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...