Write, then Perform, then Record
Good writing is not enough
After completing 4 albums, I consider songwriting to be an integral part of music that I have mastered. But, the performances of the songs on the recordings could have been better had I started playing live shows or working with two or three performance-focused musicians (not necessarily other songwriters) earlier in my process. For advice on creating a team around your music, you can check out this e-book for just $5 - MUSICIAN TEAMS
Recording, Mixing, and Mastering
While my performances weren't perfect, the recordings turned out perfect in my opinion. At this stage, I finally allowed others to be part of the process.
I'm very thankful to the TEAM at Audio House for helping me record. Tyler and AJ managed the studio and gave feedback on the vocals; Sam Kalt is an amazing recording engineer. He managed many of the recording sessions; and, he listened to and gave feedback on many performances as they were being recorded; Todd also gave much needed feedback to prepare for mixing and mastering.
After working with dozens of producers, Jonathan at J-Tone Studios ended up mixing 15 of my songs - which was the most by any producer by far. I couldn't have finished my project without his help. The reason why I sent so many songs to Jonathan was the reliable, consistent, professional results that I could depend on. He proved to me that he will do his part to mix and master songs to perfection. I highly recommend you send as many tracks to Jonathan as you possibly can. If the songs still suck, you can know it is your fault in writing or performing. Darryl Wood was the mastering engineer that worked with Jonathan. I am extremely grateful to both of them for applying such a high level of professionalism to my music.
Chris Marsh is another producer who is on a different level than the rest. He puts his entire mind and heart into helping you finish your songs. I highly recommend listening to his advice and working with him, in order to take your music to a professional level. Chris stood out among many producers online and I'm grateful for his work.
Mohamed and Travis both stood out among many producers online. Mohamed and Travis aren't technically partners... but for my project, they ended up working with me in a similar way, and I even sent some of the same songs to both of them. They were both good at hearing things in my mixes that I couldn't hear on my own. They were both great communicators. Mohamed's ear for mixing guitars brought a unique energy to my songs that I really appreciated. Travis' unique skills in mastering songs made many of my songs finally feel "finished" which felt amazing. Their input and communication was invaluable and allowed me to get some very questionable performances (which some producers didn't want to touch) to become master recordings that I was proud to share. I highly recommend both of them, and I'm very grateful for their help and communication.