Jackie McLean of the indie band Roan Yellowthorn grants us an inside look at the making of an album from start to finish in her ‘Breaking The Record’ column.
:: stream “I’m Enough“ here ::
Watch: ‘I’m Enough’ – Roan Yellowthorn
Well, you guys, things are moving right along. After months of waiting, things are moving!
Just jumping into the Breaking The Record series documenting the making of our album from start to finish? Read part 1
Starting this new album cycle feels exhilarating. I think that my anxiety is really mostly happiness. The things to be done are being checked off, one by one. The things that are done are adding up.
We have an album cover. That was a big one. And that one happened fast. I approved a mockup and then found out that it was the proposed final version. I had been prepared to agonize and tweak for weeks. But I was spared that. It’s done.
And we’re well on our way in planning the music video shoot. We’re working closely with a remote collaborator who is amazing and he’s helping us to plan the whole video, frame by frame. We have a list of equipment to rent, and will be getting an entire storyboard with each shot mapped out. We’ll need to shoot the video ourselves, because of COVID restrictions, but it will, theoretically, be almost just like working with a professional team. As long as we plan ahead, assemble all of the equipment we need, and make sure we really understand what we’re supposed to be doing, it should work out great. I’m up for the challenge and excited to do it.
The video concept our director came up with is really wonderful. It’s not what I had in mind in the beginning – it’s way better. And I think it’s going to be really powerful as a video and really cathartic to make.
We are planning on shooting within the next week or two. So things really are moving.
The first single will be coming out in early 2021.
How did the time go by?
What else is left to do?
Thinking about videos for the other songs. Thinking about which press shots to use (my mom came to visit a few weeks ago and did like 5 photo sessions with me, which was wonderful).
Thinking about what I want for this next album. What I envision. Thinking about if I should try to put some thought into my ‘style.’ I’ve been wearing the equivalent of pajamas for the past, oh, year. So I’m starting to think about how I want to look. I want to look like me, whatever that is.
I’m determined to get better at my ‘craft’. That being piano playing. It’s my weakest thing, in terms of music. I feel good about my singing and writing. My playing needs an upgrade. And I’m upgrading. I started taking piano lessons a few weeks ago from a good friend and I’m already noticing a real difference. She’s great and I’m learning a lot. Having that structure is really helpful. And taking lessons gives me an incentive to practice. That’s important, too.
I’m also joining a songwriting group that another friend is starting. Songwriting is something I’ve historically been pretty protective about. The process is so personal. And I think having a group of other songwriters to connect with will feel really supportive and good. I’m happy about that.
I’m thinking about whether I’m the kind of person who wears ear cuffs. Or gold chains. I think I’m going to try to think less about what I should do and try to just follow my instinct. Try to do what feels good. I’ve let go of a lot since the world stopped. That feels liberating in many ways.
Let me just say this – I love being able to work with other people. I love having people to work with. It’s a wonderful feeling. And I feel like I really appreciate it because, for years, I didn’t have outside collaborators to help me with things. Having a producer, a label, people to help with music videos and artwork… it’s such a relief. And it’s something that I am so thankful for. Mary, my project manager, Jake, who’s making the video with us, Dee, who does our graphic work, Theresa, who works with us on marketing, Melissa who is our PR liaison. Kirk, who believed in me enough to sign me. I feel like I’m making a speech now. But I can’t thank everyone enough. I wouldn’t want to be doing any of this without you. And being able to work with you is an honor.
Slowly, we’re sharing the weight of burdens we’ve been carrying alone. It feels like community. It feels like collaboration. It feels like togetherness. It feels like I am so much less alone than I used to feel. It feels like family. And it’s healing on so many levels. Asking for help is its own challenge. And it’s also about acknowledging what you have to give. I’m just feeling thankful right now. And hopeful. And ready to go where my heart takes me. Moving along, moving along.
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📸 © Jackie McLean
:: Breaking the Record ::