amzn.to/2qGxgix
My course: https://arisbassblog.com/coaching-course/

If you want to start playing bass guitar or want to improve your bass guitar techniques, check out Ari’s course here (along with other great bass guitar lessons)

Interview with Asher Laub – A Journey in Music

While the industry is still really competitive, it’s exciting to see how many folks are able to earn a living with their passion. – Asher Laub

In this Journey in Music with Asher Laub, you see how a unique combination of break-dance and violin makes for a great entertaining musical performance.
Here is how gymnastics and the violin, shaped his future.
Have fun!

How would you introduce yourself?

My stage name is Asher but people locally or on social media know me as Asher Laub.

What made you start in making music?

interview with asher laub

I started the Suzuki method on violin at the age of 2, believe it or not, on a margarine box violin. I don’t remember really enjoying the violin until I was old enough to make up my own tunes and play along to popular tunes on the radio around age 7. The fun really started in high school when I was brought in as the only violinist to improvise along with the jazz band. That’s when my love for composition was sparked.

How did you come up with the unique combination of violin and breakdance?

Sports, particularly gymnastics struck a note with me at an early age, pun intended. I learned to flip, walk on my hands etc. And wished I had more time to hone that craft but my parents valued my orchestral performances and recitals a bit more.
In my post-college years, I hit a serious snag in my health, as I was diagnosed with the “incurable” diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency. This was one of the darkest periods I could have ever imagined. Hard to believe that I learned enough about my condition and alternative practices to emerge from that hellish state, practically unscathed. And as soon as I became healthy strong enough I felt this inexplicable drive to reinvent myself. And so the breakdancing violinist concept was born.

What is your latest music project?

I am in the midst of multiple projects with 3 electronic producers. I’m getting ready to release an original instrumental cover of Bruno Mars, Finesse. It’s in its mixing/mastering stage and should be released soon!

What are some great achievements that you had in music in the last years?

My big achievements this past year included millions of views on my youtube channel, tens of thousands of new fans on Instagram, facebook and twitter. Also, some concert performances for a list of celebrities, and some of the largest multinational corporations including Citigroup, Mountain Dew, Nickelodeon, TNT, Google, LG Sprint, CNN, Meridian Healthcare Network, and a slew of others. It’s been a year and I’m grateful for all of these wonderful opportunities.

How important are connections in music and how do you find them?

Connections are pretty valuable for any career. I do my best to connect with people at concerts, and various events. People ask for your card and may refer you others looking for live entertainment. I have found the quality of my live performance made all the difference in building referrals and connections. Because people videotape these events on their cell phones and share them on social media, and with friends, and some of whom may be prospective clients.

What do you think is most important in being a successful musician?

interview with asher laub

The single most important ingredient in succeeding as an independent artist for me has been an unwavering commitment to honing my craft as a violinist and as a studio musician. Also, creating quality music and engaging my fanbase with good content has been key to much of my success. Collaborating with other artists is also really helpful in cross-promotion, which I honestly haven’t done enough of.

What is your opinion of the music market today, in 2018?

I’ve noticed an interesting landscape that includes some incredible talent, but also some really weak artists. Unfortunately, many of the major labels look for quick profits and invest significant funds into artists who were once strippers, or reality show celebrities. That’s all fine and dandy with exception to the fact that those criteria got them in the door with little attention paid to their actual musical talent. This is a trend that I find baffling, but with the advent of social media a whole lot of serious band, electronic and solo talent has emerged. While the industry is still really competitive, it’s exciting to see how many folks are able to earn a living with their passion.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I typically wake up late morning, eat a nice big breakfast and check my mail and social media for new messages. Then, I answer client and fan questions and head straight to my studio to begin new recordings, or finish up music video projects. Usually, I have to edit tracks and rehearse new music with my bandmates or review choreography with my dancers for upcoming performances.
My schedule is a bit unpredictable because most of what I do is structured around track releases and live performances. Some events end at 7 pm and others end at 1 am. The later I get home the later I need to sleep in. And when I do it shifts my schedule up a few hours.

What advice would you give other musicians that are just starting out?

The music industry is very competitive with a lot of people looking to make it “big”. I’ve noticed a number of smaller artists succeed by finding a niche of fans, albeit small, but dedicated to their work. Content is key and if fans see your passion in the music you create I think that’s a recipe for success.

Where can people find you, and why should they connect with you?

