|The decision to work without a formal producer (besides me), had a lot to do with my belief that while working with musicians who have something to say, may bring to the songs all they need.
I have chosen the musicians to this project very carefully, using my ears, but mostly my gut feeling. I was looking for intelligent musicians, who play from the heart and soul, whose music inspires me. And very important they are true and sincere people, and lots of fun to be around.
Karen Teperberg: Drums, Vocals
Karen and I played together back in 1996, when I was graduating music school. Our ways have parted, when she left Israel to the USA, where she ended staying for 10 years playing as a professional musician in LA (Sting, Shawn Colvin, Sarah Bettens, Jesse McCartney and others)
In 2009 I found out Karen was back in Tel Aviv, I went to see her perform and I was deeply inspired again. Like the meaning of her name in Hebrew (Keren = beam, ray) she lights even darkest club she plays at – spreading amazing energy of Joy and love to music. That evening ignited something in me, and in a short time I bought a new acoustic guitar (A soulful Big Baby Taylor), and started singing and writing again.
A year later I sent Karen a message – I want you to play for me. She had a hard time committing, because she was busy playing in many projects, especially with Dudu Tasa (a great musician) , and she didn’t want to let me down if the project will need many rehearsals. I started looking for other drummers – but it felt wrong. I knew it had to be Karen. There is no doubt about it. I called her again and said I would wait until she had some spare time, and I promised to make it real efficient: 2-3 rehearsals, one day of recording. I wasn t sure it is it was possible – but I just had to give it a chance. Finally she called me: "mid August – I have some time".
"Yeh!" …and the work has begun.
Working with her is great delight for she is the most professional, never misses a beat, every take she records – better than the other. She brings lots of great ideas for the feel of the songs (she was the one who came up with the special Jazzy feel to the song "Between me and god", although my directions were totally different – and I just loved her idea).
I trust her ear and professional opinion and take much advice from her.
She was the one recommended me of Papa studios – and I am grateful for that.
During rehearsals and the one and only recording session with Karen, I heard her singing interesting vocal parts to the songs, with her fine voice , knowing I was almost useless making up and recording background vocals, I asked Karen to sing the background vocals, and gladly - she agreed…. Working on that was great fun. She cursed me just a bit when I asked her to sing the high notes – but it was worth it. What a great job she has done. It sound like me accompanying myself – but much better ...
Amit Yitzhak: electric guitars, acoustic guitars
I dare say Amit is the most talented guitar player working in Israel today (Plays with Yehidith Ravitz, Arkadi Duchin, and more leading Israeli artists) . every time I say the names of my players : "how the hell did you get him on your team?".
In 2007 I saw Amit playing on TV (He played then in "Kochav Nolad – a star is born", the Israeli version of American Idol), and I thought – Wow! This is an amazing guitar player, working with him must be a great experience, ( if one could get his telephone number...). At that time it was just a thought, I had no good songs, and I had no plans to record anything of mine. In the summer of 2010 when I started working on recording my songs, I asked Ayal (the sound engineer of my project) for names of good guitarist. One of the names he gave me was Amit s. My heart missed a beat, "you mean you have his phone number?" I asked. "Sure" he answered calmly.
Well, now its "just" a matter of getting him to say "yes"….so…
I called him, I sent him the link to my myspace, he liked the songs (I remember eating my nails while waiting, because his young son was ill, and it took him a day or two to get back to me). He heard Karen was the drummer in the project – and that was a big help, it seems he has heard her name and was curious about working with her.
Working with Amit is a spiritual experience. He has a gift, more than that, as I feel it - he has direct connection to god. Watching him play is hypnotizing. It s like he plugs in to the best software – and downloads the exact tone in the exact moment at the most accurate length and sound. He is most dedicated to his work – he was totally there: heart and soul. He had some great ideas when we were working together on the right structure of the songs.
Above all Amit is a great person to be around - warm and funny.
Sometimes reality is even better that our dreams and fantasies – working with Amit is just the case.
Adam Peri: Piano, Keyboards
Adam is not only a great piano and keyboard player, but a gifted writer and music producer.
I heard some of his work on youtube, and loved it.
