Impossible Perfection (Pt.1)

Today’s thoughts surround me addressing what has been coined as “unquenchable perfectionism” in my creative endeavors (and probably life, in general). I’m pretty OCD, as is, but particularly in the realm of artistic ventures, my striving to achieve perfection is both a strength, as well as a crippling obstacle…

I vaguely remember, back in elementary school, working on some sort of drawing project. I think it was of a devil or something, because it was around Halloween-time. It was one of those “how-to-draw” instructional guides, where you’re trying to copy the methodology of how that particular artist arrived at their final product. My drawing was damn good, and I think my teacher commended me for it… but I just wasn’t satisfied. There were subtleties that fell short of the “model” example I was attempting to replicate. Please note that that’s me at f*cking seven years old or whatever.

You can imagine, now being well into adulthood, that youthful yearning for exactness has only amplified itself to the nth degree. I think I can confidently say, especially in regard to my, now four, published hip-hop albums, I have royally pissed off—almost to the point of ruining friendships—the major players/collaborators in each of those individual projects. I’m a pretty big stickler when it comes to the writing process, but perhaps even more so in the vein of recording, mixing, and mastering. I learned a long time ago that I, personally, have to be the one to record my own vocals. While I’ve gotten better at it over the years, there are times that I spend hours upon hours attempting to “Frankenstein” a vocal take together that is exactly how my brain envisioned the delivery. For example, see the featured image on this blog post to get an idea of what the vocal track to “Safe Music” looks like. Every time you see a vertical line between the wave forms, that’s technically a punch-in or a separate take. Depending on the song, verse, or honestly how obsessive I’m feeling on any particular recording day, I might be interjecting different takes at the SYLLABLE level. Yes, I AM a crazy person. To try to do this in-studio with another collaborator or engineer is a staggering waste of time, energy, and potentially/very much so… money. The only way for me to achieve vocal takes, that satisfy me for their permanent release into the world, is for me to take my sweet leisurely time with them (on my own).

Me putting this into blog form isn’t necessarily providing a solution or form of recourse, it’s just more so me publicly acknowledging this insanity about myself. I have more to talk to on this matter, but we’ll leave that for the next blog entry.


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