Starting the 14th week of production sessions with a different streaming schedule, Mike Shinoda returned on Tuesday, April 27, to begin producing a brand new track. The song, titled “Lithium,” is by a vocalist named Lenny, who Shinoda knew previous to the #ShinodaProduceMe project. While on the Post Traumatic European tour in 2019, Lenny made a guest appearance to perform the song “Make It Up As I Go” with Shinoda during his Prague show.
“Lithium” first took shape in 2017 on piano, and despite being pre-produced, Shinoda decided to make an exception and produce it further as it was still unfinished. After listening to this initial track, Shinoda stated that he did not see any structural changes that needed to be made, and that the lyrics, vocal, and melody sounded excellent. He did, however, add reverb and effects to Lenny’s vocal, as well as edit the vocoder already present over the chorus vocals as it wasn’t correcting the pitch properly, using his MIDI keyboard to over write the notes. Shinoda then focused on adding more energy to the track, pulling up a clip of The Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go” for Lenny and viewers to hear the kind of sound he saw for the track, specifically the clap sounds he thought would bring the track together.
“It’s so much more energy. It went from being ‘I’m so sad’ to ‘Oh, okay,’ it’s got a lot of groove … It still sounds meaningful, which is kind of the point. It still has to sound like it’s retaining the emotion of the original, but you’re not like crying on the dance floor.”
Shinoda next looked for drums to help fill the track, wanting a drum selection with a Motown feel. He used his MIDI to create a vintage sounding drum track to copy and paste to the length of the song. Next, he added live tambourine and experimented with different 808 sounds before deciding to do bass instead for the low end of the track. Lastly, Shinoda took Lenny’s original cello track and re-recorded it as he thought it initially sounded too synthetic, commenting that he wanted to work on it further on Friday, April 30.
Lenka Filipová, professionally known as Lenny, is a singer and songwriter who is well known in her home country of the Czech Republic. Having written her first song at age four, Lenny began performing live by age 16 before studying at the Modern Music Institute in London, UK. Her first single, “Hell.o,” was named Song of the Year in the Czech Republic, and her debut album, Hearts, quickly took to the top of the charts for its mixture of rock, pop, and soulful ballads, which were a pure expression of her vision and talent. Lenny has also won six Andel Awards, which is the Czech equivalent of the Grammy’s, and has performed live with multiple well-known artists such as Imagine Dragons, Emeli Sandé, and Mike Shinoda. Lenny also released her second album in 2020, Weird&Wonderful, which is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer, with music videos and live sessions available on her YouTube channel.
If you weren’t able to see Lenny’s track “Lithium” be produced live by Mike Shinoda, you can still watch the Twitch replay below! Make sure to check out Lenny’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 production live streams!