“Close To You” - ProSoundNetwork.com

“Close To You”

Currently celebrating her 45th year as a vocal superstar, Dionne Warwick has no dearth of hit singles.
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ENGINEER'S DIARY

Single SliceSingle: “Close To You”

Album: My Friends & Me (Concord Music Group)

Recording date: Summer 2005 at the Beach House in Marina del Rey, California and Mya's private studio in Washington, DC

Single Producer: Damon Elliott

Single Engineers: Damon Elliott and Ariel “A Train” Levine

Single Mixers: Ariel Chobaz and Dave Pensado

Mastering: Brian “Big Bass” Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles

Other Projects: Elliott has worked with superstars including Pink, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Kelis, Jessica Simpson, and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, among others.

Single Songwriters: Burt Bacharach and Hal David

Recording console/controller: Digidesign ICON

Recorder: Digidesign Pro Tools|HD3

Monitors: TAG/Augsperger custom mains, Yamaha NS-10

Microphones: Neumann U 67, Neumann U 87, and AKG C12

Microphone Preamps: Neve 1073, Avalon VT-737SP tube preamp

Vocal chain (Warwick): Neumann U 67 and Avalon 737 straight to PT with a Waves L1 Ultramaximizer
Currently celebrating her 45th year as a vocal superstar, Dionne Warwick has no dearth of hit singles. Proof is her latest album entitled My Friends & Me, a re-recorded collection of original number one hits by Dionne (mostly penned by the powerhouse songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David), but, this time, appearing as duets with both old and new vocal acquaintances alike. The collection, produced and engineered by the musically prolific Damon Elliott, is notable, not only for its grand scope, bevy of comprising vocal talent, and balanced blend of both old and new tonalities, but for its being an R&B royal family affair (Dionne is Damon's mom).

How was it to produce both mom and one of golden voices of pop? “Challenging,” states Damon while explaining the challenges were the fun, invigorating kind. “It was all about dealing with major, super, humongous hit records that the whole world has heard a few hundred times in a few hundred different ways,” he qualifies. “So it was my goal to flip the songs — to update them — while keeping the integrity of the originals.”

In blending the voices of Warwick and young R&B songbird Mya on the first single, “Close To You,” Elliott found the two vocal styles to mesh even better than he had originally envisioned. “My mom has such a thick tone and voice, she doesn't require anything effects-wise,” tells Elliott. “With Mya, I wanted it to sound like Mya, but a bit more of a 'grown-up' Mya. Because I know both voices and their patterns, I knew how it would work — and it worked even better than that!”

A busy Mya tracked her vocals at her own private DC-area facility, which were then combined by Elliott with the lush soulfulness of Dionne, captured with a chain comprised of a Neumann U 67, Avalon VT-737SP, and a Waves L1 limiter within PT|HD. “She would have her parts done in 15 minutes — with backgrounds and harmonies — and I never flew any vocals,” tells Elliott with an equal blend of awe and family pride. “Every time the hook comes around, it's a new hook. It's easy to fly hooks in Pro Tools, yet she wanted to sing it every time.”