These platforms below are the best way to connect with me. I always read messages and comments even if it takes me a while to get back to people. It means a lot to me when I see people interested in my work.

www.asherlaub.com
www.youtube.com/user/adlbrk
https://www.instagram.com/asherlaub/
https://facebook.com/asherlaubmusic
https://soundcloud.com/asher-laub

Interview Bouncing Betty

Interview with Bouncing Betty – A Journey in Music

Be yourself and express yourself through your music. Learn an instrument and try to understand music through that instrument. It´s all worth it!

How would you introduce yourself?
Hi, we are Bouncing Betty 😉
What made you start in making music?
We all make music since we´re kids. All of us are raised with the vintage Sounds of Rock´n´Roll like Led Zeppelin, Kiss or Black Sabbath. Rock music was always a necessary part of our lives.So…If you love music that much, you´ll always come to the point to create your own music.

You make different styles of music, what is your favorite?
Rock music – pure clear, high energy Rock music

interview bouncing betty

What is your latest music project?
Yeah – that’s Bouncing Betty

What are some great achievements that you had in music in the last years?
We played some Festivals in and outside of Germany as well as we released our first EP, called “Pull the plug” in Sep 2018. All of our energy and inspiration for making music we put in this 3 Songs and try to bring back the Spirit of Rock´n´Roll back to the people.

How important are connections in music and how do you find them?
Connections are always important whatever you do. In the music biz, It´s necessary to create a basic stock of fans or to get started. But in the end, it´s just about the afford you put in your music, to develop yourself and stay in touch with fans and promoters. You can have as many connections as you want if you suck, no one’s gonna respect you and your music.

What do you think is most important in being a successful musician/band?
It´s necessary to understand that making music is not about getting successful. Economical Success is a gift that you take if you put a lot of sweat and blood in what you do but first of all making music is just about making music. If you love music you´ll do it whether you´re successful or not.

What is your opinion of the music market today, in 2018?
Society is being quicker and more inconstant than ever before. Songs that were famous a half year ago could tomorrow be old stock – Why? Cause Internet is makin´ life unpredictably fast.
Due to that point no one´s gonna buy CD´s or LP´s anymore – People listen to their favorite song on Spotify and then you skip to the next one or another band. The sad thing about that is people don´t take the time anymore to listen to a whole album. Bands who set up an Album do that in a certain way and with lots of passion. They create an album by thinkin´ about the dynamics of their music and set up songs in a certain way to create an adventure for the listener´s ear. People won´t recognize that if they just listen to their 2 or 3 favorite tracks on Spotify and then turn off the Mac or PC. They don´t feel the energy, that the band put in the album. In the consequence, bands stop being energetic and just try to release one hit after the other to not getting lost in this huge wave of musicians. The other thing is, that it is so easy and cheap to produce your own tracks nowadays. When we grew up, you bought your first guitar with all the money you had and then you practiced until your fingers were bleeding. Today I buy a PC, start my DAW, load a plugin in and 5 hours later I can have a full track including all beats. Simple, huh?! Yeah, that´s the point. Every monkey could do that if you told him how to. Try to learn the drums in 5 hours…for sure, you´ll fail.

How does a typical day in your life look like?
Waking up – do stuff – Go to sleep 😉 😀

What advice would you give other musicians and bands that are just starting out?
Be yourself and express yourself through your music. Learn an instrument and try to understand music through that instrument. It´s all worth it!

Where can people find you, and why should they connect with you?

Homepage: www.bouncing-betty.de
Facebook www.facebook.com/bouncingbettyofficial
Twitter www.twitter.com/OfficialBBETTY
Instagram www.instagram.com/bouncingbettyofficial
Everywhere you look on social media – there´s aaaalways Bouncing Betty

interview bouncing betty
interview amanda mc carthy

Journey in Music – Interview with Amanda McCarthy

No amount of practicing in your room/rehearsal space can prepare you for developing a strong live show, that comes from experience alone. – Amanda McCarthy

In this Journey in Music, I talk with the upcoming artist Amanda McCarthy. And as a great bonus, I was allowed to share one of her latest releases here! Enjoy it below!
So, while you are here, have a great listen in the background to one of Amanda’s unreleased tracks:

https://soundcloud.com/amandamcmusic/cant-look-back-master

How would you introduce yourself?

