Thursday, January 21, 2016

Making a Record - Nashville Edition

I love to go to the studio and stay there 10 or 12 hours a day. 
I love it. 
What is it? 
I don't know. 
It's life.

 - Johnny Cash. 

Hi! 2016 started off with a bang y'all! On January 3rd, I began recording my new album here in Nashville, TN at Sound Emporium Studios. It's been a pretty fantastic process so far and I wanted to share a little behind the scenes action with all of you.

Check it out!

We recorded at the legendary and beautiful Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville and enjoyed every minute getting to create and bring these songs to life.

Ryder didn't have enough guitars to use though, unfortunately. 

So, we found him some more...

Drum Mic Situation

This will do...I guess. ;) 

Game Plan.

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

Flew this guy in from Los Angeles, CA to lay down all the sick beats...

And he totally KILLED it.

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I make a list of goals for the year. One of my personal goals for 2016 is to live in moments more and make sure I am allowing myself to enjoy the amazing things happening in my life, while they are happening. 

I am extremely goal oriented and I have a tendency to always be looking on to the next challenge I want to tackle or the next move I need to make. I've missed out in the past on letting myself really enjoy and appreciate the things I've worked hard for because I'm always ready to chase down the next dream. I'll never lose that drive and I don't plans to slow down, but I think it's important to enjoy the moments when you get to experience the thrill of hard work and sacrifice paying off, and when you get to realize dreams you've worked hard for. I made sure to let myself enjoy this process and marvel in appreciation at the incredible ways God is moving in my life.

I am thankful

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

This guy is so talented and I am very thankful to be working with CharlieHorse Productions on this album. Not only is, Andy Sheridan a skilled and creative producer, he's also an incredibly gifted pianist. It's wonderful when you get to work alongside someone who understands the process of making an album from both the perspective of a producer, but also as a musician. I'm so pumped that I get to work with him as a producer on my first full length record AND get to have his beautiful playing on some of my songs as well.

The first time I met, Andy was at a show I was playing in Nashville. He popped down to the venue quick, right before he was about to board a bus to hit the road (oh yeah, Andy is also currently the band leader and keys player for a talented fella you may be familiar with named, Hunter Hayes). So, the first time we met it was quite brief. When I started meeting with possible producers for this album, I'd actually forgotten that Andy was also a producer and had a studio of his own. My bandmate, Ryder and I were rehearsing one afternoon and he reminded me that I should reach out to, Andy to see if he'd be interested in meeting to chat about possibly working with us on my album. We met, I started explaining the vision I had for this album and I knew within the first 5 minutes that he was the guy that could help bring that vision to life. I knew that he would work with me, not just for me. I so highly recommend Andy and CharlieHorse Productions. I'm thankful for his enthusiasm, knowledge and that he's not afraid to try new ideas or test mine. 

Crazy excited for you all to hear what we've got in store for you! 

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

"Kari, while I respect your creativity and ideas, I just don't think it's a great idea for you to bust into a 5 minute rap battle with Jake in the middle of this ballad." - just a possible conversation that could conceivably have been taking place during the moment this photo was taken.  

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

The ridiculously talented, Brian Kops, ladies and gentlemen. So dang happy he was able to fly into Nashville for the week to play drums on my album!

Ryd, Jake, Brian, Andy - A.K.A = Dream Team

Ryd SLAYED on guitar y'all. I'm pumped for you to hear the sweet licks he threw on these songs!

Killin' it.

It's me. 
I was just sorta wondering how things are going. 
Over there. 
In the live room. 
Cause I'm just here sitting alone again,
In the vocal booth. 



The talented Jacob Meekhof, guys and gals...not just the comedic relief in this band. This guy forever brings the funk and always holds it down for us with the thickest bass lines. I can't wait for you all to hear him throwin' it down on this album. 

It was wonderful getting to have our friend, Anthony at the studio for a couple days as well. He is a fantastic piano player AND writes beautiful, beautiful music. 


Lotta dudes y'all...

It was an absolute pleasure getting to work with these gentlemen. 

This is Nathan and he is a freakin' phenomenal drum tech. Also his roommate, Kyle, brought us the BEST FREAKIN' coffee our last day in the studio. Gaaaah, it was so good, you guys.

Photo Cred: Katie Kessel - Roaring Frog Photography

I truly could not have asked for a better group of gifted individuals to record my first full length album in Nashville with. I'm thankful for every ounce of creative energy these people poured into this process and these songs that are so special to me. 

I seriously scored the dream team y'all. 

