Day 8 – 30 Day Challenge – Ryan Adams – Wonderwall

Today’s for my #30DayChallenge I’m singing Ryan Adams’ cover of Wonderwall, originally by Oasis.

30 Day Challenge – Ryan Adams – Wonderwall by Kevin Stanton

Personally, I think this is one of the best I’ve done so far. It’s a slow song and doesn’t really have a wide vocal range to it, so it demands a lot less from me than most of the other songs I’ve done.

As in all my recordings for the #30DayChallenge, this was done in one take.

Day 7 – 30 Day Challenge – Ray LaMontagne – Trouble

And here’s today’s song. Musically a really simple song, yet incredible due to the rhythm and Mr. LaMontagne’s incredible, soulful voice. Definitely pushing the limits of my vocal range on this one, and he also tries to cram a ridiculous amount of words into the last part of each verse!

30 Day Challenge – Ray LaMontagne – Trouble by Kevin Stanton

Day 6 – 30 Day Challenge – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová – Falling Slowly

Okay, so yes, I missed a day. It was a hellish Monday and I just ran out of time. So today I make up for it with two posts, doing two songs that I have never practiced or performed before. This’ll be interesting…

30 Day Challenge – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová – Falling Slowly by Kevin Stanton

Let me know what you think!

Day 4 – 30 Day Challenge – Jason Mraz – After An Afternoon

Long day, but finally got around to getting a song recorded before the day ended! A friend of mine suggested “Hey Delilah” by the Plain White T’s and I started learning it but the vocals are practically a tounge twister so I’ll have to practice that before I give it a go.

Instead, I recorded one of my all-time favorite Jason Mraz songs. Guitar-wise it’s pretty damn simple, but lyrically it’s a challenge because Mr. Mraz is a classically trained singer. He has been known to sing a little bit of opera during his live shows, if that gives any indication as to his abilities.

So here goes:

30 Day Challenge – Jason Mraz – After An Afternoon by Kevin Stanton

As always, hope this isn’t too terrible for people to listen to, and let me know what you think. And if you’re a singer and can tell me what I’m doing wrong, I’d appreciate it!

And if you’re wondering why on earth I’m posting un-edited, sloppy covers of otherwise great songs, read this.

Day 3 – 30 Day Challenge – Flight Of The Conchords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract

Woo! 10% complete with my 30 day challenge. Since it’s Friday, and been a helluva week, I opted to sing a silly song by FOTC. I really would love to do “Business Time”, but since this challenge is supposed to be about singing, I’ll have to save that for fun after I’m done.

I also switched things up a bit and recorded this one in the bathroom for some nice reverb – I think it makes the song more meaningful</sarcasm>.

30 Day Challenge – Flight Of The Conchords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract by Kevin Stanton

Hopefully you find this entertaining! 🙂

30 Days

A friend of mine sent me a TED Talk the other day, given by Matt Cutts of Google. In it, he challenges everyone to make small, sustainable changes in their life in order to push themselves to do things they’ve always wanted to do.

This got me thinking about one of my biggest passions: music. I begged my parents for a good portion of my childhood to let me play the drums. They never gave in…can’t imagine why :-). By senior year of high school, I had moved on to guitar. After having borrowed one from a friend for 3 months and teaching myself to play #41 by Dave Matthews Band, I finally convinced my Dad to buy me an acoustic guitar.

I’m obsessed. While backpacking across Europe, I couldn’t go any longer without playing guitar so I bought a child’s classical guitar at this music shop in Rome. The owner of the store made fun of me in italian and kept repeating “but this is child guitar, child guitar!”. I tried explaining that I had to carry it around with myself for another 3 weeks and a regular guitar would be too cumbersome but he clearly did not speak english.

Flash forward 12 years to today. I now own many guitars, and also bought a piano and have been teaching myself that as well. But in all my years, I’ve only performed in front of an audience on two occasions, and never by myself. Mostly because I’m not confident at all in my singing abilities, and also simply because I need more practice.

So! For the next 30 days, I’ve decided that every day, I will record myself playing and singing a song. Here are my self-imposed ground rules:

  • Only 1 take – no do-overs!
  • No editing/splicing/adding effects.
  • Post them online for the world to hear (not as bad as doing it live in front of people, but still scary!)

By the end of the 30 days, I hope to have improved my singing, gotten constructive criticism, and gained enough courage to play live in front of people.

Stay tuned for day 1’s results!

Apple Checkmate’s Music Labels In Purchase of Lala

For the past decade, the way music is distributed has changed dramatically–and it has been Apple pushing it virtually every step of the way.   It now seems prophetic that Apple Records sued Apple, Inc. all the way back in 1978, the outcome of which banned Apple, Inc. from entering the music industry (for a while, at least).  Oh how times have changed.

The rise of the iPod and the MP3 brought us to the final destination for music’s distribution medium–the  Internet.  CDs are practically extinct.  Sites like Pandora and newcomer GrooveShark allow nearly unlimited free music listening in streaming format.  More recently, cheap hardware devices like the iPhone, Roku, and even some BluRay players have added streaming capabilities from the likes of Pandora and Netflix.  Access to music and movies has never been cheaper for consumers.

All of this leaves me (and probably lots of musicians) to wonder, what’s the point of record labels?  Distribution costs on a per-listen basis are effectively $0, and many people are discovering their new music by streaming it.  99.9% of songs are just a URL away.  It used to be the label did your marketing, PR, and distribution, but the cost of all of those things is nearing zero as well.  Bands have a litany of tools freely available to market themselves online, the most powerful of which is services like Pandora and Grooveshark, and now iTunes’+Lala.

I ask today’s musicians, are record labels really doing anything other than stealing a slice of your hard earned money?

For music lovers, how do you feel about pay-per-listen versus owning physical media?