Hi! My name is Amanda McCarthy. My music is a combination of pop, country, and rock – I like to call it “Nashville Pop meets Alt Rock.” I pride myself on pursuing a career and path of authenticity – While I love guidance and direction, I’ve never done well listening to people tell me what I “need to do” to “make it” in the industry. I want to reach people and connect with listeners simply by being myself, and by being the best version of my true self that I can be.

What made you start in making music?

Music has been my heart and soul since I was a little kid. It started seeing the kids on Barney – I wanted to hop inside the TV and be singing and dancing with them. As I got older, this manifested into idolizing Britney Spears, girl groups, and Disney Channel stars, and from there, my high school obsessions with Taylor Swift and Paramore. Taylor Swift inspired me to pick up the guitar – I was already writing songs, but learning an instrument helped me give my songs their own identities. I always knew I was somewhere in between country and rock, but not quite straight-to-the-gun pop either, and wanted nothing more than to be a part of a solid band, but that wouldn’t come until much later. For the first 6 years or so of my career, I was totally on my own. I owe most of my career to my Auntie Debbie, who helped me get my first shows outside of my hometown and my first few big events that helped me start building my resume.

How did you find your musical style?

I tried on so many hats and I just wasn’t happy with any of them. I love country music, but I’ve always resonated more as an artist with the pop-country sound, which wasn’t as popular as it is now when I first started pursuing a career. People kept wanting to doll me up in cowgirl hats and cowgirl boots, and as much as I love country music, that just wasn’t my thing. I then had a lot of people trying to “groom” me into a “pop star.” (Side note: I really despise the word “groom” in reference to talent. It makes me think of dogs!) I tried to do the things people said would help me “shine” but again, it just wasn’t me. I sang some pretty ridiculous songs and took on a pretty horrendous personality because people told me that’s what I “needed” to do to gain fans. Thank God I stopped short of the backup dancers… Next came my rock phase. I LOVED it, loved every minute of it, loved the rebellion and the chance to feel fierce, and I finally felt truly accepted as me by audiences and other musicians I genuinely jive with. But I missed the pure honesty, simplicity, and peace that came from me pouring my emotions into an acoustic guitar, and by rediscovering my love for pop hooks/melodies and the storytelling of country music, I’ve finally found the right balance of mixing all three genres into my own recipe.

What are all the projects you are working on?

I have been spending the past few months recording new music for myself and starting to get my feet wet in being a songwriter for others. I love both equally! Naturally, I love expressing myself as an artist, but writing a “commercial” song following all the commercial rules can be a really fun puzzle when I take my personal artistry out of the picture. I hope to show everyone all of the new stuff I have been working on very soon…. but I have some other cool things (that I can’t announce yet) that may slow down that process. All I can say right now is that a single is on the way, and hopefully very soon.

What are some great achievements that you had in music or performance in the last years?

My biggest accomplishment so far is having two of my songs make the first round of Grammy nominations in 2016. To be clear, the first round (also known as the nomination ballot) is the round before what gets announced to the public. So while it wasn’t as public or as huge as those nominees, it was still really exciting for an independent artist like me to make it through the initial submissions and even be considered at all! The songs nominated were the acoustic versions of “Elephant in the Room” and “Bad News” in the category of Best American Roots Performance. Another award I’m very proud of was being named the recipient of Cornell University’s Emerging Artist Award in 2017. I’ve also had a few main stage opening slots and quite a few side stage opening slots for artists like Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith), Hunter Hayes, Train, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Hawthorne Heights, and a huge personal inspiration of mine, Jason Lancaster (of Mayday Parade) – along with others.

How important are connections in music and how do you find them?

Connections are everything. I have been fortunate to find opportunities through connecting with others in the industry – some of them are the “important” people you want to know – some of them are people with smaller reputations and the biggest hearts – and sometimes those smaller people work their way into becoming the bigger people. There are definitely two ways to go about making connections: One is by doing a lot of research and finding out more about the people you want to know, how to get to know them, and networking your life away to make it happen. The second is by seeing the value in every single person you meet, whether they appear to be important or not. Every single person you meet is a new connection you’ve made, and those relationships will build up over time. See the value in everyone, genuinely, not just the big dogs, and as you find the right niche of people for you, you will begin to feel a special level of reciprocation that can move mountains.

interview amanda mc carthy

What do you think is most important in being a successful artist/musician?

