Thank you to everyone for leaving us great reviews year upon year.
Awesome day again! Always made to feel at ease and the end result is fantastic.
Enjoyed my experience. This is my 2nd time here and would return again and again. Always made to feel comfortable and have some great chats.
Absolutely fantastic experience. Paul put Jessica and I at ease. Can't wait to come back again.
Great Session! Welcoming and very professional. Made to feel at ease the minute I walked in. Took the time to make sure all tracks were too a high standard. Will definitely be back!
Absolutely amazing party experience. The girls had a fantastic time and loved having a CD at the end. The adults loved watching how the song was all put together. Would thoroughly recommend.
AMAZING! We threw some curve balls but Paul went out of his way to accommodate us. My daughter had 'the best birthday party ever!' Great afternoon. We would highly recommend this. Thank you.
This was a very unique and amazing experience. I really enjoyed the professional set-up, and how I could see how the tech works.
Can work miracles, very skilled and friendly. Highly recommend.
I had a great time recording with Paul. I felt very comfortable and I'm really pleased with the outcome. Thank you so much!
Amazing experience, made to feel very relaxed and Paul made it a special moment. Very very good. Recommend everyone to give it a go ***** 5 STAR!
'Very fun and interesting. I learned a lot from the experience'. Incredibly professional, with great vocal coaching too! We didn't expect to learn so much, and it felt really relaxed.
Very helpful and friendly. Had an amazing time.
'Best birthday present ever' (Flossie) A thoroughly entertaining experience. A superb set up, very professional, with very impressive equipment. Paul's experience & knowledge show through. Hugely enjoyable! Thank you
Amazing!! Would recommend to anyone! Nice relaxed environment, perfect for first timer singers. Loved every minute 🙂
Had lots of fun recording and playing around with the tracks. So happy with the results! Would highly recommend to everyone
Very good experience, very welcoming and makes you feel comfortable.
Friendly and welcoming on arrival. Had great fun, would love to do again sometime. Thank you 🙂
Had an absolute blast and felt so welcome, would highly recommend and hope to come back at some point.
Absolutely outstanding. It's taken me 20 years to sing 'Memory' & Paul helped me so much. Will be back next year!
Very cool! We had so much fun and have a great memory to keep forever. We will be back. Cool Autotune 😉
Do you really need a voice to cut your own CD? Yes, Helen Lederer discovers, but not necessarily a good one.
Well, I’ve done it in the bath, with a hairbrush and in the car - but I haven't done it in public - and call me a prude, but I haven‘t done it in front of two strangers either. I mention this in order to explain the slightly raised blood pressure I felt when stepping out on to a sweet little Kent station to be met by Paul - a singing maestro who was going to make my school girl fantasy come true. He was going to get me to sing a song, record it and send me home with a personal CD. Calm, moi?
Although Paul reassured me that all sorts come to sing their own CDs with him: “Grandparents, teens, five-year-olds." I noticed he hadn't included the tone deaf, the shy or singer-phobic, which was worrying. You see, I was avoiding something that, sooner or later, we were all going to have to confront. In spite of my closet hope (now firmly out of the bag) that I, too, could sound like Dido, Madonna and Celine rolled into one, could I actually do it?
My biggest fear was that when I opened my mouth, I'd either be mute or sound like a baby starling or parrot. After all, I'd been chucked out of the school choir and I only sing in church if I’m next to a loud person, or in a group situation if drunk. But at least I was prepared. When I first spoke to Paul on the phone, he suggested I peruse some 2,700 titles on his website or even come up with one of my own, “to practice”. He would make sure I‘d be sent the lyrics beforehand. In the event, I chose Yesterday by Paul (the other one) because I felt it would be easier to tackle than Nessun Dorma and more engaging than Needles & Pins.
We drew up outside a pretty house set in a fantastic valley with great views and various buildings dotted about. John (my second maestro/singer/teacher) was waiting for us with a twinkle in his eye, a smile and a cup of coffee. So far, so very good. Next, I was standing in a warm, wood-panelled studio with a microphone stand, a music holder thing and OMIGOD - earphones! Once those were on, I knew there would be no going back.
John suggested breathing out to empty my lungs in order to fill up nicely. I felt like a pair of fireside bellows - all very cosy and at home and not at all self-conscious. In fact, it was only when I heard those famous guitar chords spilling into my cans that the panic set in. I was to sing the words to Yesterday over Paul McCartney’s guitar backing. It felt ghostly and awe-inspiring at the same time.
I tried to get a grip and adopt a “Kylie-Minogue-being-filmed-for-comic-relief,” type of stance, but I wasn’t very convincing. Suddenly, I heard Paul’s cheery voice in my cans say “Here we go, after four bars…”
I struck out into my first yodel of Yesterday. This was fine. but then I got ﬁxated about whether I should go up or down on the words “far away,” which were still in the first line.
This took some sorting out. Then it got better, especially when the power of the famous music took over. In fact, there were bits of the song that really made the whiskers stand up on the back of my neck and beyond.
After several “takes,” I went into Paul's section to recover and watch him twiddle knobs. This was where he was going to make the song sound less like a hamster solo and more like, well, a CD.
When I first heard myself back. I did the decent thing - I screamed. "I sound like I'm 10!" John agreed that singing was like releasing the inner child. Trouble was, I wasn't sure I was ready to share mine with the rest of the world, so I said, “Can‘t you do something to alter it, Paul?” Paul replied. “I have already." Luckily, he had a sense of humour and resumed knob twiddling until my inner child sounded less Brownie pack and more womanly.
Meanwhile, John was strumming his guitar to a tune I'd become inspired to tell him about. It felt glorious. Here I was strumming, humming and jamming with real musicians! But finally, I had to tear myself away, clutching my CD, as well as one of John's band, The Varlies.
My family were amazed that it sounded so “real”. Their reactions were wide-eyed and open-mouthed in the main with only a tiny amount of laughing. In fact, I‘ve taken to keeping it in my handbag in case anyone has a portable. And, I have to say, that while I've grown fond of The Varlies - I've grown even fonder of the sound of my own voice.
If you’d like to record your own CD, call Paul Midcalf at Recording Experience Gifts on 0800 567 7197, or visit www.recording.gifts. Sessions cost between £99 and £529. W&H
Re-produced with kind permission from Anouschka Meredith, features editor.
Visit Helen Lederer's website