© 2016 by Ralph B. Anderson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or remixing of licensed work in part or whole is prohibited. 

January 16, 2017

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The Music In Me

January 16, 2017

As far as memory serves, my love of music began before I was 3 years old.  I have three older sisters, each with their own tastes in music, but also with some overlap.  Myself having been born in 1961, I was right on time for the soon to come Motown Sound and British Invasion, among other great events in popular music.  We lived in Germany, my late father being stationed there while serving in the U. S. Army. Though I don't recall seeing many acts on local television, my sisters and neighbors in the Patrick Henry Village community had their transistor radios, their 45 rpm record collections, and - in the case of my oldest sister - a portable record player (that I was not allowed to touch).  During the week, I was alone at home with Mom most of the day while Dad worked and my sisters attended school.

 

But the weekends were a different story - especially during warm weather.  The teenagers gathered outside, record players and transistors blaring.  We younger kids weren't allowed within their ranks, though a few of them would occasionally spend some time with us.  But what we could was watch from a short distance and listen as they danced to the music of The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, etc.  Being on a military base, I don't recall seeing much in the way of segregation, and the music seemed to support my memories, as the music of artists of various races and ethnicities were all heard within any time period.

 

I especially seemed to have a strong affinity for vocal groups and solo acts with substantial backing vocals in their recordings, so that's probably why Motown still resonates with me, and also why on my own recordings, I pretty much sound like a vocal group.  Back then, I loved the sounds of the backing vocalists, especially when they were singing in unison as opposed to harmony.  I remember loving "Stop! In The Name Of Love" - which had very little harmony - far more than "Back In My Arms Again," which was heavy on harmony and very light on unison parts.  By the way, both songs were big hits for The Supremes, and were released from the same album, "More Hits By The Supremes," a personal favorite in that I pretty much enjoy every track on the album (though in truth it only contained three hits: the ones mentioned earlier, and "Nothing But Heartaches," their first hit that failed to crack the Top 10 once they hit their stride (I think it's because on the release, someone had the idea to bury the backing vocals deeper into the mix.  Diana Ross has a lovely lead voice, but the backing vocals really help to drive this track).

 

To get back on track (unintended pun), my appreciation for harmony didn't happen until I was in my twenties.  Don't know why.

 

That being said, I remember growing up wanting to be a backup singer, and had I grown up in a family where children's passions were nurtured and supported, that might have become the case.  Instead, I had virtually no formal training in music.  Virtually none, because as a second grader in German school, we were taught to play recorders, and in my late twenties and early thirties, I had less than a dozen voice lessons.  By then, I'd begun writing lyrics.  I wouldn't learn until I was nearly 50 that it's recommended that a songwriter be able to play an instrument (usually guitar or piano).  I just figured some day I'd find a musician who would come up with the arrangements after I sang the melody for him or her.  I did have a few feeble attempts, but ultimately, it would fall on me to use whatever means I could to create my own compositions.  Along the way, I would learn a thing or two about music theory, determining what key works best with my voice on a particular song, what chord progression, etc.  In time, it got to where the composition took on a life of its own, as I intuitively gathered what instruments I wanted to simulate (on my MIDI keyboard), and what rhythm to apply to each.  It was as if Life Itself was helping me to overcome the obstacles in my path to creating these songs that were and are determined to be created.

 

It is my hope to bring to life the several dozen songs I've written, am writing and will write to fruition.  I have literally hundreds of snippets recorded and stored that I haven't even gotten around to.  It is further my hope that people will be attracted to my music enough to buy it in large quantities so that I can continue to create and produce, and hopefully inspire others to follow their passions against whatever odds they have before them.

 

Over the course of this blog, I will write about music, the recording of music (including tips, tricks and deceptions in its marketing), but things outside of music as well - things that have helped me grow into the person I am becoming.  As I become savvier, I will also include visuals.  I don't know what the frequency of posts will be, but know this:  I have a digital journal that's about to turn eleven years old this month, and it surpassed the million word mark in the summer of 2016.  I do enjoy writing.  Some of you may have already noticed this particular post is written prior to publishing of this web site.  I wanted to have something ready when you click on the blog link.  I may even have a few more posts ready by then.

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