“Mrs Pain”, by Christina Laroque.

Christina Laroque is a London-based singer songwriter and came to me for help in producing two new songs, “Mrs Pain”, and, “Day by day”. Both are quite epic and take influence from the production values of Evanescence and Sia-1000. See Christina’s poignant video for the song “Mrs Pain”.

We started with the melody and a simple piano part on first meeting, then we discussed the type of sound she was looking for and I started work pretty much immediately.

I think both songs have strong character and Christina’s vocal is awesome with soaring highs and sensitive lows. An enjoyable project and I hope to work more with Christina Laroque in the future!

Arranged, recorded, produced and mixed by Jim Hawkins. Mastered at Abbey Road Studios. www.christinalaroque.com

Saturday choir workshop sparky and special

We were very excited to host James’s first All Singers Saturday choir workshop, which was held in Wimbledon on 29th March 2014. It was attended by nearly 200 amateur singers, who enjoyed a whole day of learning new arrangements of four songs by The Beatles and The Eagles. The day’s choir learned If I Fell, in a sweet 3-part harmony, followed by Because, a trickier, but lovely arrangement, in the morning. Then after lunch, they took on Peaceful Easy Feeling and Hotel California by The Eagles. The highlight of the afternoon was the accompaniment by a five piece band, so everyone got to experience singing with live instruments, as if to the original tracks themselves (clearly we couldn’t quite manage the original line ups…;-)

Happiness is ... singing in a choir
Happiness is Singing in a Saturday Choir Workshop!

“The whole day was wonderful but singing with a live band is always something special.”

“I felt I had learnt whilst having a good time.”

It was a relaxed atmosphere and happily some of our singers took up the chance to perform their own renditions with the band once the choir had performed all four songs together. We are very grateful to everyone who helped us on the day. A special mention to Becki, our work experience pupil from Coombe Girls School, who was there from start to finish. She also spent some time putting together these interesting facts about the songs we sang. I will upload them here shortly.

“My highlights were the great atmosphere throughout the day… Good to use a score and be taught more about music theory… The band… Jim’s sense of humour and energy.  The free pencil – obviously!”

The aim of the All Singers Saturday choir workshop was to give keen singers the chance to indulge themselves in a whole day of music and singing, with Jim teaching along a theme – this time using two legendary bands for inspiration – and we loved adding a spark and something more with the live musicians. We have received some great feedback and some really helpful and encouraging comments, so don’t worry if you missed this, we will be organising more. There are so many themes we could puruse, so why not drop us a suggestion of what you’d love below?

“I loved singing with the band. Enjoyed the choice of songs. Brilliant atmosphere.”

If you know somebody who loves singing for fun, for a challenge or pleasure, then please connect them to us. If you sign up to our mailing list, we will let you know as soon as the next workshop is announced.

SIGN2SING “As One” and “Get Up And Sign” singles produced by Jim Hawkins and Bottletop Music Productions


https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/as-one-feat.-bottle-top-music/id73

Written by Tom Gearing, Sarah Lindsay, Pippa Gearing

Recorded and Produced by Jim Hawkins

Co-produced by Tom Gearing

 

“I Really Love You”, lyrics and melody by David Bromley, musical arrangement and production by Jim Hawkins

Here’s a great example of how a song can be turned upside down and re-interpreted! David came to me with this song and described how he wanted it to sound a little bit like Blondie, a bit edgy and contemporary.

If you listen to the acoustic demo version brought to me as a guide track, you will  hear how this song is perfectly capable of being a folky-“guitary”-pop style, but I was more concerned with David’s want for it to sound contemporary and similar to  a Blondie style of song.

Initially, I set about production by listening to Blondie and checking in on iTunes with what’s going on in the teen-music/dance pop genre. I was scared! I finally took great influence and inspiration from Daft Punk’s latest album, with particular focus on their single, “Get Lucky”. This production combined live acoustic instruments with electronic synthesisers and a cool dance/disco groove. I wanted to do that!

The lyrics and melody to, “I Really Love You”, are simple, memorable, honest, fun, playful, targeted towards the younger listener and so I wanted the production to highlight this and keep the sound similar to current trends so that listeners can identify with the music behind the lyrics.

It has been my mission to use various session musicians to help develop the arrangement, get a live feel and realise the potential in the song. For too long I have tried to do everything individually…lesson has been learned! I think the song is centred on Rory Harvey’s imaginative and technically challenging bass line, his, “Nile Rogers”, guitar chops along with Lisa Andreas’s versatile and on-point vocals! They each brought something valuable and inspiring to the process, ideas I would never have had on my own. To top it off. they were both highly professional, very easy to work with and generally cool!

You will hear live drums (Jim Hawkins), live bass guitar (Rory Harvey), live and programmed synthesisers (Jim Hawkins), live guitar (Rory Harvey) and vocals + backing vocals by Lisa Andreas.

Overall, I feel we got the best out the song, we made the right decisions with style, tempo and production. I’ve learned a lot from building this song and hope that you can hear the production aims and objectives as described above.

I present to you, “I Really Love You”, Lyrics and melody by David Bromley, musical arrangement, recording and production by Jim Hawkins.

 

 

 

 

“Thank You”, written by Jules Rendell

Jules Rendell Close Up Headshot

Jules Rendell in flowery jacketJules came to me with her lovely song, Thank You, and asked for a string arrangement to be added along with a remix of the track so that it would be used by a film company based in NYC.

Working with Jules was focussed and a pleasure and we are both happy with the final outcome.

It has been mastered by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios and I’m pleased to declare this job is complete!

julesrendell.co.uk