I'm feeling all kinds of fortunate for this entire process, even the stressful parts that keep me up at night, because I've wanted to record an album in Nashville my entire life. But I didn't want to just record an album in Nashville for the sake of recording an album in Nashville. I wanted to record THIS album in Nashville at THIS studio with THESE people. It took me years to save enough funds to make this record a reality and I've poured my heart and soul into these songs. I am a true believer in God's timing. I wanted to make this album a year ago and it seemed like it was taking forever for it to all come together. But now, I know this all happened exactly as it was meant to happen. 

Our first day of recording, I was driving to the studio that morning praying that everyone would have a safe week, that our time in the studio would be well spent, that I had chosen the right songs, that everything would go smoothly and that God would level out any anxiety I was feeling. I asked him if he wouldn't mind just giving me a little sign to let me know that I was exactly where he wanted me to be and that everything was going to be good. I arrived at the studio, stepped out of my car and there was a penny lying on the ground, heads up. If you know me, you know that God has consistently communicated with me by leaving pennies for me to find since I was a little girl. Heads up pennies are good. Tails up pennies usually mean I need to take another look at the situation or re-evaluate. (I know that sounds weird. Maybe I'll explain more about this sometime in another blog.)

I picked up the penny and actually laughed out loud as a feeling of gratitude washed over me. I wandered into a quiet room at the studio and thanked God for bringing me to this moment, for giving me the opportunity to work with talented people, for getting my bandmates safely to Nashville, for continually surrounding me with opportunity and fans who are like family and for bringing me to a place where I'm able to be thankful and also really dang proud of the work I've put in to get here.

I want you all to know three things. 

1. I love you. All of you. I will never get tired of telling you all how much I love and appreciate you for coming along with me on this journey through life and helping to keep me afloat. Thank you for believing in me enough to patiently wait for this album. To spend your time and hard earned money on my shows and on my music. To share my music with you friends. To take time out of your lives to encourage me and support my dream. There will never be enough thank you's to go around for everything that y'all do for me. <3

2. God's timing is the only timing you should ever be concerned with. I learn this more and more all of the time. I've spent a lot of time trying to force certain things in my life and thinking that I know a better way to reach a certain point or achieve a certain goal. The plans God has for us will ALWAYS tremendously surpass anything we could possibly have imagined ourselves. I had to wait for this album to be a reality and I waited longer than I thought I'd have to wait, but I know this experience would not have happened this way at any other time. I'm not telling you to wait for your dreams to happen to you. You gotta go out there and chase them down, folks. Don't wait to pursue the things you love or you'll be waiting forever. But, trust in God's plan for your life, even when it is hard. I know it can be really hard. Especially when God removes things from our life that we are not ready to lose, in order for us to find our way to the things we really need and the things that God wants for us. God will put people and experiences in your life when he believes that you are ready for them. 

3. NEVER, EVER, EVER STOP trying to reach your goals. Dreams are reachable. Goals are achievable. Don't you dare let anyone tell you that your aspirations are impossible or that your goals aren't attainable. 

You have to work hard. 
You will have to sacrifice. 
There's no such thing as an easy way.

And THAT is what makes a dream worth it. 

As a completely independent artist, I've been able to realize dreams that at one point I thought weren't reachable for someone like me, without a record contract, without a management team, without crazy amounts of money, or a promotions team or a booking agent. Traveling the road as an independent artist trying to accomplish BIG things will almost certainly be long and more treacherous, but it IS possible to achieve these things if you stay the path, trust God, stay true to yourself and you honestly work as hard as you can. I often look around and think to myself, "How in the world is this happening?! How did I get here?!" Realizing crazy dreams is a crazy feeling, but it isn't crazy to dream big. You will absolutely end up where you want to be if you are persistent and willing to work for it. I believe that without a shadow of doubt. 

We are currently in the process of recording vocals, background vocals and other special things I can't wait for you guys to hear on this album. I'll be sharing more behind the scenes photos and video as we near the release date. There are so many exciting things happening that I can't wait to tell you all about. Hooray! In true fashion I am letting myself be thankful for all of this, but not wasting any time creating some big goals for this album and this year.

I'm so ready for 2016. Let's do this! 

If you want to see even more photos and videos from our time at Sound Emporium Studios, go to my Facebook page -  and "LIKE" that page. I'll be posting some more tonight! There is a video of Jake practicing for his big moment to sing background vocals on the album...I promise you, you don't want to miss out on that.

Thanks for reading all of that guys! I honestly do appreciate that you take the time to read my blog. :)

Nothin' but love y'all. 

xo - Kari