Heat Wave: Autumn’s Sweet Release

Sophia Shen

Word’s out: the heat wave has ended! Summer is over, and the looming start of school prompted me to haul ass and finish my song. With this post, I’m dropping my final mix of Heat Wave, available on Soundcloud under the Sunset Media Wave account. In an undisclosed amount of time, I will release it through Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and a few other similar platforms. I’m so incredibly elated that this exciting, yet exhausting, process has come to a close and yielded such a beautiful product. I’ve truly outdone myself this time, and I hope you’ll agree with me when you hear my song:

Chloe caught this shot of me editing furiously last week

So much went into Heat Wave, and I want to recognize some of the people who made it happen.

  1. The true OG’s: Jon and Michael (editors) from Sunset Media Wave

Where would I be without you guys? Jon and Michael have shown me unconditional support throughout this summer and my past cycles at the Wave, and especially this time, their help carried me so much further than I could have gone alone. They are absolute masterminds of editing, probably due to the fact that they’re musicians themselves. They helped me with everything from chord transitions, navigating the wiles of recording, and, shall we say, accentuating the richness of my vocals and instrumental tracks. I really couldn’t have done it without both of these quality dudes. Thank you so much! 

  1. Chloe Rimer: my right hand man

Chloe is the one who truly got me started in music-making. Hearing the songs she and Caitie produced at The Wave encouraged me to believe in myself and dive into songwriting this summer. She’s also been super patient and helpful in reassuring me that my song was gonna turn out okay, because there were many times in which I doubted myself. She’s an amazing friend and an excellent musician. Thank you Chloe!

   3. Elma Chuang: cello virtuoso

Elma is one of my friends from school who just so happens to be crazy talented on cello. I invited her to guest on the intro and outro of my song and she graciously accepted. She stuck around for like two hours recording for approximately 30 seconds of the actual song. I am so grateful for her contribution. Thank you Elma!

  4. Eli Ganz: aka Paul McCartney Jr.

Like Elma, I met Eli at Lowell, and have since discovered that he’s a superb guitarist. He helped me pick up guitar in the first few weeks of summer when no one else could get me started, which ended up being quintessential to my writing process (as the song is played almost entirely on guitar). He also helped me write and record the bass part for Heat Wave. He’s been a major driving force in my songwriting enterprise, and his love for music and guitar inspires me every day to keep playing and keep writing. Thanks Eli!

  1. Me, Myself and I: who else could have concocted such a masterpiece?

So I lied in my last post. I ended up playing the guitar parts and most of the bass part for Heat Wave, despite my lack of experience. It was really hard and I did a ton of takes of each instrument, but now I can proudly say that my song almost completely self-generated. I never give myself the credit I deserve, and this time I want to break that streak. I truly worked my ass off for this song, and the result you get to hear is a product of my blood, sweat and tears. Heat Wave came to me in a fever dream-vision, and though I could pass it off and attribute it to the songs I heard in the weeks leading up to its initial composition, or help from other people, I ultimately made my song what it is today. Go Sophia! 

This is me hunched over a piano that’s balanced on two chairs in the early weeks of the cycle. We weren’t quite set up for music making just yet.

I’ve learned quite a bit about the music industry this cycle. If I told you everything I know now that used to be a complete mystery to me, it would take multiple posts, so for now at least I’ll leave it at this: Songwriting isn’t easy, and you never end up with exactly what you wanted or expected initially. However, what you may lose from your original idea, you earn back in experience and ingenuity. I learned to stick it out and get the job done, even though it took two months this summer. That patience and confidence is so new to me, and those skills are gonna help me a lot in future musical (and nonmusical) endeavors. As for ingenuity, some happy accidents and random suggestions led to some beautiful nuances within Heat Wave. Jon recommended distortion in the chorus, for example, which led to an awesome indie rocker vibe that I didn’t think of before. There are some things I might have changed about Heat Wave if I were to produce it all over again (which I won’t, don’t worry), but I am really happy with the product I got. Heat Wave is perfectly imperfect, and that’s good enough for me.

My friend and former fellow Waver, Jade Ichimura, drew this visual representation for me when I played Heat Wave for her. Thanks Jade!

Please let me know what you think of the song! You can leave a comment below or check out my Instagram (@sophia.shenster) and contact me through there. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: happy jamming!