Wishing you a Tiny Christmas
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote down some goals for 2023. I wanted to be more mindful of the media I consumed and my creative output, and it seemed like a good idea to put some guidelines in place. As the year wraps up, the status of those goals is a mixed bag. I did very well with some and fell short of others, but they helped keep me focused in the right direction overall. But one goal was still entirely undone: release a three-song EP.
I was a full-time musician for more than a decade and have continued to play professionally since. Despite this, there is very little evidence of my music-making online, and I haven’t recorded and released anything for public consumption since 2014. I decided to change that this year and set the goal to record and release three songs by the end of the year in any style and format that made sense. As of a couple of weeks ago, I had made no progress at all toward that goal.
It’s not all bad. I got to do a lot more live playing in 2023 than expected, and I’m grateful for those meaningful musical experiences. And I have some ideas and inspiration I’m working on now, which I hope will see the light of day in 2024. But none of that moved me closer to putting something of my own into the world this year.
Last Saturday, for some reason, I found myself humming “Auld Lang Syne” in the shower. My creative wheels started turning, and within a few minutes, I realized I could record and release a tiny holiday album. The result is the appropriately named Tiny Christmas EP. You can stream it on YouTube or download a copy for free from my website.
This little album is short, simple, and imperfect. It feels exactly right for this moment in time, and it also helped me hit my goal - with four songs instead of three, no less! It came together very quickly, so I thought a little timeline of the creation process might be interesting:
- Saturday evening, 12/9 - had the idea, started thinking about a track list, and created the cover artwork (Yes, I made the cover before I had even decided what songs to record. I was excited to get started!)
- Sunday, 12/10 - finalized the track list in the afternoon, sketched out the instruments that I thought I would use, and spent about two hours recording all of the acoustic instruments (udu drum, shaker, jingle bells, strumstick, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and toy piano)
- Monday, 12/11 - spent another 90 minutes recording the electric bass and keyboard parts
- Tuesday, 12/12 - took a night off because I had stayed up way too late the previous two nights recording and needed to sleep
- Wednesday, 12/13 - mixed and mastered everything
- Thursday, 12/14 - exported final mixes, created the YouTube videos, and prepped for release
- Friday, 12/15 - woke up early, posted the songs to YouTube and my website, and shared on social media
I’ve had some very kind comments about the music, and I’m glad it has been meaningful for people. Mostly, I’m just happy to have been able to have fun making something that I’m proud of. I recorded and released this record in about 10 hours with one $20 microphone, a dead-simple audio interface, and GarageBand on my iPad. So, if you’ve got a creative idea, I’d encourage you to chase it! We live in a time when you can do a lot with a little.
If you check out Tiny Christmas and enjoy it, please consider it my little audible Christmas card for you this holiday season. Thanks for reading (and listening)!
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