David Crowder Archives - Recording Studio Rockstars

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Blessing Offor

RSR021 – Blessing Offor – Songwriter Producer

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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RSR021 - Blessing Offor - Songwriting Producer

Singer on The Voice

My guest today is Blessing Offor an eclectic musician, songwriter, and producer. Born in Nigeria and raised in Connecticut with cultural and musical influences that span continents, cultures, and decades, Blessing has a life story and a message that he has felt compelled to share through music from a young age.

As an artist and songwriter Blessing has mastered guitar and piano as the tools of composition. But his voice has taken him to studios and stages all over. He has been on the TV show The Voice, and appeared at The Kennedy Center on multiple occasions, and is also an international songwriting competition winner.

I have had the pleasure of working with Blessing in the studio many times, and it is a blast. Blessing has a sharp ear as a singer and producer, and uses the tools of the studio in very unique ways as you will learn on the podcast.

“Words are powerful, words put to music are unstoppable” @BlessingOffor

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Jam Session

Q. When you started out in recording what was Holding You Back?

A. I think what was holding me back, was making weird faces when I sang. My first voice teacher said, blessing you have open your mouth. No one looks attractive singing. So you have to stop worrying about looking cute. Opening my mouth was really weird for me.

Q. Some of the best advice?

A. If you don’t feel it no one else will. Real simple. If you’re not into it, who else is going to be into it.

“There’s writing because you’re inspired, and then there’s writing because it’s a practice and a habit.” @BlessingOffor

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Q. Share with us a recording tip, hack, or secret sauce.

A. The one ear trick. If you’re having a hard time hitting a harmony, or a double, just lift one ear off. You actually have to hear yourself sometimes, as well what you’re matching because you have to tune yourself.

Q. Share with us a favorite hardware tool.

A. My favorite microphone. Neumann U87 or 47. When I hear it in my ears, I’m just like, who is that singing? Oh thats me!

“Everyday, just write something.” @BlessingOffor

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Q. Share with us a favorite software tool in the studio.

A. Apple's got a pretty much covered. If it wasn’t for that voiceover app, we wouldn’t even be here right now. But Logic is also pretty cool.

“On a record, you want to capture something eternal.” @BlessingOffor

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Q. Share with us a favorite tip for the business side of the studio.

A. I have a lot of friends who are much further in the business than I am, and I just pick their brains about everything. I pick their brains about mechanical royalties, what the music industry is doing right now, how to monetize yourself, and how streams of income are happening with streaming.

“Putting out a record that you’re not going to stand behind 100% is going to be the worst feeling of your life” @BlessingOffor

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Q - If you had to start over what gear would you need? How would you find people to record? And how would you make ends meet while you got started?

A. I used to only piano and I thought man, portability is a very nice thing about the guitar. So i started learning guitar. I’m not the best guitar player by any stretch, but I can definitely write and perform on it. I think that my best calling card is my songs and hopefully me singing them. So if i just dropped into a new city, and knew no one I would find the most crowded part of the city and just start playing and I think the rest would just work out on its own. You know, you’d be surprised how many different people that you meet.

“A friend said to me, you know blessing you have to get into the car first before you drive anyone anywhere, and then I thought, well me driving is a terrible idea” @BlessingOffor

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Q. What is the single most important thing that our listeners can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio’s themselves.

A. Become a gearhead… That’s a lie, actually quite the opposite. You should have a sound. Have an idea of what you’re trying to do. Conceptually before you go out and do a bunch of things, just know what you’re looking for. For me it’s been really important to know what the end goal is before you just head of on this Don Quixote quest.

Facebook: Blessing Offor.

RSR020 – Shane D Wilson – St Izzy’s Of The East Studio

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

If you dig the show I would be honored if you would subscribe, and leave a rating, & review in iTunes.

RSR018 - Shane D Wilson

St Izzy's Of The East Studio

My guest today is Shane D Wilson a Grammy-nominated, chart-rocking, multi-genre

music recording engineer. Starting out in the audio technology program at Indiana University, Shane later relocated to Nashville TN in 1991 (same year that I did) and was soon assisting some of the top engineers in town.

Not long after that Shane was able to establish himself as a principal engineer through his work with Charlie Peacock Productions. His career has led him to work with bands like Switchfoot, David Crowder, Derek Webb, Amy Lee, Owsley, Michael W Smith, Mercy Me and Wes Cunningham among many.

