He talks about the album production of "Charice", the Philippine EP and debut EP of Charice released in May 2008. This is different from the international debut album also titled "Charice" which was released internationally in May 2010 and reached the No. 8 spot in the Billboard 200, making Charice the first Asian artist to do this. (Read more about Charice's discography)
(I just adjusted a bit the layout of the original post, highlighted my favorite parts, and added the photos the author placed in separate posts.)
OK... now my life is back to being semi normal after a series of album productions starting off with sweet Charice Pempengco's self titled album.Go to the original post: Charice Album
Now i feel i can blog about this album since it is out on the market and i can look back and shed some useful info on the production of this album.
First off, cut number one: And I Am Telling You
Originally heard on the movie adaptation of "Dreamgirls".
Arranged by Arnold Buena, a talented and amazing arranger who uses high quality samples on his arrangement. None of the orchestral instruments were done live but if you listen closely enough you probably won't notice since the MIDI arrangement and samples are simply fantastic.
Charice didn't sing the way Jennifer Hudson did. She wanted to do it her way which Jon and I happily agreed. At least she doesn't just want to cover the song but to sing it in a style of her own.
Picture of me (author) and Charice Pempengco
taken during one of her vocal sessions for her self titled album.
Click the photo to go to the original post.
Cut number two: It Can Only Get Better
...A song originally done by Amy Diamond.
Now this song I believe can't be sung in any other way since it is about juvenile love. It's a teenage girl singing about how after all the pains you encounter, things will definitely get better. Hmmm now isn't that a song we can all relate to?
This song I arranged but i did change it a little bit since the original arrangement didn't have a band feel to it. No drums and no string parts, this I put in myself to make the song more lifting and heavier towards the middle and end part. The guitars were all done live by again... Me :-)
I just love playing guitars specially on an album which features a very competent singer.
If you listen closely to this song you'll hear an original guitar line that i felt complements the particular section it was in.
Cut number three: I Will Always Love You
Originally written and performed by Dolly Parton if i'm not mistaken. But we all remember Whitney Houston's famous rendition of this song.
Charice practically grew up singing Whitney songs... so this one is not so much of a difficult song for her and she sings it in its original key. I've seen Whitney videos on YouTube of her singing this song a key lower. Charice does justice on this song since she must've been singing it since she was four years old. hahaha
This version was arranged by my good friend Paulo Zarate who now has his own studio aptly called Studio Z!
Guitars by moi... this song originally had a saxophone solo in the middle part but now for this album Jon wanted a guitar solo so ... i used my fender strat for this song plugged straight to Protools with an amp simulator plugin.
Cut number four: Born To Love You Forever
Now this song is a Swedish song originally included on an album she recorded in Sweden.
The original arrangement was for the Swedish market which i believe likes songs with heavy synth textures and drum loops.
The arrangement for this song is once again done by.... guess? Well, me of course. Jon decided as producer that he wanted me to give this song a band feel to it of which i was only too happy to oblige.
Charice did all the vocals for this song... which called for quite a number of backup vocals as well and Jon decided to let Charice sing her backup parts as well so that the texture and stable vocal timing are retained.
Cut number five: I Have Nothing
This song posed quite a challenge since the original arrangement was done by David Foster.
And Leona Lewis has done this song as well. Jon wanted to keep the original Foster arrangement since we both felt that this was a very good arrangement for this song and it would not seem right to change it at all ... since this album was intended to be used by young hopeful singers as well hence the inclusion of minus one versions of all the songs in the album.
Of course the Foster version featured human musicians but Philippine production budget would not allow for a full orchestra for just one song, well unless you'll only sell one song on the CD.
Plus the logistics for doing such a thing would be ridiculous considering the amount of time we were told to come up with this album. This album was started after her "Ellen" performance and before her "Oprah" guesting. In the middle of production we had to take a short break because she had to go to do the Paul O'grady show in London. Charice had a hectic schedule.
I personally like the arrangement and I think it holds it own and it serves its purpose.
One very notable incident was that I arranged the song almost sync'd to the original and i purposely did not put in a click track or metronome count on the breaks of this song. Charice sang it straight through proving that she knows this song by heart and did not need a count to keep her in time. Now that's something I rarely see in a singer. :-)
(Author) with Charice Pempengco... who as far as i know is the first filipina singer
to guest in Oprah's show. :-)
Click the photo to go to the original post.
Cut number six: Mama
Originally done by Smokey Mountain.
Star Records wanted to include this song since they felt Charice could do justice to this song. It was kind of funny though since the lyrics include the lines "mama is a maid in London" which Mrs. Pempengco obviously isn't. We had a blast doing this song which was arranged by Gino "Blooze" Cruz, another excellent musical arranger and keyboard player.
Charice wasn't really familiar with this song so it took a little bit longer to sing than when she sings a song she knows by heart.
All recordings were done at Mixsonic Recording studios
Recorded by Arnold Jallores and Jonathan Manalo
Produced by Jonathan Manalo for Star Records Inc.
The original mix had vocals sitting on the mix but Star Records wanted more vocals upfront since after all it was a vocal album.
Mixed and mastered by