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SUCCESS in the Studio with Joey Stuckey

Joey Stuckey is one of the most inspirational, positive and amazing humans on the planet. Don't take our word for it, basically just ask anyone who knows him... We were so honored to spend a few minutes with this guru of music to learn more about his steps for tried and true SUCCESS!! Check out JOEY STUCKEY new MUSIC here: "How to get out of your own way and create SUCCESS in the studio!"

By Joey Stuckey

At the best of times, it is hard to make music that is meaningful to you and your fans and that meets your expectations—let alone doing so with the COVID19 crisis that we all currently face!

Here are 5 tips that I use every day to get out of my own way and create SUCCESS in the studio.

1. Start with a moment of intention. This means that while you don’t have to have every single note planned out, you should have a vision and message that you want to communicate. You should have a number of songs that make sense together and that, while different, have a sense of cohesion and make a musical tapestry.

For example with my first album “Take A Walk In The Shadows”, I wanted to tell my story of being blind and some of the heartache I had been through. And I wanted to tell my journey of discovery and how I realized that the person that was most standing in my way was me. Over the 12 tracks, I told that story.

Conversely, on my album “In The Shadow Of The Sun”, my goal was to record a very primitive, live, in-studio record capturing my trio as we were at that time with all of us in the same room just playing together. Again, this was my moment of intention and everything else I did flowed from that vision. When you have a solid goal or intention, then you can make quick and easy decisions that all work toward the goal and this means you waste no time wondering what to do next which saves you valuable mental real estate and money in the studio.

2. I don’t try to control every aspect of the session. I have invested in relationships with other talented and creative people, and while I am still captain of the ship, I trust my crew to do their jobs and many times they come up with ideas that were better than my own. It is good to have other artists collaborate on the project. This keeps things interesting and fresh!

I only invite those I admire and trust to participate. This goes for anyone on the project from graphic design to producer to guest musical artist, etc.

3. Life is tricky and we all have obstacles that we meet unexpectedly. Sometimes there are things we have to deal with and there is no getting around it. However, as much as we can, we should never put anything else on our schedule on recording days except for recording so we can be totally focused on the music we are making!

I can’t tell you how many times I have had a client put other things on their schedule on recording days and every time it means that we have a less successful session. When you do this, you start watching the clock rather than being focused on the task at hand, or it makes you run late to the session so you are starting the session on the wrong footing. Don’t do anything else on session days except make music unless it is an absolute emergency!

4. Don’t expect for the studio to have everything you will need. Often times they will, but if it is really important to you and how you perform, bring it with you!

Personally, I bring with me everything I need or might conceivably need so I am not caught without.

This goes from extra pics and batteries to snacks and special drinks. And for those of you that are cold natured, bring a jacket. Most of the time studios are kept colder than you might be used to.

5. Most importantly, give yourself some grace. We all want to create masterpieces of musical art and many of us have a very clear vision as to how something is supposed to sound. However, be open to the project turning out a way you didn’t anticipate. Give that new sound or performance a chance and see if it really is a mistake that you want to correct, or if it was a beautiful bit of inspiration! Remember, you are the only one that knows if something was intended or not, so just because it wasn’t what you intended, it might be that you have had a real human moment that will resonate even better with your audience!

Also realize that sometimes even when something isn’t your what consider to be “perfect” it might be fine and agonizing over it isn’t productive.

I’ll never forget on my first album that I had a song that meant a lot to me and I worked on the mix a long long long time! I just hated it and it wasn’t taking shape like I new it could or should.

I finally got so frustrated that I left the studio for a long dinner break. I must have stayed away for about an hour and a half. When I returned, I listened to the mix again and was shocked to find I loved it.

I honestly wondered who had come into the studio and remixed my song! No one had done so because I was the only person in the studio and the only one that had the keys to the door. I had just gotten bogged down in details that in the grand scheme of things weren’t important and when I took a break and came back with a fresh mind and perspective, I realized I had the mix and had it just how I needed it to be all that time!

——Joey Stuckey is the Official Music Ambassador of his hometown of Macon, Georgia. Joey spends every moment living life to the fullest and sharing his story and inspirational spirit through his musical 

performances and speaking engagements. As a toddler, Joey was diagnosed with a brain tumor and

underwent surgery with little hope of survival. Though the tumor left Joey blind and with other health

challenges, today, he continues to live a successful life of intention in his chosen field of music. Joey is professor of music technology at Mercer University, the music technology consultant for Middle Georgia State University, and an official music mentor for the Recording, Radio and Film Connection in Los Angeles as well as an active voting member of the Grammys. He is the owner and senior engineer at Shadow Sound Studio which is a destination recording facility with state of the art analog and digital technology. He has spoken and performed all over the world including at the University College of London, the Georgia Music Hall Of Fame, and the Audio Engineering Society in New York City, just to name a few. In his roles as producer, engineer, recording artist and journalist, he has worked with many musical legends including Trisha Yearwood, Clarence Carter, James Brown, Alan Parsons, Gene Simmons (KISS), Al Chez (Tower of Power), Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie), Danny Seraphin ( Chicago), Kevin Kenney (Drivin’ and Cryin’), and many, many more.

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