You Said - feat. Mark Petruzzi

Edit: updated link now that it’s published.

This is a work in progress. The tracking is essentially done. Two things left to do:

Mark Petruzzi has graciously agreed to lend his voice for the lead. Tara Eberle (from the band Iridesense) has said she’d like to record backing vocals / harmonies. I intend to redo the guitar solo because it sounds too much like stuff I’ve done in the past from a style perspective, and I’m trying to avoid sounding cliche.

So the version below has me singing lead, no backing vocals, and a mediocre solo.

The last line will have the word “just” changed to “only” for reasons of meter.

The song is about a parent telling their child that they can fly as high as they want to in life.

You Said

Verse 1
You said, “why do fish like to swim?”
And I said, “ ‘cause they don’t know how to fly.”
And you said, “why do birds like to fly?”
And I said, “so they can touch the sky.”

Verse 2
You said, “will I ever learn to fly?”
‘Cause I know that I wanna touch the sky.
I’ll never come on down to the ground.
No, no, I’m never coming down.”

Chorus 1
Anything’s possible yeah
Anything that you want to do
It is a dream that you can dream
If that’s the way it’s meant to be
Then that’s the way it’s meant to be

Verse 3
I said, “what are you gonna do?
You know that it’s all up to you.
Anything that you dream of you can be.
No limits, not the earth, the sky, the sea.”

Chorus 2
Anything’s possible yeah
Anything that you want to be
It’s your life dream all you can dream
If that’s the way it’s meant to be
Then that’s the way it’s meant to be


You said, “that’s how it’s meant to be.”
And I said, “if that is your dream.”
You said, “I will reach the sky.”
“You just have to try.”

I’m posting this now because I’m so excited I can’t contain myself. The song was sounding sterile when I first started it, but now that it’s taking shape I’m really happy with the way it’s turning out. Better vocals will really elevate this.

Guitar: 79 Strat -> MindPrint EnVoice MK-II (tube pre-amp / compression) -> Guitar Rig 5
Bass: Fender Jazz -> MindPrint EnVoice MK-II -> Guitar Rig 5
Organ, E-Piano, Horns: Kontakt 5
Drums: Jamstix 3 -> very minor hand editing -> Battery 3
Vocals: Sick me -> Neumann TLM103 -> MindPrint EnVoice MK-II

I am using the new SoundToys Little Microshift for the strumming guitar and vocals in place of my usual technique (posted in the Music Lounge) for thickening the vocals.

So far so good then, look forward to the finished version, drums might need bringing up in the mix, here and there they disappear a little…Kevin

Yeah, I noticed that too and bumped them up a bit already. I may not have done it enough, but I will wait for Mark’s vocals before rebalancing again.

The really eye opening thing here is how well Jamstix performed. I did two things, one of which is unavoidable:

  1. I made the kick rhythms more consistent across verses, choruses, and the bridges. I really wish it did a better job of this.
  2. I had composed the parts that had to be in sync with the instruments, e.g. “if that’s the way it’s meant to be / then that’s the way it’s meant to be.” There’s no way JS is going to know what I have in mind for this.

Other than that the drums are unaltered from what the AI produced. I really like them because they have enough variety in them to not sound…uh…robotic like my hand composed lines do (ironic since JS is the “robot” and I’m not) without being over the top.

Also, I love the Little Microshift VST from Sound Toys. Like an aural exciter, a little goes a long way. I had the dry/mix knob turned to 9 o’clock and still got benefit from it without it being distracting.

thought it was guns n roses when the first chord struck up, good song ,don`t know why you are letting somebody else sing it you have a lot of character in your voice .

I was sick. Horribly so. I literally lost my voice entirely later that day. Plus, Mark’s voice has an abundance of clarity and emotion in it. And I won’t deny that I’ve wanted to collaborate with him on something for a few years now. Lenny is next on my list of targets. Heh.

Regarding your use of Jamstix…I have JS and would love to use it but I have so much trouble getting it to work for me (doesn’t help that I’m useless with puters) the idea that a piece of drum software puts in it’s own fills is amazing and that’s why I bought it but I find it pretty complicated to use…one day when I get a brain I’ll start using it…Kevin

For “normal” stuff, I found that using James Stix as the drummer AI is the best way to go. That’s what I used on this song. I tweaked a few of the AI parameters (added some variety to the hi-hat, etc.) but other than that I didn’t do much at all.

The trick is to use the wizard. That lets you specify the song structure as a set of letters (V = verse, C = chorus, M = middle 8, etc.), which are then used to generate default settings for the AI. You then tweak those like I did to get what you want.

I like the organ in the background (it’s perfect for this song) and your use of brass instruments. What did you use for the brass? I think it would sound even better if you add some backing vocals, esp that line ‘everything is possible’ I imagine a backround 'haaaaaa ’ in multiple voices to support the harmony and build the song. Michael

Kontakt 5’s stock library was used for the horns. The trick is to use CC 11 (Expression) to control the…well…expressiveness of the instruments. See this thread that I posted a while back:

Mark Petruzzi will be singing the lead in the final version. Tara Eberle (from the band Iridesense) and I will be singing backup vocals (oohs and aahs) with Tara singing harmonies.

Thanks for the compliments!

A-ha! You thought I had forgotten didn’t ya? (Actually, you probably forgot…and now I’ll slink back into the recesses of obscurity.)

I’ve incorporated Mark’s vocals. Tara and I were unable to figure out an easy way for her to contribute backing vocals since she has no mic to speak of and lives too far away. She would have had to go to a studio, and I’m not paying for that as much as I’d love to have her on the track. :laughing: My daughter stepped in to sing the 3rd backing harmony, and it was more than adequate.

I didn’t replace the solo because it grew on me. And we didn’t change “just” to “only” like I intended because it ended up not being as big of a deal as I originally thought. I did have to completely remix the song from scratch since Mark’s clarity really stands out but at the same time ended up clashing with other tracks in a few areas.

In the end, I’m over the moon with the way this has come out. I hope you’ll like it as much, but would always be happy to hear comments, suggestions or even criticisms.

Sounds really good to me…maybe a little bit “full” in the middle frequencies but maybe thats my gear…I would have used your duaghter’s harmonies more because she seemed to really lift the song when she joined in…high standard and well done…Kevin

Thanks for the comments!

Did you listen to the link in the first post or in the post just above yours (which I’ve since removed)? I ask because Mark and I agreed that a slight amount of EQ tweaking was needed, which I did before publishing on Bandcamp. The latter link, however, pointed to my Box account which did not have that version.

For what it’s worth, I’m so happy that I stuck to my guns and “forced” Mark to sing this. :laughing: He was constantly concerned that his schedule kept getting in the way, and was always expressing very humble comments that he didn’t think his singing was good enough.

In the end, the tonal qualities of his voice (plus the fact that, simply put, he can sing quite well) really added a dimension to this song in terms of clarity of the mix that I could never have done.

I listened to the post that was above me…Kevin

Have a listen to the version at the link in the first post. The “only” real difference though is a presence boost on the master bus from 8-12kHz. But that may get rid of some of the density in the middle frequency bands.

Not bad. For me, kind of trite, musically and lyrically