Arts & Entertainment, Music

“Savior” Songwriting Demo: Rewriting, Revising, and Refining

St. Vincent

Lesson time 08:17 min

Find out the question Annie asks herself while editing, and see how she expands her sound with collaborators and embraces counter-melodies.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Expanding the Sound with Collaborator · Embracing Counter-Melodies


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:09.01] - Here was the original guitar part. [00:00:11.39] [HEAVY GUITAR PART] [00:00:20.74] Got that? I mean, that's a real beefy riff, which I moved away from, because I thought it took power away from the vocal. So when the vocal melody comes in, if you've heard this big, blasting monster guitar already saying it and then the vocal comes in, you've just deflated that balloon. [00:00:46.69] I also did it because I felt like it was just right on that edge of corny. At the end of the day, one of my big rules is, like, I ask myself, does this serve the song? And if the answer is no, then it's unfortunate. But sometimes you really just have to be merciless with your editing. [00:01:06.25] And it's fine. Again, there's no wasted effort. Save it for a different song. You can always throw it in there. [00:01:12.23] [MUSIC - ST. VINCENT, "SAVIOR" WITH GUITAR PART] [00:01:13.20] (SINGING) But I keep you on your best behavior. But honey, I can't be your savior. [00:01:20.04] (SPEAKING) I mean-- [00:01:21.02] (SINGING) Honey, I can't be your mart-- [00:01:24.03] (SPEAKING) OK. So I changed that. I think there were different instruments that could support the vocal a bit better there. And also, I wanted to make that part really syncopated. [00:01:37.72] I think I was thinking about The Pointer Sisters or something, just something really syncopated. Again, the tension and release-- dot, dot, dot, dot, dot-- angular. And then it releases into that. [00:01:48.40] [MUSIC - ST. VINCENT, "SAVIOR"] [00:01:48.89] (SINGING) Love you to the grave and farther. Honey, I am not your martyr. But then you say, "please." [00:02:11.86] (SPEAKING) This very kind of strict beat-- [00:02:15.36] [HEAVY BEAT] [00:02:17.25] This is definitely on the grid. There's no movement here. This is the kind of beat-- this, like, strict, Germanic thing-- that actually could support a-- [VOCALIZING DESCENDING NOTES] this waterfall thing going down. [00:02:33.09] At this tempo, it didn't have any power. So I changed the tempo, and I changed the key. I changed the key. [00:02:43.34] [PLAYING NOTES] [00:02:47.54] So that became the lick and definitely more in that-- again, I mean, I was just, like, referencing Dr. Dre. [00:02:55.57] [PLAYING NOTES] [00:03:05.41] So it's just, like, little and kind of funk, idiomatic, and better for my voice to sing all the parts. (SINGING) You dress me up. Please. Every singer has a couple different breaks in their voice. [00:03:25.16] And what I mean by a break, it's a place where you go from your chest voice into your head voice. Because this song goes from chest voice to head voice and then goes from head voice all the way down into chest voice, I just had to pick the key of it pretty thoughtfully. [00:03:39.70] [MUSIC - ST. VINCENT, "SAVIOR"] [00:03:45.12] I'd added a bass. And this is-- this bass is one of the great bass players of life, Pino Palladino. And he came in to play. And he's playing-- ...

About the Instructor

Under the stage name St. Vincent, Annie Clark has won Grammys while remaining fiercely innovative and true to herself. Now Annie is opening the door to her process to teach you how to explore your creativity. Learn how to record music, write songs, improve your guitar skills, and embrace your vulnerability. Let Annie guide you through the ups and downs of creating art so you can share what’s in your heart with the world.

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St. Vincent

Explore your creative process and embrace vulnerability with St. Vincent, the Grammy-winning, genre-defying artist and performer.

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