Demos, DONE. / by Melanie Ida Chopko

Yesterday I finished my set of eight pencil-draft demos of my original songs, material that in the next year will be shaped into my first professionally produced record. Holy moly. This is the first mountain in the epic yak-trip across the Himalayas, the first ocean crossed in my sailing around the world. Now, with pencil sketches of everything I've written, I can sit down with a few producers that interest me, and start shaping the sound of each of these little song worlds.

This is no longer an EP actually - what began as a bouquet of five songs has grown to eight, with a ninth and tenth half written in the wings. Soup to nuts I've been working for about seven months to make these demos, smoothing over and filling in all the little cracks of my sidewalk of musicianship to bring my playing and singing up to the level I wanted to hear.  The goal, set by my pre-production producer Rachel Efron, was to record until I could play and sing each song to the best of my ability in one entire take, without edits or punching in. After several pauses from fractured fingers, laryngitis, more guitar and piano and voice lessons to both local the genre of these songs in their true north and be able to PLAY that feeling, I finally finished them!

My goodness, I learned alot. I learned to play in time to the metronome I once feared. I learned to move my deadline without freaking out while the building located outside the window from my piano was being pressure washed for 2 days straight. I learned the humility to master a melodic line glacially slooooowly before I bring it anywhere near the pace where I want to play it. I learned to say yes to my teachers when they asked me to show up every week, to study some classical technique. I began to savor time PLAYING music, playing guitar as a recreational sport, not just practicing it. I relearned that when I get disoriented, I can go back to listening the central figures/faculty members in my own learning that inspired me to start down this path in the first place: songwriters new and old like Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Jean Rohe, Anais Mitchell and Bridget Kearney. And I learned again yesterday how much energy I get from celebrating. 

Here is one of my demos, home recorded in 1 take. Enjoy!