Recording in London (Part 1)

“They say it takes ten years to make your first album.”

Quite a few friends have said that exact phrase to me in the last year or two, or nearly that exact phrase, and despite my aversion to hackneyed words of wisdom, my particular story definitely supports it. It was about ten years ago that the goal of recording an album became my over-arching focus. It’s not that I started making music ten years ago. I had been singing since I was a little kid. The first song I ever remember singing was “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the 1978 musical Evita by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. That song was a huge success around the world when I was about three years old, and throughout my earliest days I used to sing it to my parents in the car and around the apartment. But it was only about ten years ago, when I was around 22, that I decided I wanted to start making albums.

It’s taken me this long, but two weeks ago I got on a plane from Barcelona to London for my first real recording sessions in the studio of Brian Leininger, sound engineer, creator of Echotrip , and personal friend of mine from my days in Granada, Spain. We met there in the summer of 2003, when we were both studying Spanish at the Instituto Don Quijote. We drank more than we studied, for sure, played songs on the rooftop of our residence hall, wandered around the Albayz√≠n together, spent nights among the gitanos at one of the last vital holdouts of authentic flamenco in all of Andaluc√≠a.

One afternoon, on our way back into the city from a hike up into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, we got lost in some thicket, and after working our way through it for half an hour, stumbled into a back wall of the Alhambra, just behind the gardens of the Generalife. We saw in front of us, heaped against a hidden rampart of the once impenetrable fortress, a refuse pile where the gardeners had obviously been dumping leaves and grass and branches for years. We climbed our way up the mucky, decaying mound and just managed to sneak over the wall and infiltrate the palace. We were only breaking into a museum, but I couldn’t help feeling like one of the soldiers of the Catholic Kings in the late 15th century. With our dirty blonde hair, Brian and I probably looked more like German mercenaries than Spaniards, but none-the-less, we shared a certain pride in our feat. If you go through something like that with a person, you’re bound to collaborate again, I guess.

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