ARTIST NAME: Jeff Baker
SONG TITLE: Crazy Beautiful
RELEASE DATE: January 11, 2019.
GENRE: Adult Contemporary/Rock
Jeff Baker is an American musician and singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles.
He has been writing songs and performing since his early teen years growing up on a farm in rural western Kentucky.
He left the farm for college in 1982 and got a degree in business.
Jeff spent most of his adult life in Chicago as a finance executive, playing music on the side in various cover bands.
Disillusioned with the end game of chasing the American Dream and its need forevermore “status and stuff”, he left it all and moved to L.A. to start a brand new life, one that would see him pursue his dream of helping make the world more beautiful and inspiring others through music.
Jeff’s music is described as a “melodic musical cocktail with equal parts Goo Goo Dolls, Train and Lifehouse and a twist of Sting-like spiritual and intellectual lyrics”.
Vocally, some suggest he is a blend of Bob Seger, Chad Kroeger, and Dave Matthews.
The forthcoming ”The Big Dream” album contains eight songs with themes of making bold life changes and pursuing dreams in the face of adversity, doubt, addiction, and pain.
Jeff is inspired by the beauty in life and in everyday people, places, and things.
His compositions generally have a positive message, using imagery and storytelling to impart messages of encouragement and triumph.
His musical influences have a wide range spanning classic, southern, and ‘80’s rock, electric blues, ‘80’s and ‘90’s adult alternative and modern country music of the last two decades.
Discuss your recording experience with your producer.
This record and the song “Crazy Beautiful” were largely self-produced.
My studio assistant producer helped me shape an impassioned vocal performance and was a second opinion on constructing my overall ‘big sonic sound” reminiscent of late 90’s early 00’s rock.
Discuss what comes first and last while creating a song.
First, I start with a title from a list of potential song titles. The working title usually has a description of what the song could be about.
I use a variety of hooks and chord progressions that might fit the mood of the song and then begin writing the story, always answering the question…what’s this song about?
As the lyrics unfold and the story and/or message is written, I begin to envision the full musical score, drum beat, bass lines, etc., what I call arrangement ideas.
I record the finished song in a scratch track for later review and editing.
Once the song is complete, I re-record the final scratch track for consideration in a fully scored recording project.
Tell us the piece of advice you will give to a new artist.
I would advise them to seek and articulate to themselves what it is they are trying to accomplish. Songwriting only? Recording artist and performer?
Having a clear vision is very important in staying focused on a pursuit that will take time, patience, and perseverance beyond easier endeavors, like a traditional day job and career.
Staying focused and consistently asking oneself what it is one is after and am I doing the things I need to do to make it happen is key.
Discuss your worse experience in the music business.
I really haven’t had one yet! I am still new to pursuing music professionally as a songwriter/recording artist and performer.
I will say that I believe the ability to manage your efforts as a business, separating the artist, creative, performing self from the business self (essentially being one’s own record label) is very important, actually, more important and time-consuming than the ‘art’ part of being an artist.
Tell us how you deal with rejection.
I have gained a very healthy spiritual life and have many years of ‘learning’ experience from mistakes and rejection, all part of life and definitely part of the music business, that help me ‘release’ the negative side of rejection.
I would suggest to any artist to embrace being rejected, have fun with it and learn from it. Keep going as everyone on the planet is and will be rejected by someone or something many times in a lifetime.
Tell us what you are doing to impact the people around you.
I am working daily to stay aware, to be positive, and to send out a positive vibe to all those beings I am around.
I do my best to provide support and positivity in all situations to inspire others to seek their best self. It is the foundation of the spirit of all songs on this record.
Tell us the music that makes you happy.
Many forms of music make me happy. I love Opera, Italian in particular. Good, traditional jazz and modern Jazz guitar are great on a Saturday morning.
I enjoy good writing as in a modern country, where storytelling rules and Brad Paisley always has funny songs.
Tell us how you make instrumentation to your song.
I am a guitar player but have roots in classical, was a good French horn player. I ‘hear’ instrumentation before lyrics.
I sense how a song can be produced/arranged. I take a layered approach, starting with the rhythm section and then adding textures, keyboards, and fills with guitar/other instruments.
Finally, I listen to the evolving mix and ask, does this mix convey the emotion I want? I often subtract during mixing as less is often more. The final mix needs to move me emotionally. I like the dynamics in life and music.
Tell us how you feel when you sing and your fans sing along to your song.
Audience interaction is so energetic and stimulating and to some extent a validation of your intent to reach people with a song.
I never tire of the interaction with people, fans and listeners comment about my creations.
I have enjoyed that since I was 14 back in the mid-’70s and hope to enjoy it the rest of my life.
Tell us the goals you aim to achieve when creating a song.
I want to create something of beauty. I may not be beautiful to everyone, but to those who fancy my style, it is beautiful.
I prefer to have a message in the song, one of hope and inspiration. This record is entirely about overcoming challenges to become one’s best self.
Discuss your approach to writing.
Lately, I approach writing when I have a project to create an album. I keep a log of potential titles and themes for each. I set aside time daily to pursue a working title and then to develop it into a story or message, a song.
I have more productive output when I court the muse daily in an organized way, instead of hoping a song will come to me at random.
This approach tends to go in cycles as producing a record and then promotion, largely on my own, and an indie artist leaves little time for writing. Still, I write regularly but arranging time weekly to let the writing process happen uninterrupted.
Tell us how you plan to develop a unique music style.
I think my style develops itself. This is to say I don’t pointedly pursue a style, rather let my natural voice and writing/arranging lead to a song(s) creation that can then be labeled this or that.
Tell us how to record a song.
Well, one can record a song on a modern smartphone as I do with scratch tracks.
One can also invest in a modest home studio set up and record a decent demo with modern rhythm section plugins, etc.
To do a commercially viable recording, I still maintain going to a professional studio, using professional sound engineers and producers who are better trained and have the talent and equipment to capture the best socially, mix it, and master to today’s loudness standards.
Tell us if you are collaborating with other songwriters or you write alone.
My first commercial recording was done in a collaborative writing and recording situation with a friend of mine, Lee Hudspeth.
We released “The High Road” EP in 2018 under the name “The Porch Project.
I did most of the music work supporting the lyrics based on his poems.
I played and sang lead vocals on the record. That work inspired me to do this solo project.
Discuss your experience with fans.
I am just now building new fans… I am grateful to all those who like what I produce and enjoy my performance. They are the reason we create.
Discuss your experience in booking gigs and shows.
I have booked gigs by personal connections and through networking connections largely for cover bands in Chicago for 20 years.
Currently, in Los Angeles, I am focusing on venues featuring indie artists and finalizing video EPK materials.
Tell us if you consider a song placement in TV or Film.
I am actively pursuing sync and licensing opportunities, though I am not writing and recording with specific genre and sound for said opportunities in mind.
Elaborate on the song.
“Crazy Beautiful” is about when you find somebody beautiful in every way, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
It uses a common American saying that something is “crazy cool” or “crazy good”.
It intones that one is beautiful both inside and out. It has a nod to my home of South Bay in LA which is beautiful in every way, people, places, and things.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
Well, my artist name is simply my name. I am from the American Midwest and have modest sensibilities, so a singular name like “Bono” never seemed appropriate!
The album title “TBD” is an acronym not for to be determined, but rather The Big Dream, the title track as yet unreleased. The title refers to the fact this musical pursuit and my first studio album is, in fact, the pursuit of my big dream.