Coming back after a short break, Mike Shinoda eased back into the #ShinodaProduceMe project during his second stream after a two week absence of new content. Having wrapped up the last track, “Teary Eyed” by Emma McGann, Shinoda started production on a new song titled “Clarity” by Hadi, a singer-songwriter and fellow Twitch streamer, one that has previously been featured on Shinoda’s Twitch channel before.
“Hadi sent this track … right in the beginning of #ShinodaProduceMe, early in the year. He was very patient, I put everything in a queue and we’ve arrived at Hadi’s track. I think I wanted to get a bit of a sense of doing a bunch [of production sessions] first before we jumped into Hadi’s, and I actually had him reapproach the vocals a bit…”
Starting off the stream in the usual way, Shinoda played the Hadi’s track “Clarity” so viewers could hear it in its original form. Then deviating a bit from the typical process, Shinoda asked Hadi if he had any ideas of where he wanted to take the song. Hadi messaged him with a few thoughts, including that the sounds could be anything from electronic to acoustic wrapped around the piano in the original track with a build up to the bridge.
Shinoda began production with adding two tracks of drums, including a live snare and changing high hats in the choruses. He then focused on trying to add more energy into the track, playing around with a few different beats and acoustic guitar. Then following a brief Facetime call with fellow artist K. Flay, who briefly stopped in to watch Shinoda’s stream having recently joined Twitch, Shinoda finalized the drums before adding a small tambourine/synth sound. He then fine tuned the acoustic guitar track, which gave it a little more energy, which Shinoda was worried was lacking in the original. Next, he recorded a synth, which he thought sounded similar to an 808, deleted the high hat from earlier, and added a few other unique sounds to emphasize specific points in the song. Lastly, Shinoda layered a second guitar track over the first and recorded live bass. Wrapping up the first day of production, Shinoda then returned to finish the track the next day, first going over a few edits he did between streams.
“I chopped the intro … post bridge into the chorus and outro I edited … I set up after the third chorus I set up a little instrumental section … Also going to mess with the vocals and with the piano. Hadi sent me a new track of piano because he thought it [the original piano] basically repeats for 75 percent of the song. He thought there was a resonance to this that was a little bit annoying … didn’t have a lot of dynamics.”
The new piano track was similar to the original, with the main difference being that it was an octave higher. Speaking on how to use the new piano track, Shinoda believed it might be a challenge to incorporate into the song, for a few reasons. The main reason was that all the production done the day before was heavily based on Hadi’s vocals and original piano track. It was also because Shinoda didn’t connect with the feeling of the new piano track as much, and also because Hadi inverted the second half of the piano track, meaning it had a big structural change as well when compared to the original.
“All these little things, I’ve talked to you guys before about when you’re making incremental changes. Some people would be like ‘we’re replacing the piano with piano, not a big change’. To me, this is a pretty big change because that piano that was in there was going the whole time and it filled a specific register. I feel like I built the rest of the track around the register of that old piano, and the new one is a completely different shape.”
Shinoda experimented with multiple ways to shape the piano, including adding effects to Hadi’s original track and changing the notes of the MIDI track itself. When he was not satisfied with the results of these two approaches, Shinoda decided to rerecord the original piano from scratch, as well as the new, higher piano to emphasize specific parts of the song, such as the bridge. After getting the piano to a good place, Shinoda then turned his attention to Hadi’s vocal, adding the warp effect to a few notes to layer into the background, before recording one more guitar part to finish off the track.
Hadi, also known as hadiplaysmusic on Twitch, is a singer and songwriter originally from Lebanon, and currently based in Dubai. He is signed with Universal Music with a unique sound blending pop and indie. He released his first single titled “Invincible” in 2018 and since then, his music has been featured on the radio in both the U.S. and the Middle East and has charted internationally. In 2019, Hadi opened for three for well-known artists — Bastille, James Arthur, and Tom Odell — all in a single year. He has also released more original music, including a six track EP titled Chapter l in 2020, along with a multitude of singles, such as “No Other” in 2019 and “Pressure” in 2020, which is his most recent release. Hadi’s goal is to release a new song about every six weeks, and he streams every week on his Twitch channel, performing his original music and cover songs live, which can also be found on multiple streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, or his YouTube channel.
If you weren’t able to see Hadi’s “Clarity” be produced live by Mike Shinoda, you can still watch the Twitch replay below! Make sure to check out Hadi’s music, as well as Shinoda’s previous production sessions. And stay tuned to Shinoda’s Twitch channel weekdays around 10 a.m. PT for more productions live streams!
Also, a few reminders about a few other #ShinodaProduceMe tracks! “Known Like This” by Ben Kessler is set for release on Thursday, April 8, “Just A Dream” by Bella Goldwin is set for release on Friday, April 30, and “Enough” by Kintsuku is set to drop on April 16 (pre-save here) with an official music video on the way! Also, “Not Your Game” by Megan Lenius has already been released as of March 26 and is available to stream here!