The London Hospices Choir and Paul Carrack, The Living Years

Jim conducting the tenors for The Living Years at Abbey Road Studios

Last Christmas James Hawkins Music project-managed and produced The Living Years by the London Hospices Choir and Paul Carrack. Film maker Rav Vagdama has created this short film about the making of the song.

Watch here:

We brought together a specially created choir of 300 patients, families, staff and volunteers of all ages from 18 hospices across London with Paul Carrack, the song’s original singer. The song was released at Christmas 2016 to raise awareness and vital funds for the hospices, and stayed at the top of the Official Physical Sales Chart for two weeks.

BA Robertson, the writer of The Living Years, highly commended the new version saying that the vocal was “better than the original”.

Say It In The Living Years artwork

This beautiful song is still available to download here.

HMV (Physical CD)

Amazon (Physical CD)

Amazon (Digital)

iTunes

Lead vocalist, Paul Carrack, said, “The Living Years has been an important song for me for many years, but this is the version that means the most. Recording it with this incredibly special group of people for such a worthwhile cause has created some kind of magic. It’s a powerful and inspiring track, and I hope that everyone gets behind it this Christmas.”

 

Press Enquiries: jameshawkinsmusic.pr@gmail.com

#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:

 

Singing Hands – “Christmas Cracker” and Spring Term 3 Music!

Singing Hands with Makaton

Christmas started early in June/July for Suzanne and Tracey from Singing Hands. My job was to record their vocals, arrange the musical accompaniments to meet their clear vision and ideas, mix and produce the albums. I expanded my sound library to incorporate a Didgeridoo, a Jaw Harp, a Thumb Piano and various Foli FX to help create the wonderfully imaginative world of Singing Hands! My 3-year-old son loved this project!

We initially recorded and arranged 28 songs for their 2016 Spring Term repertoire but quickly moved on to their choice of 19 Christmas songs for their latest DVD/CD release. It was great fun…sometimes a bit surreal working with these two charming and talented ladies who are probably the hardest working vocal duo I know! It’s humbling to see the effects of their work and I am inspired by their dedication and commitment to providing the service of happiness through singing and Makaton sign language.

If you haven’t met Singing Hands yet then take a look at the amazing and life-changing work they do with children across the country here:

http://www.singinghands.co.uk or check out their Facebook page for more news.

We start work again in January…I’m excited to know what they have in store for me…but I know it’s in the realm of 60 songs!! Wow!

“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

New Sign2Sing charity single for 2015, “Joining Hands Today”, Produced and Mixed by Jim Hawkins

Sign2Sing logoSing2Sing is an initiative I am extremely proud to support. The deaf health charity, Sign Health, every year promotes their Sign2Sing event in order to raise awareness of the issues Deaf people experience daily. They are releasing the Sign2Sing charity single in 2015 to encourage children of all abilities to sign and sing together. The main event is February, but it all ramps up from here now that the music and video are ready.

‘Joining Hands Today’ was recorded and mixed this summer in London. It is bigger and better than last year, and stars a whole host of celebrities including SignHealth’s brilliant Deaf ambassador Fletch@. Read more on the Sign2Sing website here.

The Lounge Kittens Demo goes viral

James’s recent project with The Lounge Kittens has given us a few simple insights into how to make a song go viral, and how to make it give you the break you want.

Choose a song with a difference

The Lounge Kittens came to the studio to record a demo of three tracks, choosing Firework by Katy Perry, Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit, and Ob La Di Ob La Da by The Beatles.

The Kittens sing in three-part close harmony, but they have a twist: don’t expect a classically styled version of the Andrews Sisters, these girls are rock chicks in disguise. The song choice pretty much reflects the weird and wicked directions they go in.

So which song do you think was the one that went viral?…

Record it with style

James spent a whole day training and refining the Lounge Kittens to get the best performance and vocal production on each song. You don’t want people moving on after less than five seconds listening on SoundCloud or YouTube, so the recording and production has to sound top notch professional. And your song has to catch people early on – really early on – to win them over. James recorded the girls on U87 and vintage ribbon microphones, he used an Addictive Keys piano sample – his ‘go-to’ sample library – then he spent another day treating and mixing the tracks.

