A magazine made by artists, creators and producers featuring interviews, music and art projects. indiefferential.com/welcome
Friday, June 17 2022
INTERVIEW with Shirley Cason by George Skendros:
Q: Where can we find you right now and what are you up to?
A: I am in my studio in the New York metro area and working on new recordings. People can find me on the internet at my website. Link: https://www.shirleycason.com. The second would be my “smart page”, https://withkoji.com/@shirleycason, which has links to music websites & my social media pages. On top of that page is a link that takes people to check out all the YouTube videos that people had made using my music in the background for their videos. It’s fun to see the different ways people have used my music as part of their videos to share what they are passionate about in their lives! My original music is available Royalty Free at my store for people to download and use in their Homemade videos - Family Videos - Weddings DVDs - YouTube videos - Indie Films & their Charity Projects.
Q: How do you write your songs?
A: The one way I start writing a song is from the inspiration that comes from my heart that are about personal events in my life that has either moved me to tears or laughter. Robert Frost once said," If a story does not make the writer laugh or cry, it will not make anyone else laugh or cry either." I strongly agree with that as a songwriter. With these emotions, I try to imagine the sounds that would express them musically. Then I search for those sounds in my keyboards to use them to record the song.
Another way I write a song is to just go into the studio and turn on the keyboards and start jamming with a few chords that feels good that leads to a melody. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I hear a melody and go into the studio to record a quick rough piano draft of what I heard in my dreams. I always enjoy a few days later listening to those 1st recordings to pick out the songs that I feel can be develop and possibly be on my next album.
Q: Tell us a bit about your gear (instrument etc.).
A: Studio Keyboards: Nord Stage 3 - Korg Kronos – Roland Fantom - Yamaha motif – Kurzweil 2500. Recording gear: Apple Mac Pro laptop – Logic recording software. I use a laptop so I can travel and collaborate with fellow musicians.
Q: What's the one thing you find challenging with today's state of the music industry?
A: It’s really wonderful how the music industry has changed for Indie artists that give them the opportunity to distribute their music around the world. Social media has made it so accessible to connect consistently with their fans online. I think the challenges are the ones an artist creates for themselves. You just have to get up every day and share your music, share who you are and why you do what you do. Just strive to “be yourself” musically and socially online and when you perform in concert.
Q: Tell us a bit about "Relaxing Piano CD".
A: The RELAXING PIANO album was recorded without any "takeout", "cuts" or "studio edits". It was recorded for a fan that wrote to me asking me to record just a piano CD. She wrote, "Shirley... My deceased father was a fabulous pianist... I miss him terribly. He died when I was sixteen of a massive heart attack. Things have never been the same since in my life. My question is do you have a CD of strictly piano recordings?"
Since I could relate so well from losing both my parents before the age 21, her e-mail inspire me to record a CD with piano versions of songs from my other CDs, with a few new songs included! This CD is a wonderful way to hear how the songs sounded as I wrote them with just the piano before I added orchestra keyboard arrangements for them. I truly hope this CD helps everyone find some quiet time for when we all get lost in our hearts... in our souls... & in our minds... for those we miss and love.
Q: What are the costs behind that? What advice would you give to upcoming musicians regarding production/distribution of a CD?
A: The first cost for recording music is your musical equipment that you want to record with. Throughout the years I have had so many keyboards that I have used to record my music. After a while, if I find one keyboard has too many common sounds with the other keyboards, I find it a new home. I’m always reading and searching for the newest technology that keyboard manufactures are creating. My newest keyboard is a Nord Stage 3. I bought it for the awesome piano sounds & keyboard action. It’s able to blend in my ambient synths sounds very quickly with separate controls from the piano sounds. In addition, it’s the only keyboard I would take touring on the road since it is known for its durability. My other keyboards are older and will stay comfortably in my recording studio!
Regarding advice for an upcoming musician regarding production & distribution of a CD, would be to learn how to record your music yourself and make the best studio in your home that you can. It doesn’t have to be a big studio, just enough room for your musical equipment and computer with recording software with monitors. (I currently record with Logic with an Apple Mac Pro). Yes, it is very time consuming, at first, to learn the recording software but in the long run though you’ll save time & money having your own studio to record in.
Distribution has a couple of pathways that you could take once you have your recorded your album or single. I would say it’s better to release your own music and create your own record label. Companies like CDBaby or Distrokid are good to use that will distribute your music on the popular streaming site on the internet. Of course it would be good to join a PRO. (Preforming Right Organization). ASCAP or BMI are just two to mention. There are others. Also, join MLC and Soundexchange.
Bandcamp.com is another company that supports Indie artists online. You can upload and sell your music and merchandise there directly to your fans. I currently use WIX as my website platform. It’s easy to learn which helps when it comes to keeping up your NEWS section of your website!
Q: What do you feel sets you apart from other artists?
A: I’ve been told that the ambient sounds that I blend in with my piano tracks add a texture that people know that it is my music when they hear it on the radio. It’s a blend of Vangelis keyboard sounds with a mix of Jim Brickman contemporary piano melodies, which give my recordings its own sound.
Q: What is the hardest thing for a musician today?
A: Well, right off the bat it would be Covid the last 2 years! It really has made it hard on performing musicians/artists to do what we do best, which is give people an hour or two to step back from their busy life and enjoy some live music! It’s a relief to see the venues opening back up and people coming out to share an evening with their favorite solo artists & bands.
The other thing that is hard is finding the time to do everything that an Indie artists needs to get done that a record label would do for them. In addition to recording new music, there’s the time it takes to create new content for your social media that keeps your fans engage. Plus the time you spend performing live in concert. Plus keeping your website updated. But, once you really commit to it, you’re doing something you love to do, which is create music for people to enjoy listening to. The music that musicians & song writers create becomes part of the fabric of people’s lives and THAT’s why being an artist is an important job!
Q: Do you remember any strange or funny incident that happened to you?
A: Non music related: Throughout the years from time to time I can feel when something big has happen to one of my friends, even though I do not live close to them. When I call them up it is interesting how I could feel something was up with them.
Q: Do you read books? What is your favorite?
A: I read books all the time. My favorite book is the Celestine Prophecy. It’s a good read. The story line takes you on an adventurous journey and leaves you a message to ponder about for years.
Q: Tell us about your latest or upcoming release.
A: I’ve been working on an album that relates to Space exploring. It is really bringing out my Vangelis side of me in the studio. I am enjoying recording again this musical side of me since my past few albums leaned more towards piano solos. That is all I can say about this album until it gets closer to being release! There will be some private pre-review for fans that are on my monthly mailing list. For now, here is a video link for one of the tracks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN2LtdKkWM8