In our November 2013 issue, singer/songwriter Kristian Bush of Sugarland shared his thoughts on the songwriting process, on community and sharing resources.
Some weeks after we went to press, we were thrilled to receive two versions of a song by Kristian -- one early in the creative process, one later -- as a special treat for our readers. Here's Kristian, telling us about the two versions of "So Smooth":
So Smooth (early version)
"In my process, I take an early and full swing at a song. I think it is an attempt to find out where the song is going to sit in sonic space, and to see if the lyric really works against whatever landscape we cook up. In this case, the drums are samples and have no fills or changes in their pattern. It goes to a kick drum at the third verse, but otherwise, no cymbals, just the loop. I found out that this a great choice to kind of hypnotize the listener. The other thing I found was the octave lift I put in the melody in the outro chorus. That happened in the moment of the early demo."
So Smooth (ready to mix)
"This one is ready for mix now. You can hear a full band tracking, as well as which elements I pulled forward from the demo. The real drums make it more dynamic, but the parts are similar in the first few verses. I kept the tempo and key the same -- I just chased music choices that would make the lyric more compelling."
Many thanks for sharing this beautiful song with us, Kristian!