“Life in the Key of Chee”
Craig Chee’s new record, “Life in the Key of Chee” is out now! Go pick up a copy for yourself: http://www.craigchee.com/
When Craig came to me about producing his new record I was excited, but also a little hesitant because I didn’t have experience working with ukelele music. After working on the initial song, Lips, and talking more in depth with Craig, I knew this was going to be a positive relationship and successful project. Craig described his desire to migrate away from the sound of his previous record, which was a full band collaboration, and move towards something more intimate, and that better showcased his current live performances.
I approached these songs knowing that every decision made was meant to illustrate Craig’s ukelele talent and his songwriting capabilities. An important realization I had while working with Craig was to not treat these songs like “ukelele music,” despite the fact that they are ukelele driven. I used a lot of synths and keys to create ambient layers behind the songs, which I feel built textures to help drive the songs and enhance Craig’s writing. I chose the instrumentation like I would any other rock based genre but I knew it had to give the illusion of sparsity and remain open throughout. This lead to the creation of some unique sounds that I think put Craig’s music into a hybrid of genres spanning from island to pop to rock with even glimpses of Americana.
Craig had a lot of great guest performers on this record to contribute and showcase their talents as well, but the two crucial performers for me were, Milo Fultz on bass and Merlin Showalter on drums. They were integral in shaping these songs and helping us lay a solid foundation to build off of. Besides being fantastic players, Milo and Merlin have the capacity to understand the emotive elements within a song and translate that into their performance. To put it simply, they know when and when not to play and those are the best traits you can find in musicians, as far as I’m concerned.
Thank you to Craig and to all the performers who contributed their talent to make this record a meaningful experience for me and hopefully a successful, well-received, and worthwhile venture for Craig Chee.