Suddenly I was alone in the studio. Accustomed as I was to organizing productions around groups, this was the first time in my professional career that I would be solely responsible for not only the writing and performance of a project, but also for securing financing for this massive experimental endeavor.
Loving Arms, which was my first recorded track as a soloist, was to represent one of the most difficult compositions I had ever produced. I remember that upon embarking on a solo career in music, the greatest unknown factor was “how to get started.” My recollection of being in the studio the first day, without anyone to talk to, or to bounce ideas off of, was completely uncharted territory for me and an unexpected eye opener. When you consider that I was alone in the room; it wasn’t like being a lead singer that got placed in another band. For instance, my version of going solo would not be anything like Diana Ross leaving the Supremes, or John Lennon who may have had the company of supporting musicians and writers etc. I was responsible for everything and had faith that I could actually pull it off, as scary as that was.
Knowing that I wanted to make a project that was both funky and orchestrated, due in part to my time producing Ohio Players and my music studies/experiences acquired while at school, I was faced with the problem of what came first, the chicken or the Eggo. *smile*
I was around 18 years old at the time and found myself immersed in one of the most challenging musical experiments I had ever attempted. One of the reasons for this being the case, was that MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) had not even been imagined yet, so my end result had to be completely understood by me and translatable to others before I even began. Nevertheless, there I sat, alone in a massive studio, amongst the sound baffles, microphones and instruments that I would ultimately use to begin my solo career.
Even though my recording everything from scratch, in studio, was not a very lucrative idea (no preproduction capabilities as in existence today), I had no choice but to approach the project in that manner. And, since there was only one of me, only one track could be recorded at a time.
After some thought, I decided to start with the drums and percussion for tempo. I then added piano and organ, several guitar parts, bass and sang the lead and background vocals before getting anywhere near adding a 50 piece orchestra to the track. For the orchestration, I enlisted the talents of the great Motown orchestrator David Van Depitte, of “What’s Going On” fame, to orchestrate my arrangements. Once he knew what I needed, the rest was history.
The album was recorded over a 5 week period at Artie Fields’ studios, in Detroit. Westbound Records and Armen Boladian, who believed in my ability to pull off this massive undertaking, were extremely supportive and loaned me the funds necessary to begin and finish this unprecedented event, in its entirety.
As a result, the album “When We Do” became a reality.
Listen to Loving Arms on Bandcamp