New Song: “Bitter Paradise” A Cappella

Inside: My first a cappella song; And there was much pitch correction


This song is about 8 years old.  I’ve been wanting to re-do it.  I’ve also been wanting to do an a cappella song for the longest time but haven’t had the guts.

When I was in high school Take 6 came on the scene.  That turned me on to a whole world of vocal jazz:

  • Take 6
  • Manhattan Transfer
  • Lambert, Hendricsk & Ross
  • The Modern Singers (??) – I can’t remember their name but they did a version of “Emily” that I still can’t get out of my head.  Also because it makes me think of Emily.
  • Rockapella
  • Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra et al
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • The Nylons
  • Sweet Honey and the Rock
  • New York Voices

Granted, there’s a limited audience and appeal.  Colleges have a lot of a cappella groups and arrangers but  you know how it goes for sub genres of music.  Jazz in particular.  Vocal jazz at that.

My musical tastes were definitely questioned many times by friends and family.

And then there was  De Anza

I met Tim Bulkley at the Garden City jam session.  He recruited me to play for Roger Letson’s vocal jazz classes and groups at De Anza College.  I learned a LOT about vocals just from being immersed in that setting for, like. four or five years.

I would go home and sing or in the car, but I refused to sing in front of people.  If I could go back in time I would definitely give it a shot.

I did some vocal arrangements for Vocal Flight — six vocalists plus a rhythm section.  The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home” (as influence by Al Jarreau’s rendition) and “Berimbau” but I replaced the lyrics.  I could probably find “Berimbau” somewhere.  I’ve got it on mp3 around here somewhere.  They did a great job on that one, recording it.

But it’s a LOT of work doing arrangements like that.


Anyway, I had ideas on the way home from work last night.  Then I was tired and laid down.  Then I got up and started recording.  Then it was fun so I kept going.  Then it was, like, 2 am.  Then I had to do a LOOOOOT of pitch correcting.  Every single take.  Adjusting most notes.

Then it was 4am.  Then I started mixing.  And then listening over and over.  Then it was 5am. But that makes sense because when I wrote it all those years ago it was also in the wee hours.

Then I was weak during my strength training today because I got very little sleep.

It was worth it, though.  I love it when I can sit down, start something and finish it.  That wasn’t the plan but that’s the way it went.  Of course, if I had taken the time to plan it out and even write it down it would be more intricate, ornate, varied.  But for now it’s here.  I can live with that.

Strategic OCD comes in handy.  Even when it’s work and sucks to keep going, you push through because … it’s close so why not finish.

Alright.  I gots to do things.  The things that I do.

I think food is going to be involved.

One thought on “New Song: “Bitter Paradise” A Cappella

  1. By the way, this is kind of Jennell’s fault for encouraging me. So if you’ve got issues with it take it up with her.

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