Create a video with personality

The Loung Kittens left the studio exhausted from their drilling, but thrilled when they heard the results. Now the next bit of hard work was up to them. They took their favourite track and the one that they could have the most fun with, Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit, and produced a tongue-in-cheek video, playing with cheeky humour against their angelic voices. The girls had found their niche.

The power of Twitter

The Lounge Kittens are a relatively new group, formed in 2012, and started building up a social media following from scratch with these, their first professional demos. The power of Twitter though is not in how many followers you have, but how much influence and engagement those followers have. They tweeted a YouTube link of Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit and succeeded in getting Kerrang magazine and then Fred Durst, the band’s front man, to retweet and compliment it. It is not how many tweets you make saying, “How great is this?”, it’s how many retweets and mentions you get from people saying “How great is this?!” So find your influencers, celebrities, journalists and agents, and get them recommending you. Be careful how you do it. There are a few tricks, such as, do not @name someone at the start of a tweet as this will only be seen by anyone who already follows you AND them, but say “Hey @name” or even “.@name” because that tweet will appear in the feeds of people who follow you OR them. To help identify who your big influencers are, look at Twiangulate as this shows you the “Reach” of people who might be interested in what you’re doing. (It’s a lot of fun that one). Also help other people connect and they’re more likely to return the favour.

The Lounge Kittens have cleverly tapped into a very loyal, rock following and and Limp Bizkit fanbase without copycat-ing anyone at all. Well done ladies.

Be prepared to get a break and work it

Within a few days the Lounge Kittens had 50,000 You Tube views on Rollin’. But in the end, that ain’t worth anything unless it helps you meet your goals. You need to be sure of what those goals are and be ready to take advantage of the trend. For the Lounge Kittens this meant some seriously heavyweight live bookings: they are performing at Glastonbury Festival, Sonisphere Festival and the Boomtown Fair this summer 2014. From local private parties, to international festival bookings from one demo and video – WOW!

Understand what worked or didn’t and why

The key, I think, is in learning what works and what doesn’t and why. Without understanding that you won’t be able to replicate success again or grow it. Don’t give up if your attempt doesn’t work first time. Study successful people and do what they do. So if you want to be like the Lounge Kittens and generate over 150,000 views on YouTube of your song, then invest in planning, production and be clever with the promotion. It doesn’t take mega bucks, but it does take a vision and the right people around you to produce your song and video a high standard.

How to make a song go viral… tell us your experiences

Please post your comments below if you have any more ideas about what makes a song go viral. We’d love to hear from you!

Mixing Live Performance for Jules Rendell

Mixing Live Performance Sounds

Mixing Live Performance from the Lotus Bloom EP
Jules Rendell | The Lotus Bloom EP

Back at the end of January the delightful Jules Rendell held her launch gig for the EP The Lotus Bloom at the London Hippodrome Casino. The Lotus Bloom is a well-made, classy EP, and her songs make for a heart-simmering listen. Take two minutes to wallow in this: it’s the live recording, which James mixed in his studio, of the song, A Token Of My Love, which is also James’s favourite from the record (and which he admits to listening to on repeat in his car – a rare accolade). FYI, the pianist is Mr Rob Barron, who we’re kind of in love with during this song.  Jules was so impressed with Jim’s mix that he’s going to do more. Watch this space!

 

Emily Lee – Singer-songwriter – Recording and mixing of, “I Love Someone Who Lets Me Down”

Here is a pre-mastered mix of Emily Lee’s song, ” I Love Someone Who Lets Me Down”.

Written by Emily Lee

Guitars: Andy Gammon andygammon.com

Drums: Gareth Roberts

Drums and guitars were recorded here at the studio and I mixed this track ready for the Shure songwriting competition, “Call for Legends”. Please have a listen and if you enjoy the song please throw in your vote and a lovely comment to help support Emily Lee!

Emily’s album is currently under production and is hoped to be released sometime soon!

Emily Lee Singer SongwriterAndy Gammon playing guitar with Emily LeeGareth Roberts setting up drums