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JohnMichaels last won the day on August 8 2011

JohnMichaels had the most liked content!

About JohnMichaels

  • Birthday 11/27/1989

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Music Background

  • Songwriting Collaboration
    Not Interested
  • Musical / Songwriting / Music Biz Skills
    Lyrics, chords, guitar leads, piano riffs, beats, synth sounds and ambience, you name it.
  • Musical Influences
    Anything from Rap to Alt Rock to Contemporary Christian...I don't discriminate. Lately it's been a lot of Owl City...the guy knows how to write. And of course, Katy Perry will always have a special place in my heart :P

Profile Information

  • Interests
    Music! I sing and play Guitar, Piano, Drums, Bass, and Trumpet. I love writing and I'm the lead singer/guitarist in a rock/alt band. I play a lot of Airsoft (poor man's paintball), and I'm into photography and traveling in a big way. I'm also an aspiring entrepreneur.
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  1. Hey no problem! I definitely understand where you're coming from with the timing issues, playing to a metronome can be rough at first. A great way to get better actually is to just set up some drum loops and play along with those! It's a lot more fun then 'Ping, click, click, click' Let me know how it goes if you get a chance to mess around with those samples!
  2. It sounds like you've got a solid process in the works there Joe! It's good that you're recording everything, I've found that that can really help solidify the song and expand your creative efforts. I know you said you don't feel like you're ready to add drums to your recordings, but have you experimented with drum loops? Writing to a drum track can really help tie your rhythm and overall sound together, and with drum loops it's no problem to throw in a basic beat even if you're not a drummer. This site has a FANTASTIC library of free samples - almost 30,000 of them. Some of them are exclusively drum samples and loops but most of them have other stuff mixed in that you can experiment with in your recordings. http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/sampleradar-13154-free-sample-downloads-217833/4
  3. I think 'Luck' is definitely a part of it, but I also believe that nothing happens by accident on the internet. As in, if your website isn't attracting fans, it's because you need to change your promotional strategy! Granted, not everyone will be as successful as JoCo, but I think everyone could see a lot of success if they went about it the right way. Also, 'Code Monkey' is a fantastic song.
  4. Great article John! My band recently realized this after facebook started giving us trouble and we've been building our mailing list like crazy ever since! Do you have any ideas on how to 'approach' potential fans without being spammy?
  5. I have a great technique your should try that helps me to do exactly what you're describing! I've found that writing in story form tends to create songs that are WAY too literal, to the point where the listeners feel uncomfortable and aren't able to relate. Instead, I write in picture form. I imagine a scene (either a real experience or a made up one I'd like to have) and I describe the most interesting details. So maybe the scene is a date you went on with a beautiful, interesting girl to a coffee shop. That's not a very interesting story. But it IS an interesting image. Here are some details you could describe: - The 'Feel' of the room. Is it dark, bright, warm, loud, crowded? - The way her voice sounds, what it reminds you of - The colors of her clothing, the metaphorical color of her personality - Watching the sun hang low in the sky through the window Just create as vivid of an image in your mind as you can, and move from object to object, detail to detail until you recreate the image verbally.
  6. I would REALLY encourage you to focus on one genre, or style. If you're trying to develop a fan base, you are MUCH better off focusing on a niche rather than trying to write music for everybody. There's a reason that the pros almost never cross genres - they develop a following that's interested in a certain type of music, and they give their fans what they want to hear. If you aren't consistent in your style and message (your musical brand), people will get confused and lose interest. Imagine how frustrated you'd be if your favorite country musician started writing metal songs, or vice versa! Or if you bought a metal album, and one of the songs was acoustic Christian praise and worship.
  7. That's a really useful guide, thanks John! For me, I think the 'observation' part is the most interesting and useful. One of my favorite things to do as a lyricist is to take common place images or interactions that everyone observes and describe it in a deeper or more interesting way.
