When I was in my senior year as a music student at UMD, back in 2006, a friend sent me a recording he made of himself with overdubbed vocals. I was amazed when I found out he recorded it using a thing called Garageband. BUT DON’T I HAVE THAT GARAGEBAND THING ON MY COMPUTER?! is what I thought. And sure enough, I did. My mind was blown by the arsenal of loops and effects that were just a click n drag away from turning a dry old skeleton of an idea into a fully fleshed real live song. Holy holy holy.
Prior to this discovery, I carried around a cassette tape voice recorder and would record song ideas and melodies that I plunked out on the piano down in the dingy practice rooms in the basement of Humanities. Aspiring to be a classical composer like Chopin or Rachmaninoff, I also carried around manuscript paper for musical notation. However, I would soon discover and have to accept that notating music was a rather painstaking process which required the kind of discipline and patience for which I was not suited. Why not just press record, for crying out loud?! Boom. Your idea is there for posterity. Of course, recording ideas onto tape is not sufficient if you want your compositions to be performed by an actual live orchestra, but discovering recording software and loops kinda curbed my desire to create classical music. Why? Well, let me tell you why.
Garageband is a big reason I began singing. I never sang much at all before then. I was a piano player and that was about it. Like any normal human, I didn't like the sound of my recorded voice, but two tracks of my own voice singing harmony with each other? And sweet lo-fi vocal effects like ‘telephone lines?’ . . . LOVE!!!
The realization that I could actually make my voice sound decent to me (as in, not like myself) caused me to also start thinking that maybe I could write plain old song-songs with, like, lyrics and stuff, and then sing them myself! ME! Sing! You know, as opposed to writing a notated Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Walking Stick that sits in a book on a shelf never to see the light of day, which is to say, never to actually become sound waves in the air. And the truth was, I had always dreamed of being an anthem-wielding rockstar like Freddie Mercury way more than wanting to be a boring old classical composer but shhhh don't tell anyone. I basically found my ‘voice’ by using a veil (effects and overdubs) to hide behind. Just add some sweet beats to those vocals and voila! I am one happy girl.
So, to sum this whole thing up, Garageband propelled my transition away from the classical world and into what I call the folk world. Like, the human world. Sorry, academics. Yeah, I like to think there are two main genres of music: Folk music, and Academic music. But now I have really opened up a whole can of worms that I'll have to tackle another day.
For the record, I used fancy-pants Logic now to record instead of Garageband.