Authenticity, passion and hard work. Audiences can tell when you’re not being yourself… I found that out personally as I was going through those few years where I was still trying to really discover myself as an artist. Passion and hard work go hand in hand together. I only consider talent to be a very small portion of my success so far… because quite truthfully I think most people are more talented than I am. But there are people who can sing me under the table, and probably write the next #1 hit on the pop charts, who just aren’t putting in the effort so they aren’t seeing any results. I’ve never been the best or thought I was the best, but I’ve always been very passionate about reaching the next goal on my list and working hard to see those goals to fruition. I credit most of my achievements so far too sheer persistence… and maybe a touch of insanity.

What is your opinion of the music market today, in 2018?

The biggest pro and con of the music market in 2018 is that everything is much more accessible than it was even 5 years ago. Which is amazing, because independent artists just starting out are able to get their hands on resources that were once only available to signed acts. I put my very first single way back in the day on iTunes in 2012, and people thought it was a huge deal! It’s become much more standard, normal, and pretty easy now for new artists to get their music up on all the listening platforms, which I really do appreciate. However, this also makes for more competition, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes you really have to figure out what makes you special, what makes you different from everyone else trying to do the exact same things as you are. It makes you put a lot of thought into branding, social media strategies and having a personal connection to your fan base. Something else I feel is important to note is that money plays a huge role. We all like to believe it doesn’t, but let’s just be brutally truthful here…. who is going to have the better shot? Someone with level 10 talent who can’t afford to record professionally or hire a PR team – or someone with level 6 talent whose parents have no problem investing $100K+ so they can record in top-tier studios and buy on to tours opening for major acts? It’s basic math. There are always exceptions of course, but they’re certainly fewer and farther between. It can be easy to fall into negative feelings of jealousy and jade, but you have to get creative and figure out how to work around it and find your own ways to push through and level up. It’s not easy, and there’s no one specific formula that works for everyone.

How does a typical day in your life look like?

I wake up usually because I hear that my daughter is awake. We spend the day together, where we have a mix of play time and me trying to get work done at home. Most nights I’ll then have a show, and go to bed not long after I get home. It doesn’t sound that glamorous and I don’t really get a lot of sleep (haha) but I consider myself very blessed. Being able to pull in an income as a full-time musician allows me to spend my days with my daughter instead of being stuck in an office, having to choose between her or a show at night. My goal in the next 3-5 years is to work my way into the next pay range where I can play fewer shows and become a bit pickier on which gigs I take, but still continue to increase my income annually.

interview amanda mc carthy

What advice would you give other musicians that are just starting out?

For the first little while, take every show you possibly can that your schedule and budget allows for. No amount of practicing in your room/rehearsal space can prepare you for developing a strong live show, that comes from experience alone. I played a lot of empty rooms, but I’m glad those walls saw my mistakes rather than crowds of hundreds. When you’re first starting out, no crowd is too small. I have met many artists (usually managed by stage parents) who would refuse shows if it wasn’t a big enough event. Artists who were just starting out!
And I know others like myself who would drive more than a few hours to play a show that ended up being a small crowd, but being able to say I left with most of that crowd now being fans of my music. I made some of my best connections that led me to some of my biggest opportunities playing to 10 people. You never know who’s in the audience, you just really never know. Play the same to those 10 people as you would to a crowd of 1,000. If I had to choose between a crowd of 10 who genuinely loved my music and holds potential for amazing connections, versus a crowd of 1,000 who ultimately don’t care and will forget about me the next day, you can bet I’ll be choosing the crowd of 10 even to this day. Quality over quantity. Also, even more importantly, leave your egos at home. Nobody wants to deal with that. It doesn’t make you look like a “star.” It just makes you look bad and drives away anyone who may have wanted to work with you. Last but not least, remember to follow your heart and your gut, stay true to yourself, passion over money, and even if you find yourself needing to re-adjust your goals, never ever give up.

Where can people find you online:

I use social media to give people an overview of what I do musically, as well as glimpses into my personal life. Because I want you to know Amanda the Person and not just Amanda the Musician! I post show schedules, video snippets, news updates, and the occasional quality meme.
Website – www.amandamccarthy.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/amandamcmusic
Spotify – www.tinyurl.com/AmandaMcCarthySpotify
Twitter – www.twitter.com/amandamcmusic
Instagram – www.instagram.com/amandamcmusic

Interview with Viviana Dragani – A Journey in Music

Be amazed by the multi-talented Viviana Dragani. Singing, dancing, and cabaret are just a couple of the many talents she will share with us…

Sit back and enjoy this great journey in music:

Interview Viviana Dragani

How would you introduce yourself?