  8. Yep, dead on Retro. Here's another great T-Swift example...at 2:45 the music dies down with "I got tired of waiting..." this is where the bridge starts. Then at 3:02 she comes back in with the chorus melody, but it's really low-key...I would consider this also to be part of the bridge, since it's so different from her other choruses. Then at 3:19 the last chorus comes in full swing and ends the bridge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xg3vE8Ie_E&ob=av2e
  9. No problem Yeah, I really can't speak to the gaming side of Macs but I have heard a lot of good things about HPs... Best of luck with whichever one you choose!
  10. Hi Kayla, As someone who also started off playing classical/sheet music piano, I can tell you that learning how chords work will SERIOUSLY help you understand how song writing works. Learning classical piano is probably not going to help you write pop music, (believe me, I've tested this ) learning how to play chords and how they work, and some very basic music theory will make a world of difference. It's true that Gaga does some fancy things on piano, but the OVERALL songs she writes are actually extremely simple. She probably doesn't use more than 5-6 chords per song. (In fact, the vast majority of pop songs use less than 6 chords) Bad Romance uses 5 chords - C, F, G, Am, Em ...and that's it. (Not in that order though) You can see the chords for that here http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/l/lady_gaga/bad_romance_crd.htm Those chords aren't entirely correct either, that version makes the verse much harder than it is...it's really just Am, F and G You absolutely NEED to learn how chords work if you want to start writing your own songs and melodies...and it's not that hard to do. There are 6 chords that are super important. In the key of 'C' they are - C, Dm, Em, F, G and Am. The rest don't really matter in pop music. If you're playing in another key the chords still work exactly the same way, you just have to transpose them to that key (so if you're playing in D, which is a whole step up from C, you have to transpose all the chords up a whole step, which means 2 piano keys - D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm) If that doesn't make sense yet, don't worry. The best advice I can give you is to start learning how to play basic chords, then start learning cover songs. If you want to write like Gaga, start playing all her songs and learn what chords she uses in each one. You'll start to see patterns and notice the same chords over and over. Once you understand how chords work, writing melodies will be much, much easier Hope that helped! Let me know if I can explain anything better!
  11. I use a MacBook pro, and it provides way more power than I've ever needed for recording software. I mostly use Ableton Live. That specs on that Dell should be enough to run some serious software, so I would just try it out and see if it works. If it does what you want then stick with it...the problem is that when you go with PCs it can be very hit-or-miss, because there's so much inconsistency between models and companies. I used to have a Dell Inspiron 1505 and had SO many problems trying to run recording software on it. Like, disgustingly stupid problems...where the audio would just grind to a halt for no reason whatsoever, and the software would become unusable for hours. I'm a pretty computer savvy person, and I investigated this thoroughly, so I wasn't just doing something dumb. It was a Core 2 Duo, more than enough ram and memory. I even bought and installed Windows 7, because I read that the problems could be related to Vista. Nothing. I finally junked it and upgraded to a macbook pro, and ALL my headaches are gone. Things just work. USB devices are way easier to use too...I used to have to restart everything when I plugged in a midi controller just to get the computer to recognize it. However, I have a friend that swears by his HP, and runs some pretty demanding recording software on it on a regular basis. So it all depends, but I personally will never buy a Dell again. Also, Macs are NOT overpriced. They cost more than PCs on average because they only use quality components. You can't buy a Mac with a crap graphic card or a junky processor--they just don't make them. Also they just work, and people know it. They're the industry standard among musicians and photographers for a reason. Because Mac controls the development of both the hardware and and software, there are almost none of the compatibility issues you get with PCs (Where Windows makes the software, Dell makes the computer, and a bunch of other companies make the components). Also, they are difficult to repair and upgrade, but that doesn't matter because it's really unlikely you'll need to do either. I was an idiot once and left mine on the hood of my car after a gig, and it flew off when I was going 50 mph. I found it in the middle of the street with the screen open and on. It still works perfectly. No joke. Between the iMac and the MacBook, I would definitely recommend you go with the MacBook. I was really torn between the two before I bought my MBP, so I did a lot of research on them. The iMacs aren't noticeably faster or more powerful, unless you go SUPER high end, in which case you'll get some seriously diminishing returns on your investment. The big screen is cool, but you can just get a $100-200 monitor with the money you save. And you'll REALLY miss the portability of having a laptop if you get an iMac. So anyway, ranting aside...if your Dell works then I see no reason to upgrade. But if it doesn't I'd look into a Mac!
