After taking Monday off from Twitch, Mike Shinoda returned on Tuesday to produce a brand new track! The first song to be produced this week was titled “Blessing” by Gabriela Gonçalves, who has been a long-time member of Shinoda’s very own Twitch community. Having little experience with recording music, Gonçalves took the chance to submit her own track for the #ShinodaProduceMe project, and her hard work paid off, as Shinoda selected her song to produce live. As usual, Shinoda began production by playing the original submission, which in this case consisted of vocal and guitar tracks, all performed by Gonçalves herself.
“Keep in mind, she doesn’t have any experience recording … she just recorded it without a click [track] or without a grid … so I put it on the grid … and I put a little tuning on the vocal; other than that I didn’t touch it.”
While listening to the track, Shinoda made a point to draw attention to the guitar solo toward the middle of the song. He stated that it wasn’t originally in the song, but Gonçalves included one at Shinoda’s request. Thinking about how to produce the track, Shinoda had to figure out the right energy and style for the song, which at that point only had vocals and acoustic guitar. Looking at the chat, Shinoda saw multiple people commenting on the different styles they heard listening to Gonçalves track, the common theme being some sort of throwback alternative pop. Despite Shinoda not hearing this in the song, he still thought it interesting that so many viewers did and agreed that the track could possibly sound lo-fi.
“[Earlier] I said I put it on the grid. I found the medium tempo, like the tempo it was kinda around which was 78 and then I grabbed every so often – basically what you do is you grab all the parts, all the tracks, and then you can like move things on and off the grid. So I just grabbed every like bar, or measure or so and I put it on the grid.”
The first thing Shinoda did on the live stream was address the structure of the song. Looking at Gonçalves’s original guitar track, Shinoda wondered if the chords in the solo were the same chords present in the chorus. With help from the chat, Gonçalves was able to confirm that they were, which helped Shinoda organize the song as he rearranged different parts and pieces. He also contemplated making the post-chorus twice as long and using it as a bridge after the guitar solo, ending the song with the chorus.
While never having done a song before that has a bridge before a solo and then returns to the bridge, Shinoda found it interestingly fresh. He did, however, cut out some pieces he felt were unnecessary to the song as a whole, such as the post-chorus after verse two in order to have the track go straight from the second chorus into the guitar solo. He also created a drum track with a few different samples, which he then put a tape machine plugin over, cut off all the high end, and put on a compressor. After getting the structure of the song down, Shinoda then started to fill out the rest of the song, adding in different instruments such as bass, shakers, dominoes, and tambourine.
Gabriela Gonçalves is a singer and guitar player from Brazil. Her biography on Instagram also lists that she is a composer and instrumentalist who also has a career in architecture and urban planning. While there is not a lot of informationavailable about her, Gonçalves does frequently post videos on both Instagram and Twitter of herself singing and playing the guitar, mostly when performing cover songs such as “Snow” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars. She also has a Youtube channel with a handful of cover videos, which was last updated with her original submission of “Blessing” for #ShinodaProduceMe.
If you weren’t able to see Gabriela Gonçalves’s “Blessing” be produced live by Mike Shinoda, you can still watch the Twitch replay of the first day of production below! Make sure to check out both Gonçalves’s music, as well as Shinoda’s previous production sessions. Stay tuned to Shinoda’s Twitch channel weekdays around 10 a.m. PT for more production live streams!