Welcome to Fall! I love Fall, and I love all of the seasons, but Fall is my favorite. So it feels great to share more good news about my latest recording project with you as I watch leaves blow and trees bend in the cool breeze.
Having completed two music videos for my current project, 'Right Where I Am,' by the end of July 2022, plans were made to return in the Fall. Work would concentrate on two more music videos and a new Ross Vannelli song and video explicitly written for Mullens Miracles entitled 'I Keep The Light On.' We did not expect to accomplish half of this in the time we had blocked off. Still, much to our surprise, we had all that completed in two weeks, including recording and nearly finishing another new Ross Vannelli song for Mullen's Miracles entitled 'We Go On.' For more information on the current status of my work with Mullen's Miracles check out Current 2022 Projects - Mullen's Miracles.
My schedule this year has been hectic, to say the least, so I was looking forward to my time in Northern California, making videos and music and enjoying the nice weather. Alarmingly, much to my dismay, California was in the middle of an unexpected heatwave when we landed, and for our first week there, it rarely came close to dipping under 100 degrees. So while it looked beautiful outside, it was the perfect weather to encourage you to stay locked away in the studio and work for 12 hours a day, which precisely is what we did.
Having the opportunity to work with Gino Vannelli and Ross Vannelli is the creative highlight of my life up to this point. Throughout my career as a musician, I have never known or worked with two people who are more brilliant, creative, talented, intelligent, and prolific at what they do. I cannot think of anyone who is even remotely close. The best part about them is that they are also very kind, compassionate, and thoughtful human beings. To make it even more special, they have been #1 in my book since I first heard Gino's music in 1975. The experience gets quite surreal sometimes, and I feel blessed and grateful beyond measure to have these opportunities. The cherry on top of all this is that we are creating some extraordinary music and videos for myself and Mullen's Miracles.
While I have had years of experience working with Gino Vannelli, I had not had that much working with Ross until a few months ago, back in May of 2022, when we got together out in Los Angeles to shoot our first video, 'Sunset on L.A.'. Everything fell into place from the minute he greeted us at the door with a giant bear hug. Every day Kathy and I have spent with Ross and his cameraman, Alex Lebowitz, has proved fruitful, energizing, fun, and full of creativity. It would be wrong if I did not mention that a large part of how we got as much accomplished as we did is that Ross spent an enormous amount of time preparing before our arrival. Unless you have been directly involved in recording a professional recording, video, or movie, you most likely have no idea how much time, prep, and work goes into it. I still find myself constantly amazed at the vast detail required that goes completely yet understandably unnoticed by most people.
The first video we worked on was for a song entitled 'The Jokers Wild.' We incorporated footage that Kathy Mullen had shot of me performing the song at a castle in Iowa. (Yes, you read that correctly. I did say a castle in Iowa.) To embellish my vocal performance, Ross created historically artistic, animated, brilliantly painted images of court jesters, kings, and princesses to tell the story. Ross Vannelli has done many successful music videos throughout his career, so it was fascinating to see that after watching 'The Jokers Wild' upon completion, even he was blown away. It is so enticingly beautiful we must have watched it dozens of times over and over in silence. The footage which Ross created took so much time, and it was fascinating to hear him describe how he did it. I am thinking of interviewing him for a video explaining how he accomplished what he did once the video is released. The music and video are indeed marvelous works of art.
The second video, which we worked on and finished, was one I looked forward to most. The song, 'Keep On Walking,' is a gorgeous, melancholy torch song of the highest order from Gino's album, 'Storm At Sunup.' It is a deeply moving piece of music etched into my heart and soul from the first time I heard it back in 1975. I have almost an entire lifetime of memories wrapped up in this song. The audio track Gino and I recorded is astoundingly beautiful, and Ross's stunning and moving video complements the music perfectly. Special thanks to Sean Harbour for his excellent trumpet performance.
I enjoy being in a recording studio almost more than any other place on earth, and to have the chance to soak in the genius of artists like Gino and Ross Vannelli is an extreme privilege I do not take for granted. This project continues to grow and mature as time goes on, and I look forward to releasing more videos throughout 2023 and 2024. I am being asked by many people when the final product will be released. My latest plan was to finish videos for every song on the album and then release it. However, after some recent conversations with Gino, Ross, and Kathy, we have decided to start releasing singles on the first of the year and release the album in 2023. Of course, all this may change also, but we are very excited to get this out for you to watch, hear and own.
It had been a while since I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in California, so I had made plans for us to sightsee in Los Angeles. L.A. is loaded with music history you could spend months or even years exploring, and I love to do that kind of stuff. :-) Unfortunately, we ended up only having one free day, so we did not get much in, but I hope that in visits to come, I can check off more places of interest from my bucket list.
To wrap things up for this update, I want to say this. Every song we recorded for 'Right Where I Am' was handpicked by Gino Vannelli. He painstakingly chose songs to represent his artistic growth since these songs were first recorded and how they profoundly and personally represent my heart, soul, life, and musical journey. We have spent a lot of time together, and he knows me very well, so 'Right Where I Am' is a deeply artistic and personal record that we both feel will significantly impact those who take the time to listen. I will continue to keep you updated here at JeffPike.com. Thank you very much for joining me in this landmark journey of my life. More to come...