  12. Hi Sakura, Glad to hear your branching out with your writing! Like others have said, it depends on the person, but since you're a beginner on guitar and piano here's what I'd recommend you do: 1. Start off by coming up with a VERY simple, 3-4 chord progression on whichever instrument you're more comfortable with. Use C, F, G, Am in any order that sounds good to you. Something like this: C / / / | F / / / | Am / / / | G / / / | or F / / / | C / / / | G / / / | Am / / / | (Each / means 1 beat, and the chord counts as a beat too. So | F / / / | is 4 beats of F) You can also throw in Dm or Em for color if you want, but C, F, G, and Am (and their equivalents in other keys) are the most important chords in music, (and have been for hundreds of years). Start the progression on Am if you want it to sound dark or sad. It doesn't have to be complicated to sound good. Most songs that become hits are painfully simple. You can just look up some chord progressions for songs that you like to get ideas too. You'll notice the same chord progressions, over and over, so just pick one you like best. 2. Play the progression until you get comfortable with it. Find a tempo and stumming pattern you like and can work with well. If you have trouble with this just take a tempo/strumming pattern from a song you like--the song will sound completely different when you're done, so don't worry about plagiarism here. 3. Start trying to fit some of your lyrics to the progression. You can do this by singing your lyrics while you play the chords, or by humming different ideas until you come up with something you like...then writing lyrics for it later. This is the hardest part for a lot of people, because it takes a lot of practice to get good at coming up with solid melodies, and then maybe words fit on those melodies complicates things even more. The best advice I can give you for this part is to just keep practicing and have fun with it. Writing the melody and lyrics is where you really put yourself into the song, so for me it's the most personal, fulfilling part of the song writing process. It can also be the most frustrating. 4. Decide whether what you just wrote will work well as a verse or chorus. If it's more low-key or scattered sounding it could work as a verse, whereas if it's high energy, catchy or powerful it will probably work better as a chorus. Just think of songs you know and how their verses and choruses sound. 5. Repeat steps 1-3 to write a complimenting part (verse or chorus). So if you decided the first thing you wrote sounded more like a chorus, then try to write something that sounds more low-key and can be used as a verse. Again, just use your ear and think of songs you know and what they do. Keep the chord progressions and rhythm simple. Simple is always better. 6. Repeat steps 1-3 again, this time trying to create a part that will work well as a bridge (if you want your song to have a bridge, most songs do). Your bridge should be a little different from the rest of your song...it gives listeners a chance to catch their breath before repeating the chorus again. AND it gives you a chance to be creative and write something different. You can write a high energy bridge that tries to intensify the song, or a low energy one that tries to slow it down a bit. Whether it's high or low energy will depend on the chords you pick, the melody you write, and the rhythm you play. That might sound complicated, but the key here is to experiment. Just write SOMETHING at first and see if it works when you play the whole song. If not, just write something different and try that! 7. Put all the pieces together. I recommend this layout to start with: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus It's time tested and has been working for forever. And, again, it's SIMPLE. If you want to change it up though, feel free to experiment! Just keep in mind that if you're trying to write a hit song you should use a layout that people are used to. It's good to be different, but if you're too different most people will just think you're bad (Even if you're really good). People like hearing what they're used to. I know Jazz guitarists that could shred me to pieces, but no one buys their CDs because their music is weird and over people's heads. And you're done! Hope that was helpful, sorry I got a bit long-winded but I wanted to make sure you got a good view of the whole process. I know how confusing songwriting can be when you're just getting into it
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