This week’s music video is for the song “Smooth Talker” (Produced by Shadowville Productions)
AVAILABLE ON “THE A.P.T LP” – Click HERE for download information!
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
First, a sidebar: one of the reasons I document this stuff is so that people will know when, where, and how the songs were created. That way, if a situation occurs where people question whether or not I was the originator of the song (i.e. the “O-bama” song), those looking for proof have something to read. It also helps that I get my songs copyrighted 🙂
I found this beat online back on April 12, from a production company called Shadowville. I surf for beats online a LOT, and the majority of beats I find are available for free use if you use them for promotional use only (i.e. I can’t sell the songs).
I mention this because I downloaded a LOT of beats that I planned to use for promotion only; however, people started asking me if I was going to put out an album for purchase, many of the songs I made to test the waters… were actually good songs, but I couldn’t use them because the beat either (a) cost too much, (b) had already been bought, or (c) had to be purchased exclusively to be used, and they costs a LOT.
That means that some of the songs I wanted to put on “The A.P.T. LP” couldn’t be used. “Smile 4 Dad?” Nope! “Shout Out 2 My Big Girl?” Sorry!
However, when it came to the beat used for this song, I knew that I HAD to have it. Luckily, I keep the name of all the people whose beats I download, so I was able to find the producer’s name online and, fortunately, the beat hadn’t been purchased yet.
So, what made me want to buy the beat in the first place?
When I download beats, I’ll usually have a day when I take each beat and freestyle over it to get ideas for lyrics and songs. This has helped me create many a song, but this one was special in the sense that I changed up how I flowed to it. Rather than do the usual freestyle thing where I’m “sounding like a rapper,” the beat sounded more like a techno-club hit; therefore, I tried to switch up various things in the freestyle, from the level of my voice (whispering to shouting), to the pace at which words were said.
The name of the beat was “Smooth Talker,” and I thought that idea went along well with the type of beat it was. The chorus came to me instantly – “Ooh baby, I’m a smooth talker/That’s right, you know that I want ‘ya,” etc. – and many of the concepts used in that initial freestyle were used in this song.
Okay, so when you listen to the song, it’s clearly a club-type beat, but I didn’t want to make a full-out “club” song in the regular sense. Rappers are infamous for making these types of records, but they always have the same story line (if you can even call it that): they pull up on 22s, they’re out to steal another guy’s chick, they’re the hottest thing in the club, they want the girl to shake it – a 3-year old could write this stuff!
So, being the funny guy that I am, I decided to bastardize it a bit. In the first verse I meet a girl and try to sweet talk her into leaving the club with me, telling her things that I know are straight lies. In the second, I’m whispering to a girl about what I want to do to her in V.I.P.; however, when I ask her what her fantasy is… well, you’ll have to listen, but it’s gross and turns me off! And, in the third verse, I see a chick from across the room, and when I go to holler at her… well, just listen to the song!
Incidentally, this was the very last song I wrote for the album, yet probably the one I had a beat for the longest. And most of it wasn’t “written” – I had the second and third verses made up in my head for the longest time (as well as the first 6 bars of the first verse), but figuring out the last 10 bars of the first verse took some time. Of course, it’s easier for me to write something when I have a set deadline, and by the time the Friday before the album came out got here it was done!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. This was also one of the first songs where I really put my mixing skills to the test. I downloaded a program called “Magix Studios” to put my songs together, and I really wanted this one to stand out. Lots of re-verb and echos, people! The song took dang near 8 hours to get to sounding CLOSE to how I wanted it to sound!
2. The last 4 bars of the second verse… well, let’s just say they were inspired by 2 girls, a cup, and a famous R&B singer…
3. The name of the girl in the 3rd verse – “Rina” – was also the name of my very first girlfriend. I used her name because there’s a line in that verse that’s giving homage to one of Tone Loc’s songs, and “Rina” sounded close to the girl he referenced in “Funky Cold Madina.” Plus, I haven’t spoken to her in God knows how long, so I figured I’d have the right to use the name.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
Even though this was one of the last songs I wrote for the album, I’ve had the idea for the video for almost 3 months now!
I decided to keep it simple: me, filming myself mouthing the words to the song, in different locals. I was also going to have a friend of mine dance to the song, and include those scenes throughout the video… but the friend was a co-worker, and she got fired, and I haven’t heard from her since. So much for reliability!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. The five locations in the video are: a train station escalator; a MARTA train; a light pole outside the train station; a restaurant; and a parking lot.
2. For the escalator shots, I had to film myself going down the escalator, then run up the steps directly next to it and film myself again. In retrospect, I could have gone to a different station – one that had a REAL long escalator – but I think it’s funnier this way!
3. Also, you may notice I have more hair in the escalator shots than in other parts of the video. I was on my way to get a hair cut when I decided to film this video; the remaining shots were taken afterward!
4. The train, the restaurant, and the parking lot are the only places where I filmed more than one take for video consideration. On the train, I filmed 3 times because the first time I filmed, I forgot that the sun was directly behind me, so I had to film it again. Then, I wanted to make sure my head was more in the middle of the frame, so I shot it a third time. In the restaurant, there were occasions where a server would come up to me to say hi, at which point I had to cut the camera off. As for the parking lot, I filmed one other take, and didn’t even use them in the video!!
5. To make things interesting, I decided to add special film properties to the different shooting location shots. For the escalator shots, I used “Film Grain” to make it look like an older film shot; for the train, I used the watercolor application; for the restaurant I just brightened up the shots; and for the parking lot I used the hue spectrum application to cycle through all the colors. The only shots not altered were the ones of me next to the light pole.
6. At the end of the video, you’ll see two servers pop up in the background and start dancing/rapping their butts off. These people I call, “my friends,” and they are hilarious!
7. Edit time for the video: between 5 to 6 hours, split between this morning and later this evening after I got off work. Adding transitions and effects makes the edit time go longer, especially when your computer is as “cooperative” as mine!
That’s all for now! Enjoy the video, and get “The A.P.T. LP!” See ya next week!