I am an eclectic artist. I have a versatile voice with a multi-octave extension. I can easily interpret mezzo-soprano arias, dark Jazz Standards or pop/neo-melodic Neapolitan songs. I get easily emotional during my concerts as I really connect to the lyrics of the song. I strive to transmit strong emotions to my audience.

What made you start in making music?

I began singing in the church choir where I realized my vocal qualities. Then I started to work as a dancer and vocalist in Italian Musical productions. What made me start in making music is passion and the urgency to express myself.

Interview Viviana Dragani

How did you find your musical style?

I found my musical style by listening to the masters of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and the Italian singer Mina. I am on a constant path to discovering new musical styles. Next, I will soon experiment pop/R&B style by joining the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a summer intensive course.

What are all the projects you are working on?

I am working on a new project to introduce Italian Music to New England. I was very disappointed when I only heard American songs playing in Italian Restaurants and that is how my Italian project with the pianist Bobby Gadoury started.

What are some great achievements that you had in music or performance the last years?

I am a lifelong dancer and vocalist who explored many different styles: from the Swing vocal trio The Blue Dolls where I was the first Soprano to the Italian pop easy listening on my album “Il ricordo di te” to the Tango Cantado songs in my “Almatango”. You can listen and download them on Spotify, Cd Baby, Amazon, Apple Music. (Check the links below)

What do you think is most important in being a successful artist/musician?

A well-cultivated talent and of course consistency. Luck and support have a big role as well as commitment and dedication.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

A typical day in my life starts with a green tea and healthy breakfast. As your instrument, the vocal chords and the respiratory muscles, are a part of your body it is necessary to keep your body healthy. I exercise to the gym at least 3 times a week to keep my abs strong enough to support a correct breathing technique. A light vocal warm-up follows breakfast every day. Then I start my day as a freelancer. I translate songs from English and Spanish into Italian and I record them for Youtube channels, I interpret promotional jingles and voiceovers. You can find me on Fiverr platform. Just search by my full name. During the weekends I usually perform live music and three times a week I work to the WNTN 1550 AM as a Radio Host.

Interview Viviana Dragani

Where can people find you, and why should they connect to you?

People can listen to my Radio show Itali-echo from Monday through Thursday from 4 to 5 pm on WNTN 1550 AM (Global Echoes) or in streaming on wntn1550am.com. I host a program in the Italian language and I talk about events revolving around the Italian community in New England. Furthermore, you can listen to my favorite great Italian music, classic and modern. They can also follow Viviana Dragani fan page on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out Viviana’s work here:

How to Configure your Home Studio Setup to Record your First Song

Getting started with your Home Studio Setup

Now, this is the part we all want to work on. The creative art of writing and recording music.
In this article, I will focus on the recording setup part, and not the writing part. They go along pretty well, and even when recording, you could change a thing or two in your song.
The interesting art of songwriting will be covered in another post. For now, let’s just focus on the technical setup.

Find your Best gear and optimize it!

A great recording needs great gear. The definition of great gear, in my opinion, is gear that simply works well and works within your recording.
Simply put, it should not be broken or damaged in such a way that it is almost unusable. This will slow down the whole process of recording your great song.
Repair all the defects that you can find, restring (if necessary) all your guitars and bass guitars, double check all the cables and microphones and go from there.
In a home studio, you could create extra time to repair a broken cable, but learning to prepare for those situations, will also prepare you for future studio recordings.
Studio time is expensive, and you don’t want to waste it with changing strings for half an hour.
Also, the instruments you choose should work well within your recording. Try to match the instruments to the song you want to create. A good example can be the drum part. If you do not have a real drummer, but you want to add one later, create the best drum track you can imagine. This will give the real drummer something to work with, and it completes your song.

What Cables should you use?

