#iHope a new song with an incredible purpose

#iHope, though it hurt I will never turn away

We’re so pleased that today, 20th May, the new Missing People charity single ‪#‎iHope‬ is released to the world!

Jim co-wrote and produced the song with the aim of highlighting the stories of the Missing People families ahead of International Missing Children’s Day on Wednesday 25 May 2016.

It’s been more than three months of hard work and over 250 recordings of singers, choral groups and musicians brought together in Chocolate Box Studio. But moreover it’s truly been one of the most significant and moving projects Jim’s ever worked on.

You can now watch the full music video below. It is released today, so if you love the film, head to iTunes, Google Play or Amazon to buy the single, and support the charity to reach more of the 140,000 children who go missing every year.

In the video you’ll see The Missing People Choir joined by Royal Mail‘s Mail Voice Choir as well as music stars from across the decades including Chesney Hawkes, Rick Astley, Nik Kershaw, T’pau/Carol Decker, Lesley Garrett, G4 Official, Kerry Ellis, Jodie Prenger, Hayley Tamaddon, and BalsamoDeighton.

Huge thanks to the amazing Rav Vadgama who volunteered to produce this incredible video.

Buy it now:
iTunes – http://radi.al/IHope
Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-People-Choir-…/…/B01EXR1CZC
Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/music/album…

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#iHope – A new Charity single for The Missing People Choir

Released on May 20th, Jim Hawkins co-wrote and produced the single “I Hope” featuring the Missing People Choir, The Royal Mail Choir and a host of celebrities including Rick Astley, Chesney Hawkes, Carol Decker, G4 and Lesley Garrett  amongst others. You can download the single from here: http://radi.al/IHope

Promotional short:

 

The Rockabellas’ Debut Album 2015 – “Bring It Back!”

From Pledge Music through to Project Completion

Following their successful Pledge Music campaign last year, I set about producing the debut album for The Rockabellas.

Having been fully invested in the project from the start of the Pledge campaign, my role as producer covered a broad range of musical duties and I took a very hands-on approach. I was there to assist The Rockabellas in generating creative ideas as well as producing the songs and melodies they brought to me.

Buy the Album Here

Buy on iTunes

Buy on Google Play Music

The Rockabellas debut self-penned album, "Bright it Back!"
Album produced by James Hawkins Music

Composition, Arrangement and Production

The Rockabellas are known for having a vintage vibe, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing the string arrangements, brass and other instrumental parts. Then actually recording them with session pals made this album an absolute joy to produce.

The songwriting was a team effort for the first few songs, but then the girls found their stride and went on to complete the album, which is an assortment of sounds centred by The Rockabellas’ trademark close vocal harmonies.

We recorded in various studios, including my private studio in Kingston, The Bunker, and most notably, Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios.

The great George Shilling mixed and mastered the album and I’m extremely happy with the result!

Production values

I’ve selected some favourite moments from The Rockabellas’ album which you can hear below. These are backing tracks so that you can hear the musical arrangements and production layers. If you’d like to hear more of the album it’s on iTunes, or to purchase a CD copy please visit www.therockabellas.com. It’s a great feel good and fun listen so don’t miss out!

 

 

“I Miss You”, the Missing People Choir song

Missing People Choir

The story behind the Missing People Choir

The Missing People Choir formed in summer 2014 masterminded by Clare Cook from the Missing People charity and Jim.  Its mission was to bring together the families and loved ones of the missing as a choir, to start something new, to enjoy music and singing together, and thereby raise spirits, share stories, bring encouragement and hope to the group.

Soon afterwards an idea formed that the Missing People Choir should have its own song for their Christmas performance.

Peter Boxell, whose son Lee has been missing since 1988 wrote the lyrics to the song ‘I Miss You’ in tribute to his missing son. Jim, along with professional writer and arranger, Simon Rhodes, wrote the song in the studio here initially to perform at the Missing People Carol Service at St Martin-in-the-Field on December 8th 2014.

