We had a mega day in the studio yesterday recording ensemble vocals for the Em album. I invited twelve singers to perform, all of whom I've worked with before at various stages in my career.
It was a long, somewhat brutal day. This was always likely to be the case because we had a lot of very complicated material to cover, all of which needed to be spot on. An ensemble vocal is next to impossible to tune or tidy up in post production so what gets recorded goes straight onto the album. If one of the twelve singers makes a mess of just one of the bars that you're recording, everything has to be done again. The level of concentration required is therefore intense. Performers are literally singing non-stop. It's utterly exhausting.
At the last minute I asked young Harrison if he'd conduct for us. I hadn't initially thought we'd need a conductor, but both Hilary and Nathan passionately disagreed so when Harrison offered, I was rather relieved! He did an astonishing job, and made a massive difference to the session. He's apparently in pain this morning after waving his arms around so frantically.
We recorded some great music and achieved perfection on a number of occasions. We had a few rather hairy moments, particularly towards the end of the session when we started to run out of time, but that's the nature of the beast.
I was hugely grateful to all the vocalists for their commitment. No one moaned about being tired, vocally or physically. Everyone simply got on with being fabulous. It was a joyous session.