Checking In Because It’s Been a While
Life, Music Production and the Pursuit of Happiness
I think the last time I blogged, I had just returned from “Birthday-cation”, traveling to Nashville and Phenix City, AL while celebrating my 50th Birthday.
It’s always my aim to write an entry, but the ability to focus is the issue. Sometimes, I’m having to wear the “IT-Superman Cape” at work. Other times, I get “caught up” in musical creativity in the studio. But most of the time, I’m knee-deep into a Netflix binge-fest.
Recently, it was a binge-fest on the latest James Brown documentary, followed by watching the Nile Rodgers bit that drove me into fit of “musical creativity” 🎵 🎹.
So, what’s new with you?
Getting ready for the Christmas/Holiday/Boxing Day* season?
(* — for my Canadian contingent)
What’s new with me…?
I’m watching my sons grow up and start to find their way — socially, academically and (somewhat) professionally.
While I never want to wear a pastoral robe, or be considered one of them “Spiritual Giants of the Faith” (or whatever), I do often find ways to share (what I think is) Godly wisdom to my sons when they look for answers.
It’s weird, though, because while — due to my “churchy” upbringing — I’ve heard thousands of sermons, the words I lean on the most are the ones I remember my father telling me…
Son, never look a gift horse in the mouth…
Son, why buy it full price…?
Son, the worst anyone can do (when you ask) is say “no”…
I often think about how Pop INSISTED that I not pursue the “musicians life” when I was a bright-eyed college kid because,
“Son, you can’t really raise a family that way. You need a job that allows you to raise a family.”
I was in my 40s when I finally started to be a “stage/performing” musician, and yeah, I understood what he meant. Didn’t want his son to be a struggling musician, possibly strung out, living a harder life than necessary, and ultimately moving back home (yeah, Pop ain’t slick 😆).
We (Mo’ Jazz) just did a show and I brought Pop along and it means everything to look at him enjoying his (yes, his words) “Baby Boy” (mind you, I’m 50 now!) performing on stage, yet knowing I took to his wisdom (for the most part).
For whatever reason, it gives him great joy to sell on my “The Maestro Project” CDs, as he did the other night (2, actually).
Speaking of music, guess what…?
I found an opportunity to record a “Christmas-themed” song I wrote a decade ago, corralling a few good singing voices — including my sister — to produce, “Lord of All”.
Look for it here — http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/derreklemarcroney12, or on Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc.
This track, as well as the soon-to-be-dropped song from my long time collaborator Connie McCoy, mark the beginnings of Decro Music — my publishing arm.
Connie’s upcoming track is a beautiful “Pop”-style holiday tune that will remind you of your favorite December moments.
— Derrek Lemar Croney, Producer
One would think that after all of the energy spent recording and producing my last CD that I would take some time to slow down and chill…
Pursuit of Happiness
The first thing I did after the release of “The Maestro Project” was to hire a vocal coach, meeting semi-regularly over the last few months.
There was something I heard when I was recording “Dance Your Day Away”, something I noticed in my voice that I wanted to explore, but I think I lacked the confidence or assurance that I could “carry a song”.
Breathing exercises, affirmation (“Derrek, you do have a great sounding voice”) and numerous repetitions singing “Once In My Life” have given me a renewed confidence.
Some of my wave forms look different now (a tad straighter) when I record my vocals. I can hit a B-flat with some vigor. I ever get to high C again, all bets are off 😈.
What I thought I heard in “Dance Your Day Away” was a sound similar to Carl Carlton (of “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” fame). What I have discovered over numerous takes in the home studio mic was something close to one of my favorite 80’s singers… Billy Ocean (sans the thick British accent).
I said all of that to say this…
It really makes me happy to have the opportunity to explore my singing voice 🎤, and to use it to (hopefully!) create music that family, friends, and complete strangers will enjoy.
Especially now that I’ve been focused on training, and allowing the ups-and-downs of “relationship life” produce some powerful song ideas — something I’ve never done before.
I was supposed to be setting up an easel and rediscovering my love for visual art (painting and all), but this newfound joy in singing is exciting to say the least!