Go For It!

Spent a good part of this afternoon at Piety Street Recording Studio in the Bywater, meeting great people whilst observing the recording of Paul Sanchez and screenwriter Colman deKay’s upcoming Nine Lives production.

Paul Sanchez and Colman deKay

Paul Sanchez and Colman deKay

If you recall from reading OffBeat, Threadhead Records and Sanchez received a Pepsi grant in the amount of $50,000 to help finance the project. (Nine Lives, the book by Dan Baum, inspired Sanchez and deKay to write a musical based on the book). It will be released later next year by Threadhead. John Boutté was singing one of the songs, doing a great job. I’ve been in a lot of recording studios over the years, and it amazes me how technically advanced they’ve become. It also astounds me how a producer, sound engineer, songwriters and musicians have the patience to work on a song for literally hours, just so you can hear something that sounds exactly right. It’s a very painstaking process, with one line, or two or three, being played over and over and over again, being changed, tweaked, added to. What we hear on the front end is actually a very finely crafted work of art. Remember that every time you buy a CD or download a song. That piece of music that thrills you took a long time to make and craft.

It’s so interesting to me how many people have their roots in music in New Orleans. I met Vance Vaucresson, who was introduced to me as a vocalist. Vance and I started talking and it turns out that he and his family owns Vaucresson Sausage. It turns out that Vance has always been a singer, and he was influenced by his brother, who was an accomplished opera singer, trained at Loyola University and worked in off-Broadway. He died tragically young—only 33—and Vance was devastated. “After Katrina, I knew I had to do something with my voice,” Vance said. Yep, when you almost die and everything you know and love has been taken away from you, it tends to make you think on what’s really important. So Vance, if you’re reading this, you inspired me today. I’ve always loved to sing, and I can carry a tune, but I’m certainly not a good singer. But I’d love to sing in a choir (a glee club—too much television!). Vance told me I should go ahead and try it. Well, my daughter Meredith has a great voice—she occasionally sings in a local band, and she has the vocal strength and personality to perform. I don’t. But it would be fun to try.

There’s always something we all want to do (and haven’t). Life is so short, and you have to take the chance, especially if you’re a creative type.  Go for it, while you still can. Anyone need an enthusiastic wannabe choir singer? Just don’t make me sing on stage alone at the Best of the Beat—I’m too shy!

And speaking of the Best of The Beat Awards: the voting officially begins with this issue of the Weekly Beat. You can go here to vote now.

Tickets are also now on sale for the event on January 28, 2011 at Generations Hall for $29 in advance and $100 for a VIP ticket that includes seating, special food and beverage, and extra goodies. Proceeds from VIP ticket sales will be donated to the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation, an arm of the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.