(click thumbnail)"Walk Away" Kelly ClarksonSingle: "Walk Away"
Album: Breakaway (RCA)
Dates Recorded: Recorded in Fall 2004 at King Noise, Malibu CA, NRG Recording, North Hollywood CA, and Henson Recording, Hollywood CA
Single Producers: Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk, and Kara Dioguardi
Single Engineers: Brian Garcia, Cameron Webb, and Raine Maida
Assistant Engineers: Mark Kiczula (NRG) and Jon Berkowitz (Henson)
Single Mixer: Serban Ghenea
Mastering: Joe Yannece at the Hit Factory Mastering Studios NYC
Other Projects: Raine Maida is the vocalist and founding member of multiplatinum rock act Our Lady Peace. He has worked written, produced, and engineered projects with a variety of other artists including Avril Lavigne, The Veronicas, and vocalist/spouse/production partner Chantal Kreviazuk.
Single Songwriters: Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida, Kara Dioguardi, and Kelly Clarkson
Console: API 16 X 4 analog console
Recorder: Pro Tools|HD
Monitors: Dynaudio Acoustics BM6
Vocal Microphone: Korby Audio Technologies "The Convertible" microphone system
Vocal Preamplifier: Neve 1081
Vocal Processing Chain: Pultec EQP-1 equalizer, Teletronix LA-2A leveling amplifier "Walk Away" - the fifth single from superstar vocalist Kelly Clarkson's Grammy-gleaning album Breakaway - began not as a tight pop nugget but a big-roomed, rafter-rocking barnburner. A respected recording artist himself, co-producer, co-writer, and co-engineer Raine Maida originally recorded "Walk Away" with slightly more aggressive instrumentation, most notably in the sound of the drum tracks.
"My background is rock," clarifies Maida. "My band Our Lady Peace's last two records were done with Bob Rock, you know? So the drums that I did originally were a little more rock. There was already programming, but with the drums I really went for it. It was much more Bonham-style in a very big room. But Stephen Ferrera - an amazing A&R guy who I love - felt that it was just a bit too bombastic for the song, and he was looking at the album as a whole, saying, 'We don't have anything else this slamming.' So I went back in to redo drums with Cameron (Webb, engineer). Brian (Garcia, engineer) did the first session. I engineered everything else on the record, so that was cool."
The majority of the work was done at Maida's private Malibu recording facility called King Noise, which is also where Clarkson's deftly performed vocal tracks were captured through a simple vocal chain. "It was a Pultec, an LA-2A, and a 1081," Maida offers. "I just used a little bit of compression on the LA-2A. With most singers you have to use more, but Kelly compresses herself. She's phenomenal. This is a slamming song vocally, and I usually would use an 1176 just to catch things quicker, but the LA-2A was fine and warmed things up a bit, too."
According to Maida, the secret weapon of the vocal session was his favorite transducer of the moment, "The Convertible" microphone system by Korby Audio Technologies, featuring four hot-swappable classically "cloned" capsules. "It comes with copies of a 251, a U47, a C12, and U67," he explains enthusiastically. "The 251 clone is really amazing, and it sounded great on Kelly. She has a throaty, soulful voice and the top end of the Korby's 251 is nice, smooth, and silky. It made the vocal stand out."