Double check if you have the correct cables. Cables are the veins of every home studio setup, so take good care of them! Never assume that a cable just works. Also, match the cables with your instrument. It is good practice to keep certain cables with certain instruments, just to eliminate confusion. A guitar cable could be used for bass or keyboard, but what if you want to use 2 instruments at once? If you try to find the best quality cables for each instrument, you’re good to go. Not the cheapest but no need for the most expensive. They should be crackle and hum free, strong build and long enough to be practical. Remember those videos with guitar players and supershort cables? You don’t want to drag your amp behind you when you move an inch in your studio 🙂

Types of Recording equipment

When your instruments and cables are in order, it is time to check the recording equipment. You could go for full analog recording or full digital, or a mix of both.
Whatever the case, double check if your choice matches your goal. You can get great results with a full analog gear setup, but it will also take a lot of time and if problems occur. They can sometimes take more time to fix and have a different price tag. Think analog tape recorders or that awesome 70’s synth you want to add to the mix. If they work, they are a great addition to your song. If they need repair, it could take up a lot of time. No problem per se, just something to consider.
Want to go fully digital? Yes, the full workflow can be very fast, but also not problem free.
In the end, it really depends on what you want to achieve. They all have their pros and cons and never let that stop you from creating some great musical artwork. If you know what to expect, you will be fine.
To record your instrument on your computer, you need a solid recording device. Of all the choices you have online, I would go with the Focusrite ones. They are super easy to setup, give awesome results and they have a great price tag. A cool starter set that you can use even if you go semi-pro is the scarlet Focusrite series. depending on your needs you could start with the 2i2 studio set. you get a great microphone and headphone, along with a great daw, and you can start recording in no time!

Find your best DAW Software and configure it

With the digital approach, you will need a good daw. Your choices are almost endless and I could list 5 daws that are super competitors. They all work well and serve the needs you have while recording your song. To help you choose, you could approach it like this.
What do you want to create and what are you looking for in a DAW? If you want to record a lot of guitars, you will need a great workflow in the audio track section. If you want to use a lot of loops or midi, you could use some great looping features, midi instruments and such.
You could even need a mix of both. The cool thing is, that almost every DAW can help you with loops, audio tracks, midi, and effects. The real workflow depends on the DAW of choice.
For example, if you compare fruity loops, logic pro x and Ableton live, you end up with 3 “different” DAWS. The features are all there but in a different way. This gives the way you record, edit, mix a unique feel. In the end, there is no BEST DAW, you just want to find the one that helps you in your creative process. It should feel natural and simple to use, and it should give great results without limitations.
If you want to start from scratch, with a free DAW, I would advise REAper. Reaper has all the features you want in a daw, and if you add some free VST plugins to the mix (see what I did there 🙂 you will have a great DAW for your home studio setup to start.

Create a smooth workflow

Everything should work together. Your instruments should work and connect flawlessly to your recording device.
The reason why you need a smooth workflow and a great home studio setup is simply that you want to keep recording as much as possible at any given time. Create a nice setup for your instruments, so you just have to grab them and start playing to record.
Put all your cables in an ordered bundle, and keep them out of any walkways if possible. No dangling or unplugged cables around, as they could cause trouble with hum and buzz.
On your computer, shutdown or even remove apps you don’t want or need at that moment. Those apps next to your clock? remove as much as possible, as they could clog up your memory and CPU. In your daw, you could set up a recording template that you like best. Some daws like logic allow you to save a template for later use, but if your daw doesn’t have the option, you could create an empty song and save that for future use. Cool trick, make it read-only after you created it, so next time you use it and click save, it forces you to save it as a different file. That way, you will keep your original file without accidentally overwriting it.

download this great logic pro x template for free

Write down everything

Although optional, it will help you a lot when you start taking notes while recording your songs.
Write down all the special details, like certain ways of wiring your amp, special settings in your daw, changes you made to your effects, etc.
This ensures that you keep track of your work. The more songs you create, the more settings you will have to tweak. If you write them down, you create a music diary which gives you a nice backup of your work process. Remember how you got that awesome guitar effect 10 songs ago? No? That is why you need to write that down.
If you have a super memory, YOU, my friend, are superman 🙂

Choose your distribution channel

As an extra tip, you could choose your distribution channel.
Where do you want your music to go to? Do you want to start on SoundCloud, or did you create a nice quality song that could easily fit on iTunes or Spotify?
You could even choose to put your music on a cd or vinyl. You do not have to choose at this level, and it is perfectly fine to start recording some songs and determine what you want to do with it after a while.

If the time comes and you want to add your songs to SoundCloud, you should go with routenote.

Conclusion and start recording!

With all the above tips, you have a great start with a professional home studio setup. You will finetune your workflow as time goes by. Tweaking your gear and setup is part of the process, so prepare for that.

And as always, keep making awesome music and share it with the world

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