I've just been informed by friends who subscribe to World magazine that an article about my music has appeared in the most recent print edition! How exciting! I must admit that I knew it would probably be coming, but I didn't know exactly when. So cool!
I sat down with World contributor Arsenio Ortiz (I use the word 'with' a bit loosely, as this was over Skype even though we were roughly on the same side of the world - also 'sit', as I assume we were both sitting) for a great conversation a few weeks ago. It turns out that he's experienced a large share of the world himself, and I really enjoyed talking to him about my music and life.
Pick up the magazine and share the article with your family and friends, or share the online version:
Anthony "Tony" Guyer was one of the first people I worked with when starting to play music. Over the years we've worked together on numerous projects and I've always valued his ear and his feedback. He continues to build his business Forgotten Genre Productions, based in Lancaster, PA.
Tony and I have connections that go farther back than our music ventures, though. His family and mine both work for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Like I spent time growing up in Ghana, West Africa, Tony and his brothers grew up in another country - it just happened to be one on the other side of the world: Papua New Guinea. When the Guyers took a home assignment in Lancaster and we were back temporarily from Africa our two families would often reconnect.
In 2006 when I started writing and performing in the Lancaster area, my parents mentioned that Tony was back from road-managing bands out of Nashville, including The Waiting, Smalltown Poets, and Sixpence None the Richer. I got in touch with him to see if he was still interested in music, and found a kindred spirit - someone interested in creating and recording music that would touch people's lives.
For this album, Tony lent me some of his recording equipment for tracking drums and some initial percussion at the Crossway Church property in Lancaster, back in 2010-2011. Then when I was in India I got in touch with him to see if he'd be able to record strings. I put him in touch with Yolanda and Sophia, sent him the tracks to record to, and was able to pick up the files from him when I visited the US over the summer. Easy as pie. If you're in the Lancaster area and want to do some recording or just want to meet up and learn from him, check out his Forgotten Genre Facebook page.
Over the coming weeks I plan to feature different people or groups of people who have helped make this album a reality. And where better to start than with the people I first started working with in Singapore?
I moved to Singapore in August of 2010 to begin a PhD in Linguistics, and I had been demoing tracks in the US before I came, following a series of small tours and shows in 2009. I usually do my own recording and engineering, but coming to Singapore meant that I could only bring a couple bags, so all my equipment was left behind. In my first semester, once the dust had settled and I knew my way around, more or less, I started searching for a place to record. I found SoundFarm Production Studios on the web and went to meet them.
It turns out that the studio had only recently begun, as a sort of side project that was rapidly turning into a full-blown business. Their equipment was really good, their room was nice, and they were open to experimentation. Reuben Raman was the main engineer I worked with, but as time went on I met Mandric Tan, Sikai Goh, and their mentor Geoffrey Low. I started recording with them in October of 2010, and over a weekend we were able to record most of the guitar parts for the album, and demo the vocals. I went back to the US that Christmas, where I then tracked drums, rhodes, and organ with friends in Lancaster. More on them next.
Happy Valentine's Day! In true Valentine's spirit, Tunecore has put together a compilation (or 3) for all the lovers out there. My song, "I've Got a Girl" competed with over 1,000 other songs for a spot, and you can now download the 28 tracks on Volume 2 for free on Amazon.com. Just click on the picture to the left, which will take you to a page where you can listen to all the tracks and even download individual ones. Mine is track 5.
As for the story behind this song (which is also on the new album 'Home'), it was written in 2009. I was thinking of the kind of amazement that people sometimes experience when they are in a relationship. Amazement that the person they love also loves them back, and that draws them deeper in love with the other person. I hope that people who are in a loving relationship never to lose that wonder, but instead treasure it and work hard to keep it.
I always imagined this song with strings, so when I was in India this past year and had the opportunity to arrange string parts, what you hear on this track are what I came up with. I hope you enjoy the arrangements and can share this song with the one you love.
The new album 'Home' is almost here! I'm still working on the artwork with my friend Janina, so it's not completely done yet, but for now you can pre-order the digital version on Bandcamp: http://hiramring.bandcamp.com
The pre-order includes 6 songs for immediate download and is at the discounted price of $7 for 12 tracks. Of course you are always welcome to donate more. When the full album is released, you will be emailed and can then download the rest of the album and the PDF artwork.
I hope you're getting as excited as I am! I'm really looking forward to sharing this album with you! It's been a really long time coming, and some of these songs are the best I've written to date. I'll be continuing to post here over the coming weeks with thoughts about the album before it officially releases and becomes available on iTunes, AmazonMP3 and wherever else digital music is sold.
Keep in mind that what you hear on the site is a stream, and therefore lower quality than the download. They sound even better once they're yours!
I've thought about this album for awhile as a collection of songs, and of course one of the big questions is "what do I call it?". For a variety if reasons that I hope will become apparent, I've decided to name the new album Home. More on that later, but for now, below is the track list:
1. All I Want
2. Hold Me
4. How Far
5. I've Got a Girl
6. If I Held You
7. Greet the Dawn
8. This Lamp
9. My Lord
11. Two Trees
12. Zion's Walls
Some really great news - the album is being authored now! For those who don't know, the process of authoring is the final stage which music goes through before before it is ready to be pressed or replicated onto a CD.
My friend Mark at Working Man's Productions is who I've been working with for mastering, and now that mastering is done and authoring is almost done, the next step is to upload the album to digital distributors and finish the artwork in time for a late February release. Super exciting!
I plan to post in the next few days with more album details, so stay tuned!
I'm a linguist and singer-songwriter. I write about life, travel, language and technology.