He can play tenderly as well as energetically and he comes up with real interesting phrases, that it seems to surprise even him, because they don t come from the mind, but from the soul, or even from a higher place. In fact it is almost impossible to get the same phrase twice from him, there are always surprises, you never know what you ll get on the next take – but it always sound great!
Although I asked Adam to join as a player, and not as a producer, naturally he helped me quite a bit in choosing the best structure for the songs, changing a chord here and there if necessary, and at the same time his modesty gave all the musicians space to give their input.
Adam the most serious when he is playing, but on our breaks he would make us laugh our heads of, doing his impersonations of well known musicians and other famous figures.
Lately, Adam has left the successful Israeli metal band band Hayehudim, and is working on his amazing Intenational music project: Deep Sea Creatures you must check it out!
Adam Ben Ezra: Bass, Double Bass
Adam is a multitalented and the most original musician,
a great Double Bass and electric bass player. I was looking for players who have something unique to say through their music, who have a special imprint, that will give an added value to my songs. Adam is all of these, and a pleasant person to work with. You should visit his website www.adambenezra.com or watch him on his YouTube Channel , where he presents some amazing pieces : Bass Tribute to Michael Jackson - Billie Jean, Seinfeld theme song - double bass solo has gone beyond 100,000 views (for a good reason) ! www.youtube.com/user/adambenezra
Adam writes his own music and sings as well as playing bass, oud, clarinet, piano, and I am sure I forgot something. I am waiting for his first Album. Well – Adam?
Maya Belsitzman: Cello
Everyone in the Israeli music business knows who Maya Belsitzman is. She is so busy playing in music projects , its almost impossible to catch a word with her. when I finally did, she was happy to join the project for two songs: "Your heart is your only home" by Ayal Yishay s Cello arrangment, and "When I wont fear of losing it all", for which Maya wrote the cello part right there at the recording session. It was a quick session, but very productive, and pleasent. I love her warm sound , and wonderful musical ideas.
Ayal Yishay: Sound engineering, mix, cello arrangement, and much more...
As a singer, the most difficult part of the recording process, comes after all the players has finished their work, the playback of the song is all done, and there you are: standing behind the glass of the recording room, and now you have to open your heart and soul, and sing it out , when on the other side of the glass, you see the sound engineer (and most times the producer – but I didn t have one on my project) and you know he can hear it all – all your weaknesses, all your faults, and imperfections. It s like you are standing naked – nothing to hide behind, nothing to guard you. And it s essential, that you can feel safe and comfortable with that person behind the glass – because if you don t – you can never produce a sincere, true voice.
Personally, I had some bad experience in the past, working with sound engineers I didn t feel at ease with, and I knew I had to choose right this time. So when I got Karen s recommendation about Papa Studio, I decided to go myself, only with my guitar, and just record a live demo of a song or two, and see how I feel there. And there I met Ayal, only 25 years old, but a true professional and a great person to work with. I felt at home right away and for the first time, recording my voice was fun! In no time he became one of the most significant people on my journey of recording my songs. He got involved in much more that just operating the studio. I learned a lot from him about production decisions I had to make, and how to get ready for the recording day. He gave me names of musicians, he came to our rehearsal, and to the grand piano recording session we made in a different studio (all on his free time). I found out he is a gifted musician too (Plays bass, guitars, and keyboards), and I was happy to accept his offer to write a cello arrangement for "your heart is your only home", which came out amazing. He helped with ideas for background vocals, We spent many, many hours together in the studio, in the toughest work of editing – choosing the best from each track the musicians played (and there were many – and all amazing), and we were the best team at that. Sometimes he was a great mirror to me while recording vocals, and was most supportive, when I couldn t get it right. Finally, he was responsible for the art of mix, which is taking every track, and giving it the best sound, and level, deciding which instrument will be on the front at every given time. There are not enough words to express my appreciation to Ayal and to his part in this project.
Amit Amrami: the Art of Mastering
Amit - a musician, a producer, the owner of Papa Studios is responsible for the art of mastering the songs to their final and upgraded version for singles and for the Album. He was also the secret advisor when ever we were stuck or had a dilema during editing or mix process. I learned from him a great deal!
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I love them all and am grateful for them being with me on this journey.