California-based singer-songwriter Ernie Halter will be releasing his next album, entitled “Starting Over,” on August 5th via Rock Ridge Music.
The digital version (available via digital download portals) will precede the brick and mortar release on July 15th. “The new record is called ‘Starting Over’ for a reason,” says Halter. “I wanted the title to be direct, simple, and set the tone for the album. In this past year, I experienced the unraveling of my marriage and the birth of my first son. It was during this year that I wrote the material for the new record and performed over 150 shows. More than ever I think it’s important to be as open and honest as possible, both as a songwriter and as a person. One positive side to the tumultuous year I’ve had is this new-found freedom to say it as it is, to admit who I am and where I’ve been, faults and all. I feel this is a total crossroads for me.”
“Starting Over” was recorded in early 2008 in New York City and is the follow-up to 2007’s “Congress Hotel.” On the eleven-track new album, Ernie mixes blue-eyed soul, pop, and rock in a style that is both familiar, unique and always inimitably Halter. His vocal delivery is percussive and smooth, raw and real, his phrasing often an instrument itself. Stylistically, Halter endeavored to make “Starting Over” sound more organic and a little less polished than previous recordings. Halter’s long-time drummer Michael Peters and bassist Zack Rudulph flew out from Halter’s hometown of Los Angeles to record with him. Jason Spiewak (Five.Bolt.Main, Chris Volz) sat in the production seat.
The entire recording process, for perhaps the first time ever, was broadcast over the internet from their New York City studio. Says Halter: “To my knowledge, nobody has ever done that.” Halter has been called a pioneer by many including EQ Magazine and text broadcasting company Mozes (Halter was one of its first artists) for his technologically-oriented approach to connecting with fans. Halter elaborates: “I am making this record for me and them, and I wanted them to see their record being made.” It was actually Halter’s tech-savvy approach to promoting and marketing his music that garnered the attention of his management and label, Rock Ridge Music, in the first place: Halter was one of the first artists to really take advantage of MySpace as a promotional tool. Utilizing his tech know-how and his extraordinarily focused work ethic, Halter has incorporated such unique features on the page as a live “tour van cam” and nightly webcasts of his concerts across the United States.
Halter also has an ongoing cover video series on YouTube.com (http://www.youtube.com/erniehalter), popular with his fans who submit requests on an ongoing basis. It was this, as much as Halter’s penchant for performing covers during his live shows, that prompted him to include three covers on the album: “Just Friends” (Musiq Soulchild), “Pretty Girl” (David Ryan Harris — a song that Halter wishes he had written himself and calls it “the most beautiful song ever”), and “Cyclone” (Baby Bash). Halter explains: “‘Cyclone’ is a hip-hop song, you hear it in clubs, and it’s not the kind of song you’d hear an acoustic songwriter singing. I basically flipped it — added some chords and arrangements that weren’t there, rather than just trying to copy it. There’s no skill in that. Incidentally, I noticed it was getting a lot of traffic on YouTube. One night, I was looking on MySpace and Baby Bash had written me a message there just to tell me he dug it. And I found out later that a radio station in Phoenix had picked up the song and had put it in rotation. People were telling me they heard it on the radio. I just decided have some fun with it.”
Photo by Jason Gaskins