Singer/songwriter, Audient ASP4816 console owner and all round ray of sunshine, Lizzy McAvoy describes her writing and recording process for a recent RAM Trucks advertising campaign. Did her track get chosen? Read on to find out…
Hey Audient Fans! Happy New Year!
I’m currently enjoying a fresh brewed cup of coffee in my back sunroom in Nashville, Tennessee thinking about all the amazing new possibilities 2018 holds. 2017 went out with a fun twist.
I had the amazing opportunity to partner with RAM Trucks for their series called “Long Live The Storytellers”. Myself, along with other incredibly talented songwriters, artists and producers, were selected for a one day Sync Camp.
What’s a Sync Camp?
It’s a hand selected “get together” of the best suited writers, artists and producers. Our main goal this entire camp is to write and produce songs for that specific pitch that has been presented to us.
“We were given a few keywords”
So for example, let’s talk specifically about the RAM Truck sync camp. We all met in a conference room at Universal Publishing in Nashville. We were given a paragraph description of what RAM trucks was looking for then we were sent on our merry way to create the perfect Sync Song for them.
The details we were given: they wanted lyrics that were centered around “Long Live” with a Tom Petty-esque vibe. We were given a few keywords to include: Guts and Glory, Courage, Hard Work and Dependability. Every Sync Camp is different, you can even be in a Song Camp writing for a specific major label artist for their upcoming record. No matter what the camp may be, it’s always an exhilarating experience.
Let’s Get To Work
A cup of coffee and a slice of Homemade Pumpkin Roll later, I was on my way across town to create this perfect “Love Live” song. I came back to my studio where I began brainstorming ideas. I grew up in a blue collared family; My Mom and Dad run a concrete construction company they built from the ground up, and my Mom was also a nurse for 20 years. I grew up driving trucks and drive one to this day, so I had some good personal experience.
“…this song had to be more than that.”
But this song had to be more than that. I had to capture the feeling of the open road, the 4am wake up call, the grind, the feeling of calluses on your hands after a hard day’s work. So I turned to my muse, the late great Tom Petty. I cranked him up and bottled up that perfect feeling he always captured in his music.
“I knew the key element to this track would be the Audient ASP4816”
I pulled up a session, tapped out my tempo and began with my acoustic guitar. I knew immediately I wanted to track to be bare and roots-y. I also knew the key element to this track would be the Audient ASP4816. It had to have that way back feel. That classic vintage rock n’ roll vibe with a modern twist.
I started with a wide strumming pattern that felt open, felt anthemic. I ran that through a Rupert Neve Shelford 5052. I then got my groove down. I used my favorite big bold drum kit, Kontact Studio Drummer, Full White Kit. I added some additional verb and ran that stereo track through two channels on the Audient ASP4816. I proceeded with the ever so simple but signature electric guitar lick right at the top half of the song. It was on a Gibson Les Paul through a Kemper then back to the oh so sweet Audient ASP4816. I recorded the bass through the exact same chain.
Now that I had a musical bed created it was time for the lyrics.
What to write, what to write?
I took a quick walk for another cup of coffee. When writing for placement, it can be a tricky tightrope. You want details – but not too many. So instead of writing about “riding around on those blue vinyl seats”, find the emotion “riding shotgun with freedom on the wheels”.
“I ran downstairs before I forgot a word and the lyrics fell on the page.”
Usually the music is the last creative element; they’ve filmed the material, they’ve picked the setting and colors, time of day and story. We’re there to add the cherry on top and make the viewers feel something. Through my caffeinated happiness, the first verse came to mind: “Long Live the Honest, Long Live the True, The Pure at Heart, The Fighters like You”. I ran downstairs before I forgot a word and the lyrics fell on the page. I stepped up to the microphone (Mojave MA 200) and sang the lyrics to the track as they came to me.
Once the melody and lyrics were in place and recorded, I started adding the sprinkles to the track. Piano, BGV’s, Tambourine, a double of the acoustic guitar (panned hard Left and Right).
“The ASP4816 gave the element of vintage, warmth and familiarity.”
Oh and did I mention my deadline was the next day?
So… once I felt excited about the song and everything was tracked, I printed my instruments through the Audient ASP4816 and did a a final mix.
I turned in my song and patiently waited.
It’s like Christmas morning.
You ask Santa for your wishes and hope they’ll be under the tree. I received an email a couple months later saying that my song “Long Live The Dreamers” had been selected for the campaign. On November 27th 2017, “Long Live The Dreamers” was featured on RAM Trucks YouTube. A beautiful graphic video was created by Talenthouse featuring my favorite part, a cute black and white dog.
I may never know why my song was selected but I feel their were a few instrumental parts (pun intended… haha). I’m writing a blog for Audient, I know… but I felt this was the sonic difference: The ASP4816 gave the element of vintage, warmth and familiarity. Mix that with modern plug-ins and modern melody, it felt to be the perfect combination.
Continue to pursue your dreams and reach for the stars folks, you never know where that may lead. Till next time, Happy Music Making!
Huge thanks Lizzy for this great insight into one of your many projects! We can’t wait to find out what 2018 brings for you – wishing you all the very best. ~Audient