The performance

The choir had just six full rehearsals together with Jim before the concert, some of the singers had never sung in a choir before and for the majority, this would be their first ever public performance. Nevertheless they raised their game and got over their nerves to deliver an exceptional and moving performance on the night, which touched the hearts of many people there.

Here’s quite a highlight of my year. I worked with the Missing People Charity to create a choir made up of families who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Many of the members were singing for the first time in their lives and I’m very proud of their achievement. This was a powerful experience and has reached out to a lot of people.
I invite you to support the Missing People Charity by sharing this video with your friends but most importantly, your family.
“where words fail, music speaks”

 

Writing partnership with Keith Ames

Very excited to be working with Keith Ames, Marketing Officer for the MU, the chap who’s responsible for the magazine and free diary 😉 , writing new songs under the banner of “Birdcage”. We are currently finishing off a song called, “Forever yours”, which to me sounds something like a Gary Barlow classic ballad…There’s a very sentimental theme to this song, close to my heart…I’ll pop the track online when we finish so do check in from time to time!!

Find and follow Keith from www.birdcage.co.uk

Keith Ames

“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.

 

 

 

 

In session with Carrie Rawlings!

Carrie Rawlings at the micCarrie Rawlings on the keys

Carrie is an accomplished session vocalist/pianist and actress who has performed around the world in both cabaret and theatre for the last decade.

Here Carrie is recording her latest piano/vocal interpretations of popular songs and we hope to be developing them into full productions later this year.

For now, please enjoy the seed of something very special!

 

Get Gospel in the Studio

Get Gospel in the studio
On the hottest day of the year, Get Gospel were cooking in the studio! www.getgospel.co.uk

Get Gospel came to the studio to record some of their next demo and to assist a songwriter they had met along the way.

This was an awesome session with crazy cool vocals from Jules Rendell (group leader), Billy Boothroyd, James Philip, Grace  and Emily Holligan. I hope to see them again soon – especially as I now have very strong air conditioning installed in the live room! Woo!

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107809286″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

www.getgospel.co.uk

O2 and Echo Arena!

In July I performed on stage at both the O2 and Echo Arenas as part of “Rock Choir Live!”.

Not only that, but I had been commissioned to produce the first 15 minutes of music for the show and after almost 6 months of patient waiting, I finally got to hear my sounds played back through a mega PA installation and in front of an excited crowd! To hear the cheers of excitement of over 15,000 people was phenomenal! The best bit was actually hearing the crowd cheering in all the places I hoped they would from the start of the soundtrack! It was an awesome experience!

UPDATE! This is the video of the show released in Jan 2014 and below is the backing track…

Here’s the first song of the show that I produced (backing track) which came in at around 5 minutes into the introduction sequence:

 

Rock Choir Live at the O2

The Rock Choir Team 2013

Jim sang at the )2

My-team-after-the-show-at-the-O2

 

“Maybe Sometimes”, words and melody by David Bromley, musical arrangement, recording and mix by Jim Hawkins

A recent client, David Bromley, came to me with a song in his head and that was pretty much it…oh yes, and a very old Casio keyboard to demonstrate the tune on. The challenge was clear: I had to translate (and transpose) what David was playing to me as a single finger melody, understand the specific rhythmic timing of the melody when time-keeping was fairly loose, and create a contemporary sounding arrangement and recording at the end of it!

I loved the whole process! It challenged my musical instincts for structure, and went against the obvious placement of meter/accents in David’s lyric.

I find it refreshing to work with songs that, at times, challenge the “expected” musical timing or phrasing. I had to think differently and make different musical decisions. Listen to the distance between the end phrase of each verse and the start of each chorus and also notice where the rhythmic accent of the chorus lyric falls. I’m now working on a number of songs with David and hope to have these ready to show in a few months. I hope you enjoy Maybe Sometimes.