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New technology saves recording studio fees

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image The first full CD by Mark Allen O’Shaughnessy has been finished. Penny Fletcher Photo

Mark OShaughnessy knew he didn’t have the $50,000 or more it would take to make a CD of his music in a recording studio.


RIVERVIEW — Mark OShaughnessy knew he didn’t have the $50,000 or more it would take to make a CD of his music in a recording studio.

After all, when you rent studio time, you have to have (or rent) everything else; including other instrumentalists and vocalists if you need them for your sound.

But the life-long musician who plays benefits, block parties and regularly at the River of Life Church in Tampa where he has also worked with youth, decided he wanted to make his own CD anyway.

It involved learning computer programs and new technology as well as writing all 12 songs on the CD, OShaughnessy, Life and Death.

OShaughnessy – who does not use the traditional Irish apostrophe after the O in his name – and his wife Tanya have lived in a quiet Summerfield neighborhood of Riverview since having their home built to their specifications in 2005.

He came to the United States in 1991 from Regina, Saskatchewan, and now he and Tanya, a school teacher, have two little boys.

Although neither of his parents played instruments, they insisted that both Mark and his sister learn organ. He didn’t like it. His sister did, and played for many years.

But he discovered from that early experience he may not have learned until much later in life: not only did he like music, he had an ear for it.

“I play some from music and some by ear,” he told me in an interview the week his CD was finished.

What fascinated me about it was his determination.

He worked to make the CD entirely on his own, with no help from other musicians, vocalists or recording experts.

“It took about three years from start to finish,” he told me. “The CD has both religious and secular (non religious) music.”

In order to get it to sound like there are many instruments and vocalists, he had to run about 24 tracks. That meant he started with his basic vocal, reran the track while playing each instrument, then did his own harmonies; in unison in octaves higher and lower than the original track.

“I probably ran through it 20 to 24 times,” he said.

Each time he would use a new instrument he would have to reset the computer programs and sound equipment to accommodate it and make sure the music stayed in just the right spot.

Some of the instruments he played during the takes are keyboard, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, straight guitar, and bass.

Then he would do the vocals to make it sound like a choir. But it’s all a one-man job.

“I estimate from the time it took, and everything that was involved, that it would have cost about $50,000 in a studio to make. I put in about $5,000,” he said.

Until recently technology was not advanced enough for anyone to do such a thing.

During the process he also used his photography skills and made the cover completely by himself.

He took photographs and then worked with them in Photoshop and Illustrator.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished with those programs with a camera that  costs just a couple of hundred dollars,” he said. “You can do just about anything with photographs on the computer now, even age them if you like.”

For now he will continue booking block parties, festivals and private affairs around town but will also be selling his new CD on Amazon and iTunes as well as his own Web site, www.markallensongs.com.

To find out more or to book him for an event or festival, call him at 813- 347-1116.


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