The jazz-prog fusionist Esperanza Spalding already has an impressive resume; she beat out Justin Bieber and Drake to win a Best New Artist Grammy in 2011, and she recently became a professor of composition and performance at Harvard. And now she’s about to attempt to pull of another difficult feat: She’s planning on writing and recording an entire album in 77 hours, doing it all on a live stream for the world to watch.
The New York Times reports that Spalding is planning on heading into the studio, with a few trusted musicians but no pre-written songs, on the morning of 9/12. She’s planning giving herself 77 hours to write and record an entire new album called Exposure, and she’s hoping that it’ll include 10 new songs, most of which will have lyrics. The album will be only available in CD and vinyl, not digital, and it’ll be limited to 7,777 copies.
Talking to the Times, Spalding says that this stunt is, among other things, a reaction against her label, which has been pressuring her to grow her audience by making more commercial music and featuring more famous guests: “You’re hard-pressed to find an artist, especially a commercial artist, who’s able to create without the constraints of being able to prove that what you’re making is going to earn ‘us’ money — us being the bank… I somehow convinced the label to pay for this, and I’m eternally grateful for that. And they can’t do anything about what happens, because the record is being made as we do this thing.”
But weirdly enough, Spalding’s not the only one doing this in the weeks ahead. Neil Finn, former frontman of the New Zealand greats Crowded House, is putting together a new album in similar fashion. Every Friday in August, you’ll be able to check his Facebook Live stream watch him playing new and old songs in his Auckland studio with his friends and family. This will all lead up to the 8/25 stream, where he’ll record a whole new solo album live-in-studio. Here’s the video where Finn has announced the webcasts:
And here’s how he describes it on his website:
Every Friday in August at 7 pm NZT, I will be performing on a live stream from my studio in Auckland. The stream will be accessible via Facebook. During these Friday sessions you will be witness to a series of musical happenings featuring friends, family, songwriters and singers playing tunes both old and brand new. Follow the progress of new song arrangements as we build towards the last stream on August 25. This final performance will be the actual recording of my new solo album.
So is this a new frontier? And how exciting can a livestreamed studio session possibly be? I guess we’ll find out.