I’ve never heard of that song before. It’s a nice piece. Vanessa did a nice job with the piano and singing. Since I was itching for something to play on my guitar, I decided to add a guitar track to Vanessa’s recording. About three hours later, here’s Mix 2 (Playing time: 4min 16secs):
- First I checked Vanessa’s Creative Commons License, to make sure she allowed modifications to her work (she did).
- Then I downloaded and imported Vanessa’s MP3 file into GarageBand (it appears as the orange track in the screen shot).
- I listened to the song and played along with my guitar plugged into GarageBand. After I was comfortable with a few basic notes, I started recording.
- The next two hours was spent on recording the guitar tracks in parts — the chorus, stanzas and a break. In between recordings, I also spliced and editing the tracks. The main guitar melody was played with a custom Lead Distortion setting. The part for the break was also with a custom distortion setting (“Lead Chorus Stereo Spread” effects). I also recorded an acoustic part (with a slight flanger effect).
- After I was satisfied with all the recorded tracks, I started on the mixing and sound engineering phase. This took up about two hours. I added a slight echo and a reverb effect to Vanessa’s original MP3 track. For the guitar tracks, I adjusted the volume down, so that it doesn’t drown out Vanessa’s vocals.
- I’d did a first conversion to a MP4 file. Having heard it as a MP4 file, I noticed the volume of the guitar tracks were too consistent throughout. And they were too loud for my liking. I had to remind myself the song was about the vocals and not the guitar playing.
- So I went back to GarageBand, reduced the guitar track for certain parts so that the piano track could come through. Then I converted it to MP4. Once I was happy with the final version, I converted it to MP3 and uploaded it to Archive.org, and then to Odeo.com as a podcast.
As I said, I’ve never heard of John Legend nor this song, until Vanessa’s version. We didn’t plan to “collaborate” on this piece. Well I hope I didn’t muck it up for Vanessa. 🙂