There are a couple of new updates I have to share with you regarding the release plan for my next album, 'Right Where I Am.' If you have followed closely, you know I finished recording in late 2021. My initial plan was to release it in the fall of 2022 but touring, life, Covid, finances, time, and many other unexpected obstacles made me reconsider. Sometimes obstacles can be a good thing. After much thought and conversation with my producer, Gino Vannelli, we concluded that the best way to proceed is to make videos for each song on the album and then release some of them as singles with accompanying videos over time. Then once some headway has been made, we will release the complete finished version of 'Right Where I Am.' The plan is to make the album available on CD, Vinyl, and digital streaming. There will also be a Video Album consisting of all the songs on the album and possibly a couple of bonus videos. Naturally, being the old-school guy I am and firmly believing that everything comes back around, I will also make the video album available on DVD. So now, the ball is passed from Gino to his brother Ross, and his assistant and cameraman, Alex Lebowitz.
Ross Vannelli is a highly successful songwriter, producer, audio engineer, video director, and Gino's business and creative partner. Being very familiar with Ross's work, I am incredibly excited to have him in charge of this part of our ambitious project. The first song we decided to shoot was "Sunset On L.A." As luck would have it, the ABBA MANIA tour ended in Hollywood on March 13, 2022. Since Ross and Alex are based in Los Angeles, Kathy Mullen flew out, and we decided to stay a few extra days and shoot the video. I could not have planned a better experience without scripting it myself. Ross is a helluva guy with a beautiful soul, a keen sense of humor, and a creative genius, just like his brothers Gino and Joe. The weather was stunningly perfect, and we spent two days shooting in Hollywood, Malibu, and Ross's studio. I can honestly say that I have not had that much fun working in a very long time. Everything went smoothly, and we all worked together very well. Also, like his brothers, he works very hard. Ross completed the video in less than two weeks, and we are thrilled with the results.
On July 17, we headed back to Los Angeles to start work on the following video and the album's title track, " Right Where I Am." While we shot some footage in a nearby park in Thousand Oaks, most of the performance footage was shot in Ross's studio. Having the incredible opportunity to watch Ross and Alex work is much like it is while watching Gino work on our music. Their astute knowledge and expertise in what they do make the process incredibly fascinating from which to watch and learn.
There is a beautiful park not very far from Ross's studio. We decided to take some live video shots there. They proved very useful and looked stunning in the video. This park works so well you will be seeing it in future videos, so be on the lookout. :-)
After a long and productive day at the park we reconvened the next day at the studio to start editing Right Where I Am.
Even at its best, shooting a video is time-consuming, exhausting, and draining. Since we only had four days to spend in Los Angeles before returning to Atlanta for some A1A shows, I fully expected to go home empty-handed and await an update from Ross. We were amazingly surprised when we returned to Ross's studio for our last day together, which was an off day, to find that he was halfway completed with the video. So we put off our relaxation plans and sat with Ross while he finished the video. We were floored at how quickly he finished the video and how stunningly beautiful the results were. I still can't believe it.
The following weekend, when we were getting ready to disembark our airplane in Las Vegas, my phone rang, and it was Gino. He was highly excited and gushing with compliments about the video and more creative ideas for the marketing and creative elements of the growing creative aspects of the project. His phone call made my day, and the text he sent afterward reminded me how lucky, grateful, and blessed I am.
Right Where I Am gave me a chill, Jeff. Congrats. Your sincerity is the glue. - G"
Right Where I Am is a gloriously beautiful, majestic, and ambitious project comprising 12 classic songs from multi-platinum recording artist Gino Vannelli, who produced, recorded, arranged, and engineered the album. With the initial inspiration for the album dating back to 2017, the history of Right Where I Am is a long and emotionally inspiring story that will be told in the months to come here on JeffPike.com. The recording, mixing, engineering, and mastering was a long and arduous road due to Covid-19. However, in retrospect, the country's lockdown proved quite beneficial in allowing us to devote more time to the project than was initially planned. The album was finally finished in June of 2021. In March 2022, work began on videos for the album, with Ross Vannelli directing, producing, editing, and filming.
The initial plan was to release the CD in the fall of 2022 but touring, life, Covid, finances, time, and many other unexpected obstacles made me consider other options. Sometimes obstacles can be a good thing. After much thought and conversation with my producer, Gino Vannelli, we concluded that the best way to proceed is to make videos for each song on the album and then release some of them as singles with accompanying videos over time. Then once some headway has been made, we will release the complete finished version of 'Right Where I Am.' The plan is to make the album beautifully packaged and available on CD, Vinyl, and digital streaming. There will also be a Video Album consisting of all the songs and possibly a couple of bonus videos. Naturally, being the old-school guy I am and firmly believing that everything comes back around, I will also make the video album available on DVD.
This album is taking much longer to fruition than Gino, Ross, and I both planned initially, but we are all finding more gems in the project as time goes by. So the bottom line is we all feel it will be well worth the wait and are excited to see what we will find around the next corner.
As of August 2022, we have completed two videos. We will return to L.A. in September 2022 to work on two more with Ross Vannelli.