Beth Karp shares the journey behind her debut album “Beautiful Surrender”

Beth Karp got in touch to share the story behind her new album and it was such a good read that we decided to share it in full. So many times we just see the final product whether it be a single, EP or album, without having a clue of the blood, sweat and tears that sometimes go into creating it. Here’s Beth, in her own words:

“Beautiful Surrender” is my debut album, but it is very late – I thought I should share a behind the making of the album with you all. I have much heartache over this album, having started on a high in 2018 with the filming of the promo and title track ‘Beautiful Surrender’, it all seemed to become an uphill struggle after.

I was astonished by the support of people through my crowdfunding page that paid for the recording process and initial producers’ time. I spent so long preparing planning learning new skills to be ready for the task but then I had a throat cancer scare just before we started recording in 2019.

Thankfully it wasn’t cancer but I found out I had damaged vocal chords which meant I lost my voice every time I sang, you can imagine that the recording process was challenging with this, we would literally pray on the way to the recording location and before each vocal take, sometimes between, singing hurt. Then when I got home I would have to try to stay quiet before rehearsing ready for the next day of recording. I had some vocal therapy. I had damage to the muscles in my throat with one side overcompensating. There were a mixture of factors that made it worse including any raising of my voice (I have four children so this was an entertaining problem). Damage to my throat from previous physical traumas (my abusive ex-husband liked to ‘hold’ me by my throat) and ongoing problems with allergies and reactions that tighten my throat. All of these made the process of recording exhausting and distressing.

Next up was the ever-extending finish date. The album was meant to be out in Aug / Sept 2019, then a bit later, then the goalposts just kept moving. When it came to 2020 so many things had happened that were delaying the project further and I wasn’t entirely happy with what the outcome of completed tracks were so I took back the whole album and started again from scratch. However, every time I opened a track to mix it, I was so overwhelmed by the whole album and all that needed doing I would sit and cry then jot down some notes in my pad about each track and save any small edits I had made to completely bare recordings.

2020 was so much different to what we all expected and my music felt like it had evolved so much since I wrote and then originally recorded the album that it was easier for me to focus on writing and releasing what I wanted last year. I thoroughly enjoyed all the music I produced last year I could feel myself growing through the process. But the album nagged away at me, sat in its folder neatly on my mac, but still each time I opened it to mix, I just felt so disappointed and helpless that I would close it again.

Until I decided that was enough, with the new year, 2021 came a sudden burst of vigour so I worked tirelessly day and night to mix each track. I had to retake some of the vocals due to initial input levels and some problems with overall sound levels back from 2019, so I started the whole recording process with one whole track and re-recorded vocals for some others, and then added small details here and there, the odd new instrument.

Lockdown and zero funds meant I had to use synthetic strings instead of quartets as originally hoped and I spent hours were playing these parts and making them build and swell where I wanted etc. There was initially going to be 13 tracks on this album but one got pulled off because I felt it wasn’t for now, it didn’t quite fit right so that song will be re-recorded and released at a later date. My husband Josiah played many of the instruments on the album for which I am exceedingly grateful, he’s almost cheaper than paying for outside session musicians – he is an exceptional musician and great at interpreting my instructions, hopes, ideas and hummed sections or poor drum sounds in order to help me get the overall style and sound etc. He is also beyond exceptional in his own creative right, which has been fun exploring with him in 2020 and this year on new and forthcoming tracks.

So here it is – I produced and mixed every component, sorted masters and designed all the artwork for the album and I wish I could say I feel a sense of pride. I do in terms of finishing what I started but the album feels late, it also sounds late, it sounds like where I was two years ago. It doesn’t feel like a representation of what I can do now and that is the difficulty factor for me in this release.

It sits uncomfortably as a side step backwards. It is a past reflection on my abilities rather than where I am at now. It is funny how we in ourselves grow and evolve in our crafts, our callings, our passions. The songs however, still mean a lot to me, still speak through me. The words still hold truth and power. The vulnerability is still real. It is all still true. So I am thankful and perhaps I will feel a sense of pride for it soon. I pray it travels well, lands well and sits well with all who take the time to hear it.

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