80/20 “rule” for Finishing and Releasing my Songs

Whoa, what is going on with failing to finish and releasing my songs?! I was just reading an article from SageAudio – where “The Pareto Principle in reference to mixing says that 80% of results come relatively fast, while the last 20% is more┬ádemanding and meticulous. The 80% is the very first part of mixing.” By now, if you’re in the recording business or doing anything of value, you know about this generic, rough rule.

But the realization here for me, is how I have folders with a total of 11 Bossa Nova songs arranged and mixed in my own Da Bossa style, but they are at different levels of unfinished – they’re all around 80% finished. Note that I was already using my own rough estimate on a scale from 1 – 10. What does this mean? Well, I’m on a music roll when it comes to laying out and enjoying (yes, they are all listenable as is right now) those first 80% of the songs; but then I get stuck. Those remaining 10 or 20% meticulous moves are a pain in the butt.

In the beginning I was blaming it on the “oh, I don’t have the technical know-how and experience to finish them off.” [important: by finishing them off, on the scale of 10 or the 100%, I actually mean: song is ready to be sent to a Mixing engineer, or maybe in some cases, sent directly to a Mastering engineer]. The good news – the great news, is that I now feel that I’m competent enough to: make a darn good arrangement; know when I need to rerecord the vocals or give them increased body or getting rid of the nasal stuff; LOL hear when I need to tune the vocal; when the acoustic guitar sounds muddy or has an annoying resonance; where the kick should go vis-a-vis the bass; hear if there is too much room sound in the live instruments; hear when the mix’s lower mid range is bloated; not to mention, where Verse 2 needs a pick-me-up to avoid the dreaded boredom that makes the listener quickly click forward to a different song; where the Chorus doesn’t rise to the occasion; where I get no chill or goosebump moments in the song (ooh, this is real bad); where something is masking something; where each instrument is not perfectly clear; where the reverb needs to be sidechained for clarity; I can tell when a song is finished or is unsatisfying.

So, now I can’t attribute blame to the technical aspects anymore – it’s a wonderful personal accomplishment that has taken me a few years. But, huh, OK, what about those remaining 10 to 20%?! F*#?!

From reading different articles on this – how to deal with procrastination and finishing your damn art work, this is what I’m going to do: i) follow the suggestions in the above-mentioned article and other ones; ii) really, set a fixed time every morning (like those writers that get up at 3-4 AM and work till 7 AM every day, before going to their daytime job, or somenting similar, like, for me: 8 AM to 12 noon (6:45 I make sandwiches for the kids school lunch); and iii) work and finish one song at a time.

Not foolin’ myself [Foolin’ Myself, great song by Billie Holiday – a little aside, she is a big influence on my singing], plan B is to just get each song to the 80% finish line and then hire a producer or a hands-on mixer to nail the bloody thing to its cross, for all to hear (ouch). The thing is, I get the greastest pleasure, and the ease, it’s child’s play, from creating, assembling, copy/pasting, arranging – those first 80% – I know this because I great frustrated with “meticulous”, and besides these Bossa Nova songs, I literally have hundreds of my original songs at the 40 – 80% level. So, regardless, I am going to need help. Help! If you like my music and you want be a part of my┬álife goal of producing a HIT song, get in touch with me, now!

About Cindo Santos

Songwriter, guitarist, singer, performer, a human and social commentator, a fellow traveller. From Florida to Berlin and a lot in between!
This entry was posted in American Bossa, Music Production & Business and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 80/20 “rule” for Finishing and Releasing my Songs

  1. Max Santos says:

    Yeah i agree

  2. codybecth says:

    Great Article! Thank you for sharing this is a very informative post, and looking forward to the latest one

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