Video games are big business. As a kid I was a master of quite a few video games. Then I got into music and never thought of combining my musical skills with the creation of video games. Not until a friend of mine, Robert Navarro, put it in my head that I should find an agent get into it.
Robert was busy courting a major agency that represented more well known video game composers. He finally got someone’s ear and landed a spot with the biggest of the big. Being the super helpful dude that he is, he offered to have me meet an agent that was courting him from a much smaller agency. Her’s.
She wasn’t actively looking beyond Robert, but decided to take a chance on me and took me in. It’s one of those moments in a musician’s career that makes you feel real good. To have someone who’s supposed to actively find you work is a wonderful concept. One that was foreign to me.
One of the first gigs she gets me is as a singer for a video game. Not exactly the composing type thing I was looking for, but the pay was good and it was a moment when I got asked to do it, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The job entailed singing 7 songs on the soundtrack, several with me as the only vocalist and a few that I was to duet with a female singer. She introduced me to the composer of the songs who sent me the demos which included the melodies and lyrics I needed to learn.
Always do your homework before going into the studio. That’s a lesson I can’t stress enough to green musicians. I’m a master of doing my homework for gigs. The music was fun stuff for the game. The melodies were all within my vocal range, but some of the lyrics were a bit out there in left field. Some didn’t make any sense. The reason? They were translated from Japanese.
The fortunate thing is that the composer Norihiko Hibino was more than happy to have me help give some lyrical help so that it wouldn’t be complete nonsense in English but still remain close to their original Japanese meaning.
I got to the session a few minutes early and they shuffled me into the vocal booth. The plan was to record the four songs that I would sing solo, then duet the other 3 with Aubrey Ashburn when she got there. What transpired was a little different.
Because I had done my homework, I sang all the songs including triple tracking all my vocals in various styles in substantially less time than they had allotted to get it done. So we decided to track all my parts for the duets as well. We got all those done before it was time for Aubrey to be there.
The studio engineer at one point joked and wondered out loud where was I 6 months prior when he was tracking a singer singing soundtrack stuff for a Sylvester Stallone movie. I thought about it for a second mentally going over where the studio was in relation to my house and replied, about a mile that way [as I pointed in the direction of where my house was from his studio].
I didn’t really think much about the game afterwards. I never actually got a chance to play it. There are videos of gameplay online. Which is as close as I’ve gotten to playing it. Though I did get a copy of the soundtrack that still sits in shrink wrap.
Once in a while I get a fan of the game who will reach out to me via email or social media and ask if I’m the guy who sang on the game. There’s a wikipedia page for Go Vacation and my name appears on the page. However, I do not have a wikipedia page so it doesn’t link to me anywhere. [If you’re a wikipedia wiz, you should start a page for me.] 🙃
People will tell me how much they enjoyed the game and/or the music. How it was a major influence on them as a kid, those kinds of things. Hearing stuff like that is super flattering. I didn’t compose the music, but I had a hand in bringing it to life. Knowing that it made people feel good to play it and listen to it is a wonderful vibe.