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

 

Katie Seath – Vocalist and Pianist

Katie Seath in session

 

Katie Seath came to record her latest demo here at the studio and also helped out with a few other bits and bobs for some other projects. She’s a very professional session singer who is easy to work with, talented, friendly and a great technician.

Katie performs and records with various groups and as a soloist on the London circuit. It was a delight to spend a few hours working with her at the studio!

Enjoy!

 

 

“Voice of McDonald’s!” In Session with UK Champion Chloe Jones

Chloe Jones at the microphoneChloe Jones won the UK finals in, “The Voice of McDonald’s”, a singing competition held earlier this year. Chloe beat off tough competition to earn herself a place in the European finals this coming Wednesday 2nd October!

This is where the competition heats up as contestants are selected to represent Europe in the world wide final held in Florida, US, next year. The prize at stake is $25,000 and a part in the next Dreamworks animation! WOW!!

Hear Chloe singing and vote for her at: http://www.voiceofmcdonalds.com/voting/europe

Today Chloe and I are recording vocals for her unique version of Fleetwood Mac’s, “Dreams”.

This is a reinvention of this classic song done distinctly in the style of the, “Live Lounge”, featuring Chloe Jones on lead and backing vocals, Rory Harvey on guitar and bass, and production by Jim Hawkins.

Listen to her new audition song:

Good luck to Chloe and we are all rooting for you here in the UK!

Chloe also writes and records her own songs. Hear her latest live session on “OnT’Sofa.com”:

 

 

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

 

Abbey Road 2013

Abbey Road Studios 20th-21st April 2013

photo-2It was a thrilling experience and lifetime achievement to record at Abbey Road over the weekend! I took five Rock Choir choirs into Studio 1 to cut their own unique version of “True Colours”. Over 600 singers came through one of the best recording studios in the world and to top it off, we hired the legendary Simon Rhodes as our chief engineer for the weekend.

I learned a great deal from working with Simon and gained such valuable experience from going through this type of recording process. It was intense and exhausting from the nerves and adrenaline, but I loved every second of it and felt completely “at home” by the end of the two sessions. I need to go back!

The Rock Choir choirs are made up of amateur singers with no musical background or training. Singers are not auditioned and attend simply for the joy of singing together. It doesn’t matter that not many have a musical background and don’t read music “dots” because everything is taught and learned by ear – very good training, and in someways, one of the best musical skills to develop in my opinion!

Abbey Road Kingston Rock Choir
Kingston Upon Thames Rock Choir create their Abbey Road moment!

The whole preparation and rehearsal process was deliberately creative with a close eye on detail. I put the choirs through their paces for 10 weeks, they were walking around in circles waving their arms, moving expressively, I had them singing from phonetic lyric sheets, singing in darkness, drawing the melodic and dynamic shapes, learning each other’s harmony part, drilling and drilling the structure of the song and finally connecting with the lyrics to draw out the emotional content. We studied and worked out this song like a Rubix cube puzzle and everything aligned perfectly on the big weekend! Simon actually commented on how well-rehearsed the choirs were and even went so far as to say they sounded professional! High praise and well deserved, we worked very hard for it! I’m a very proud choir leader!

Jim gives instruction amongst some of the 21 mic stands needed on the day
Jim gives instruction amongst some of the 21 mic stands needed on the day

We made five different and compelling versions of True Colours recorded and mixed in Abbey Road Studio 1. [Editor Note, May 2015: unfortunately, Rock Choir has asked us to remove these recordings from the James Hawkins Music site and Soundcloud account now that Jim is no longer a contractor for the company. We suggest, if you are looking to hear these beautiful tracks again, that you contact the Rock Choir office directly, as we passed all the recordings into their hands for their archive. Sorry to disappoint you.]

P.S. Sunday was a bit more of a family occasion as Baby Daniel and Mum joined us for some recordings…

 

“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.

 

O2 and Echo Arena shows (backing track)

I am pleased with the overall effect of this track and instrumental arrangement of the classic Queen song “We Will Rock You”. This forms part of a 15 minute, tension-building, intro-sequence I composed and produced for the Rock Choir. It is due to be performed with live vocals in June and July 2013 as part of a sold-out national event hosted at the Echo and O2 Arenas. MENTAL!!!

Royal Festival Hall Performance 2013

On May 4th I led a 170 strong Rock Choir through a 30 minute set as part of the Chorus Festival held at the Southbank Centre, London. It was organised by the Voice-lab programme and hosted by Mary King.

The choir were fantastic and full of energy; we knew we had to do something extra special bearing in mind our location and the occasion! Mary King introduced us and afterwards was extremely complimentary to our sound and togetherness in performance! Fantastic and reliable feedback from a world renowned vocal teacher and choir director.

I spent most of the day listening to other choirs, meeting fellow directors and observing a variety of conducting styles. The morning vocal warm up with Mary King was brilliant and I learned a few new tricks!

We have even been invited to Dublin to perform with a gospel choir sometime next year! Bring it on!!