Day 7 and 8!
How did you write ONCE AGAIN? A little reminder to vote! Visit http://jlsc.com/vote and select ONCE AGAIN in the World category. Thank you so very much for your support!
Here my cowriter Rahman Jamaal Mc describes how he came up with his verse which completed the song…
The full lyrics to the song in english and spanish can be found on:
The composition of Once Again was an intense journey… it is my favorite and represents for me a true growth artistically and also potentially the most relevant message, it is a humble wish to live to see, hear and feel friends and family all over the world, once again.
Its construction was inverted from start to finish when comparing to the way I usually tackle songwriting, starting with music, harmony and melody. The original idea was not lyrical or melodic but rhythmic. I got this idea to fuse 2 contrasting beats for which I had live drum samples, afro-beat with heavy metal. So after spending hours creating drum track using tempo matched live drum samples, I laid down a first version with heavy electric guitars and a typical chord progression and lyrics. Not convinced with this version, I started again, laying down cuarto, a small 4 stringed instrument from Venezuela which has a very interesting tuning (A D F# B, open chord is an inversion of Bm7), and as a result, a very original voicing pattern resulted. Happy with the harmonic progression I tackled the bassline, trying version after version till I found one that fit, helping bind the cuatro and odd drum dynamics together.
Then sitting back and listening I all of a sudden heard harmonies, thick layered harmonies which became the signature of the track. I sat for days, listening to the instrumental track with harmonies, writing the verse and chorus over and over again till I almost gave into just leaving it as an instrumental. I had never released an instrumental track before and I knew I needed to write something that added to the track, not take away from the epic music. I figured, all in good time. Maybe this was a track that needed years to develop as others had been, and that I couldn’t write a lead line in time for this album that did it justice.
Almost given up I decided that I would focus on the instruments calling in trumpeteer Anthony Ant to lay some supportive trumpet lines. I kept on working the lines, finally coming up with a verse that I was relatively happy with and a few phrases during the choruses that didn’t take away from the beautiful harmonies. Jayme Arredondo, drummer, came in and relaid all the drums, with reference to a click track and the music. He rewrote them to better fit the dynamics of the song and leave room for the music. So interestingly, the piece that the entire track began with, the drums, was replaced in one of the last steps, a typical “no no” in the recording art, to overdub drums as one of the final tracks. But hey, it worked! Jayme’s drums gave new life to the track.
Synchronicity had it that while Rahman Jamaal (on Change track) was at the studio working on the Change music video, he heard the track, and within a couple of hours had written a second verse and recorded it on the spot. His energy complemented the track, adding the missing vocal element. I later chopped it up and integrated him into the choruses (as I had done with Change track). The final version of the choruses actually were given birth during the second to last mixing session (thanks James)! Still recording and arranging while mixing .. typical Renee production chaos.
A lil reminder to vote for ONCE AGAIN (World cat.) visiting http://jlsc.com/vote – thank you
Part 2/2: I present how my background in public health, environmental science and field work has directly influenced the topics in my songs eg. Mosquito (Dengue fever prevention) http://soundcloud.com/razteria/mosquito and Vinchuca (Chagas disease) http://soundcloud.com/razteria/vinchuca. This song has been used in arts-education about the prevention of Chagas in Argentina by Mariana Sanmartino .
Also, I present the development of Truffula Oak Studio, home studio started with engineer-musician Josh Petersen and bassie Waddell Bell. We were blessed that members of the PuppetPLEX helped us to build the physical structures, in partial exchange of time for future recording services.
The idea of this space is to offer low-cost and barter-based recording services. Projected is a plan to offer basic engineering training focused on motivating more women (men too!) to put on producer-engineer hats…
Truffula tree is the iconic tree in Dr.Suess The Lorax, symbol of environmental destruction. Also another goal is to make the studio as sustainable as can be, with solar power and other systems such as greywater and gardens.
Day 5 – How does your music relate to education? Reminder to vote for ONCE AGAIN (World cat) in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest
Day 5 – How does your music relate to education? Reminder to vote for ONCE AGAIN (World cat) in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest visiting http://jlsc.com/vote.php – thank you – merci – gracias!
This is part 1 of 2 videos for today – first off Rahman – In today’s VLOG, Rahman Jamaal answers how his music is related to education, through organizations such as Hip Hop Congress, Rap Force Academy, and others like The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus that use music to teach.
For me… Razteria I have been following parallel careers in academia – environmental science, and public health, with the purpose to do something with all the opportunities and priviledge I have.. Over the past decade working in research and as a volunteer on various community based projects – I realize that at this point in time – what I can give most is through being an artist…
Hence I integrate specific public health messages in my songs (Mosquito – Dengue fever prevention, Vinchuca – educating about Chagas disease) as well as other social justice issues – most importantly I see at this time the plight of displaced people all over the world – from immigrants to refugees – no human is Illegal…
I also specifically would like to help get more women involved in producer and engineers in music – much like the Women’s Audio Mission here in San Francisco… Women’s Audio Mission
Day 4 Rahman Jamaal and I share what are our musical influences!
A little reminder that you can vote everyday through the month of April for our song ONCE AGAIN (World Category) in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest! http://jlsc.com/vote. Thank you so much for your support!
Day 3 A reminder to Vote! You can vote once per day for 30 days for our song in the Lennon Awards. Click http://jlsc.com/vote to vote for “ONCE AGAIN” in the World category!
Here we share a little background on how we (myself and coauthor Rahman Jamaal Mc define ourselves as world artists…
My roots branch out from Bolivia to Netherlands and USA… the opportunities I have had to learn from people from many cultures has enriched my life and opened my eyes to the huge injustices that exist and a drive to use my privilege to do something to heal this divide…
I believe that songwriting is the tool that I need to hone in order to bring songs with messages which are relevant to humanity, which heal and transcend time…
Reminder to vote visiting http://jlsc.com/vote today and everyday for ONCE AGAIN (Razteria Rahman Jamaal, World Music Category) till end of April We got such and awesome response yesterday – thank you so much 😉
Check out this little video – “how did Rahman and Renee meet?” At KPFA 94.1 FM – on of the Pacifica Radio Network! Pacifica is a network of 5 sister stations – KPFA (Berkeley) KPFK (Los Angeles) KPFT (Houston) WBAI (New York) WPFW (Washington DC) and hundred of affiliate stations around the world. It is the oldest and largest independent network in the world, receiving NO corporate or government funding. It was founded by Lewis Hill, in 1949 (http://www.pacifica.org/).
In my humble opinion – this could be taken as the “norm” for media outlets in general if we are to truely represent the plurality of voices and perspectives that must be heard.
A little reminder to check out “ONCE AGAIN” – the winner of John Lennon Songwriting contest in the World Category Session I 2016 – a song I wrote with Rahman Jamaal
Soon – in April 2017 – we are calling on your support to vote for our song to win “A Lennon Award” – and reach the next level of the competition to quality for song of the year! http://jlsc.com