Recording: Kim Sandusky In The Studio

I’ve never recorded vocals well. I mean healthy.

We’ve always recorded in the Spring, face full of pollen, throat swollen and raw and rough. And on top of all the seasonal yuck I had strep while recording vocals for my last album. I was in such bad shape I talked a doctor into giving me a steroid shot and when that didn’t help enough I went to see Kim Sandusky. And she’s with me in the vocal booth today. In my iPod.

Kim is a vocal coach best known for her work with Destiny’s Child and then Beyonce. Despite her busy schedule she graciously agreed to see me five years ago during that strep episode. In her studio, she ran me through a twenty-seven minute set of exercises to improve range, pitch, and stamina. And she recorded them so I can carry her with me wherever I go.

On the recording Kim guides me through all sorts of weird syllables set to her piano playing. Sprinkled in are little encouragements spoken in a Houston accent. Kim and I hang out every night on the road. “Goood jawb,” she says through my earphones. “Now the same thing own nee,” she says. “Stay own nee and don’t worry ’bout anything your body’s doin’ – just pronounce the n own nee.”

On the drive to the studio this morning I sang “nee” and “qua” and “que” for twenty-seven minutes. And I couldn’t stop smiling. The exercises felt more like a hymn today. A celebration. For the first time I’m recording healthy. And better than ever. Thanks to Kim. (And cleaner eating, drinking loads of water and getting sleep.)

Tonight I head out of town. When I get back, more vocals next Wednesday. Then strings and after that? Everything gets sent to Shane Wilson at the end of next week. He’ll mix it and then pass it on to someone to master it. And then? Done and on it’s way to you and the rest of the world.

Thank you for walking through this process with us. For the prayers and encouragements every day. Goood jawb, ya’ll. Goood jawb.