Yesterday I had the pleasure of recording one of my all-time favorite singers. I'm finishing up the SolidTube tracks and we will begin mixing the album in a few days. While in Vienna, I had Mandana sketch out the background vocals but another voice will really add some meat to the tracks. And I know of no meatier voice than the one that lives inside Angela Carole Brown.
I met Angie many years ago at a cabaret in Los Angeles. Steve Haberman, Jim DiJulio Jr. and I were the house trio and one night Angie turned up with a pile of charts. We played a set behind her that night and from the first note, I knew that I was hearing something special. Angela's rich voice oozes effortlessly and makes its way to the listener's ear on waves of pure and honest emotion. I know, I know...the last sentence sounds a bit over the top, but if you go to her website and check out the video of "Slow Club" you will understand my lack of adequately descriptive vocabulary. So rather than try to put her abilities into words, give her a listen and see if you can come up with something better.
The first time I heard Mandana sing, I thought of Angela's voice. They both have a rich and sonorous low range...this is a gift and cannot be taught any more than you can teach a young athlete to be taller. Stronger? Yes, but size is a natural attribute and both Angela and Mandana have big natural voices.
I had hoped to do the background voices for the SolidTube album with the guys in the band in combination with Mandana, and some of these tracks may ultimately find their way onto the album. But when we cut the guide tracks for a song called "Home" I knew that there was only one direction to go. I emailed Angela from Wild One Studio and begged.
One look at Angela's website and it will be obvious why I begged...Angela is definitely not your average background singer. She is a published novelist, a composer and arranger, has produced her own albums and is a must see at her jazz gigs in the more popular LA nightclubs. But, she has always graciously stepped into the breech for me when I have needed her no matter what the gig.
Working with Angela is the ultimate experience in professionalism. She will stand in front of the mic and work all day to give you just exactly what the track needs. If you need ideas...she has a pocketful. But she's just as ready to duplicate whatever parts are needed. Want vibrato?...sure. Straight tone?,,,no problem. Double the track and sound like someone else?...yep. Angela has all the tools of the trade and then some. And she is so good at what she does that ego never enters the room.
Doing vocals with Angela is a little like doing a photo shoot with an experienced model. All you have to do is say a few words, point and shoot. She makes subtle adjustments so fast that you just need to keep the machine in record and catch each take. We did five songs in two hours and I never felt like we were working too fast. It's just that every frigging take is a keeper. Normally, there are takes that are better than others, but when she is at the mic, there just isn't a lot that isn't usable.
I'm really looking forward to mixing this album and am so proud to have been able to include Angela's talent. I only wish that the SolidTube gang could have watched her work on their tracks. I know that her level of expertise and professionalism would have been an inspiration for them.
If all goes according to plan, the SolidTube album will be available in late May. I hope that you like it...I already do. And I'm a hard sell.