Shane often works from his cozy St Izzy’s Of The East Studio using a creative hybrid of analog and digital technologies to create beautiful sounds. And we will talk about how he likes to record and mix music on the show.

"Music is nothing if not all opinion. I firmly believe there’s more than one right way to do a song"  -SDW

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Things We Talked About 

Adat, Radar, Otari

Tracking vs. Mixing

Streaming Techniques

Avantone Mixcube (modeled after original auratone speaker)

Proximity Effect

Realistic - Pillow Speakers

Cartage - Storage and delivery of music gear

Jam Session:

Q - What was holding you back at the start?

A - The tendency to believe that you know it all... really feeling like you have it all together. You need to be open to new ideas, especially starting out. Go learn about new technology to make it the best it can be even with limitations.

“ProTools. Once it hit.. Man, it was a big tidal wave” -SDW

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Q- What was some of the best advice you got early on?

A - Do your best not to piss anyone off. If you’re really battling a kick drum sound, look around 500 hz. You might find you don’t want it in there so much.

An amazing producer where I was interning leaned on me and said, “I’m going to give you some advice. Whatever you do, it doesn’t matter who the person is, where they are in the pecking order of things, whatever those things may be in your career.. don’t ever piss anybody off. They may be nobody today, but chances are someday they’re going to be somebody and you’re going to need something and they’re only going to remember that you were awful to them.”

Shane D Wilson

Q- Share with us a recording tip, hack, or secret sauce.

A - The first thing that comes to mind is, I remember when I first got started with audio when I was 13 at a little church where a guy let me help with live sound stuff. Later on someone else took over and rewired everything. The new guy’s defense was, “we are gonna break the console, because we aren’t using stuff for what it’s labeled for.” Even at 13 I thought that was stupid. But later on, one of the most fun ways I work on a session is using pieces of gear for things other than what they have been made for. Just because something is labeled that it does X, doesn’t mean it can’t be used for Y. It can open up a whole new world for sound.

“Just because something is labeled that it does X, doesn’t mean it can’t be used for Y” -SDW

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Q - Share a favorite hardware tool for the studio

A- Roland Space Echo RE-201. Love it for tracking, love it for mixing. It is old school, but you can find it on reverb.com, craigslist, or ebay. There are several models of it.

Q - Share a favorite software tool for the studio

A - The Soundtoys suite of plugins. Everything that company does makes me smile. I have multiples of their stuff on every mix. They release their free plugin at South by Southwest every year. They started with the Radiator, and Lexicon Prime Time Delay (Primaltap) and a couple others. Keep your eye out on social media around that time for free downloads. I am also in love with the Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 EQ it's a great surgical EQ. You can actually real-time visualize the problem areas while you’re EQ-ing.

“Meekness is hard, regardless of your abilities” -SDW

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Q - Share with us a tip for the business side of the recording studio

A - This is a bit of advice. One of the guys for whom I was an intern for gave me some business advice specifically about taxes. Every check he has a separate savings account that he diverts money to, so if you’re paying quarterly or annually, there’s always something there. I always take about 25% of every check and put it in a savings account and pay my taxes out of that. Don’t forget about self-employment tax! Plan ahead. If you’re worried about stuff, it affects your art. Gear buying is a deductible, same with medical expenses.

Q - If you had to start over what gear would you need? How would you find people to record? And how would you make ends meet while you got started?

A - It really is a great time to be making music, you can be creative almost anywhere now. So if i was starting over, I would get an affordable laptop, the Apollo UA series of interfaces are the most stupidly, ridiculous, cool things that have come along especially with their plugins that model preamps, a Shure SM7, and some good cans. If i had those tools, i think it would be possibly to realize their art in most situations. I would hope to meet them in local clubs and coffee shops. Price yourself accordingly. Don't be afraid to make money doing something that’s not related to your art to make ends meet, but at the same time, don’t put yourself in such a safe place that you lose track of the ability to keep creating.

“To be able to move someone to feel something so much that there’s a physical, emotional response… that’s a good day” -SDW

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Q - What is the single most important thing a listener can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio?

A - Listen. Listen to people for whom you have respect for what they do. Listen to music. It’s easy to stop listening after you’ve been doing this for awhile.