I didn’t want to do this, but I’m pushing back my Airborne album release to July 19.  I’ve changed my plans, but I haven’t changed my mind—I’m still making an album.  I’m going to push through these roadblocks and move forward.

It's probably getting desperate when you're editing in the car...

It’s desperate if you’re editing in the car…

Honestly, I’ve only finished editing two of the six tracks for the album—and I’ll still have to master the whole thing.  I haven’t finalized my scores, either, so I can’t register any copyrights (I don’t publish my music until it’s registered).  I’m still not completely sure how to use my graphic design software, so I obviously don’t have album packaging artwork.  And as for planning the release party and the promotional videos—let’s not even go there.

When I made my album deadline schedule, it seemed feasible to do the whole thing myself.  But now that I’m in the thick of it—well… I see why most people don’t do it alone.  

It’s really a matter of hanging in there, at this point.  It’s a matter of pressing on in spite of the burnout.  It’s a matter of sheer commitment, and even of blood, sweat, and tears; the honeymoon is over.

Since last August, I’ve been in this studio composing and practicing these piano pieces.  And now I’ve been working on the recordings all day for several weeks.  I confess that in a lot of ways, I’m ready to move on.  I’m not sure how much longer I can handle dissecting twenty different takes of songs I’ve been working on for almost a year—and the tension of not being sure if I made good enough edits or if I used the right mic technique.  I’m always concerned that my engineering won’t live up to my compositions.  It’s much easier when I’m recording other musicians and their songs.

Will my engineering live up to my compositions?

Why do I still persevere and keep doing this?

Sometimes I really wonder why I’m doing all this.  Why do I work until exhaustion?

Well, for me, I suppose it comes down to love.  Yes, love for what I do, but love for my listeners, too.  (However, I know sometimes I keep going more out of obsession.)

To me, love implies an honest effort—one that I continually strive to attain.  And why put in all this work just to build myself up and gain attention?  No, I want to make music that speaks to people in ways that words cannot—that perhaps makes someone’s day a little better.  I know I’m really blessed to be able to work hard and to pursue these dreams, so now I want to bless others.

But what’s all this talk if I don’t go walk it out?  The love is in the hard work; I want it to be about giving my best:

“Let us not love with words and speech but with actions and in truth”  (1 John 3:18).

Doing my best is my only “good enough,” and I need to keep moving forward.  I can’t let the obstacles stop me, so it’s here that the rubber meets the road.

Rubber Meets the Road

Let’s hear from you all:  what’s your best advice for getting through the “crunch time” in making an album? How do you keep going through burnout?

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About Shelby Rawlings Blalock

I'm a 22-year-old composer, pianist, audio engineer, student, and GRAMMY Camp 2012 alum––a Charlottesville native making my way in Nashville! I write music for orchestra and small ensembles, but my debut solo piano album Airborne is available now on iTunes.

One response »

  1. thezoomix says:

    Dont ever lose focus, work on the sound first the rest will follow, in this regard you will get the most achieving your expected sound than any fancy cover will show up your work.
    Nice music making. Saludos

    Like

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