Lately, when I've been recording vocals for my new EP "The Shy Gemini Sessions," one of the most challenging things is to get The Imperfect Take. (uh...what now??...Imperfect?) Yep, the "perfect take" is NOT what I'm looking for. Instead, I want an emotional take, a moving take, a vulnerable take, and most likely that's not the prettiest or most perfect one of the batch.
It's a tough choice to keep making because, who doesn't want to come off all nice and polished, right? But the thing is, Imperfection is just downright more interesting! Ever notice that your significant other prefers the candid photo with that true-to-self, unprepared expression on your face? You thought that you looked better in the shot with the nicely-placed and practiced smile, but that candid shot captures something about your essence that the well-rehearsed one just doesn't.
When I find myself picking apart and polishing up my vocals, it's helpful to listen back to singers that I personally love. Dave Matthews, Tom Waits and Rufus Wainwright may not be technically "superb" singers, but I'll listen to these characteristic voices over auto-tuned vocals any day!
Interestingly, even our health depends on living in an Imperfect environment. If we over-sanitize our homes, we can become more susceptible to disease because we're not giving our bodies the chance to build up immunities. This is a good reminder that I need to let my music live in an Imperfect space and to not over-sanitize my recordings.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to balance raw emotion with tempered technique. To combine character with culture and intuitive flow with well-practiced poise. But the temptation (for me at least) is to smooth over too many edges.
To be human is to be Imperfect. To be Imperfect is to be relatable. To be relatable is to connect with others. So, I choose to embrace my Imperfections because I believe this will allow me to move, excite, provoke and engage - my hope is that this will shine through on my new recording project, "The Shy Gemini Sessions."