We put our voices – and the recording studio’s teambuilding offering – to the test
Not many people can say they’ve recorded a song at Abbey Road Studios, in the very same space in which The Beatles recorded 190 of their own tracks (especially when you’re as tone deaf as I am). And yet, I have the CD to prove it.
By what good fortune did this come about, you ask? On top of producing landmark recordings by Liverpool’s greatest export, as well as Pink Floyd, Oasis and Adele, the west London studios are also available for events. My colleague Jenna and I arrived for a preview evening in January with 60 other guests, and little idea of what we’d actually be doing.
Proceedings began with cocktails and canapés from Tonic Food as we roamed around Studio 2, checking out some of the instruments and technology on display. The space has original wooden parquet flooring (specifically designed with acoustics in mind), red leather chairs and is where Paul, Ringo, John and George recorded ‘Twist & Shout’ in one take. I’ve never seen Jenna, a big Beatles fan, so excited. ‘You can feel the history. Think of the people that have stood here,’ she beamed.
Vocal coach Iain Mackenzie was the man tasked with getting us to produce our own rendition of ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’. His friendly, confident manner made us feel at ease about singing loudly in a room full of strangers – or was that the two old fashioneds we had just before taking our seats?
A few warm ups down, it was time to put our headphones on, pick up our lyrics sheets, and start singing for real. The chorus was up first, and then it was on to the trickier parts. Along with MacKenzie, recording engineer Paul Pritchard was up in the sound booth mixing and layering our voices as we went.
Sometimes we sang as one giant group; sometimes we split up our voices by gender. As someone who has never been a confident singer, I didn’t anticipate enjoying the experience so much. With at least 25 of us singing out loud at once, there was no need to worry about hitting the wrong note.
After hearing the final cut of our song, the vibe in the room lifted and mingling was suddenly much easier. I mean, we’d just recorded a song together in one of the world’s most well-known studios! Now turn up the volume, press play below, and please, don’t be too harsh on us.
Guests got an actual CD to take home rather than just being emailed the file. We like the idea of having a physical reminder of the event.