"We were up against the clock with a self-imposed deadline so we didn’t overthink — and we discovered that our creativity emerged under pressure”
Jewish music listeners always know they can rely on DONI GROSS, producer of the A Kumzitz in the Rain series, for a cappella vocal music during times when all the extra noise and externalities of life get stripped away. This year, Doni’s done it again, joining together with BENNY FRIEDMAN for a new addition to this genre, WHISPERS OF THE HEART.
Friedman says that he was sitting in his own home on a Wednesday evening during the coronavirus lockdown, when he got a message from Doni, his producer. “You’re not singing any gigs now and I'm not recording with singers, so let’s make an acappella album and get it out there in five days.”
“I said, ‘I’m in,’ not really thinking that anyone could record an album in under a week. But the next morning, we were there in the studio, with masks and gloves and social distancing.”
There were no plans for the playlist, Doni explains. They simply chose songs on the spot and began singing one favorite song after another. The unusual pressure — they gave themselves an hour to record each song — was in sharp contrast to the usual pace for recording a professional product.
Having recorded straight through Thursday and Friday, then again on Sunday and Monday, Doni found himself with all the tracks recorded by Monday afternoon. “I pulled an all-nighter, editing and mixing on Monday night, then took a short nap, and after going over all the mixes, the album was released digitally by Tuesday afternoon.
“Usually there is so much deliberation over what the market wants to hear,” says Doni, “and sometimes it can take up to a week for the singer to really be present vocally. For this project though, we were up against the clock with a self-imposed deadline so we didn’t overthink — and we discovered that our creativity emerged under pressure.”