A dream of mine has always been to create and upload my music onto popular music platforms such as Spotify and iTunes. I thought it would be really cool to be able to see my music on such platforms, professionally recorded and streamed.
When the Corona-virus pandemic hit, schools closed down temporarily, which meant I had some extra time on my hands for a short while. My dad first suggested the idea of finally attempting to release my first album. And that’s how I started off…by deciding that I wanted half of the album to consist of my originals, and the other half to include covers of popular songs. I sought the opinions of each of my family members to see which of my covers they thought were best. After much thought, I settled on some of their recommendations, along with the 4 original tunes which I have written.
*I will be releasing blog posts explaining the meaning behind my originals and how I composed them soon. Stay tuned!
The whole process was a roller-coaster ride filled with tons of different emotions and feelings. I felt a sense of excitement and joy at the beginning while I was planning out the songs for my album. Those feelings quickly turned into frustration as I got onto the task of recording. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, my family and I had decided not to do the recording at a professional studio. Instead, we decided to try and record it at home with the cleanest playing and highest-quality sound we could achieve. This proved frustrating because it was unbelievably tough to ensure that any mistakes and external unwanted noise were minimal especially since I wanted to do it in 1 take.
However, the end result of recording a suitable take made me feel a great sense of accomplishment. This was especially true when I added band tracks into some of my covers and originals using Garageband myself. It got me excited to hear how much fuller the track sounds with the addition of other instruments. It was a tough first try, but the final result made me feel very satisfied.
The Programs I Used
Distrokid (vs CDbaby)
I spent quite some time trying to decide which music distributor to use. After a lot of researching, I narrowed my options down to 2 distributors – CDbaby and Distrokid. The main difference between the 2 is that CDbaby charges a one time fee per release, while Distrokid charges an annual fee for an unlimited number of releases. In the end, I decided on Distrokid. I felt that using Distrokid would benefit me more as I wanted to be able to release many songs, and also have the option of releasing more songs without extra costs later during the year.
Garageband offers a big variety of instrument sounds for you to create many different sounds to enhance your track. I used my laptop’s keyboard as a piano keyboard, drums sets, base and even violin strings and recorded new tracks along with the played track. This was done with my songs or covers: Volare, Heal the World and Stallion.
The People Who Helped
aka Mr Sound Guy
Shawal, who is the managing director of Sally’s Music Production, mixed and mastered my tracks. I first recorded my tracks using the ZOOM Q8 Camera – it allows a direct line-in input of my instrument and also has external mics to capture the acoustic sound. I would then send 2 files, one containing the direct line-in and the other containing the acoustic sound captured by the external mics to Shawal. He would then help to mix and master these audio files into one waveform file according to my sound preferences.
aka My Amazing Music Mentor
I met Uncle Julian when he was a music director at the Child Aid 2016 annual concert. He collaborated with me to record a duet of my original composition, Afterall, and also for my cover of Volare. He did the piano accompaniment and was also the one who solely composed the piano portions of those 2 songs.
Bryan Ong Jun Kai
aka The Visual Artist Student
I got one of my closest friends from my art school to create the artwork for my album cover. He is a visual artist who specialises in drawing and painting landscapes and sceneries, as seen in the beach scenery of my album’s artwork.
aka The Sponsor
& My Sister
aka The Website Manager & Co-Writer
Of course, this whole album would not be possible without the fantastic guidance of my father who sponsored this whole album for me. I am also grateful for the full support of my sister who runs and maintains this website and everything in it. I’m extremely appreciative of their efforts, which have helped me so much along the way.
Bryan’s Complete Artwork and the Edited Version for The Album
When Will I Produce My Next Album?
That depends on the inspirations that I may have in the next couple of years. As of right now, I’m only aiming to upload originals in my subsequent releases, and the last thing I want is to compose a song for the sake of composing more originals. The inspirations and life experiences which I face will determine the originals which I will compose in the future. This is what would decide the frequency of my future releases.
I am very grateful for all the support I receive.
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(*Because I am too young to own a bank account, the name shown will be my mom’s name. But no worries, it will show a picture of me!)