Choral Production at Abbey Road Studios

Super pleased with the outcome of today! I was asked to assemble and direct a mixed choir of amateur and professional voices to record at Abbey Road Studios for artist Fox Amoore, on his latest album The Dreamcatcher. The singers recorded five album tracks and made the day smooth and inspiring with their smiling and professional attitude. Feedback from the composer was that he was moved by the powerful and beautiful sound we produced.

The singers all did themselves proud and here is a short snippet of a take from today’s session.

I am looking forward to more of the same, especially with my own Eclipse Choir. Well done guys!

“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!


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…