Veteran Pianist / Songwriter with Vintage Steinway Grand Model A & Complete Pro Tools Studio. Detailed Piano & Keyboard Parts, and Soulful Vocals. Caring Song Interpretation, Arranging & Production. Very creative and capable of many diverse styles. Super Clean & Clear Tracks. University of Miami Alumni. Gold & Platinum Records. Reasonably Priced
I'll give you REAL STEINWAY GRAND PIANO recordings and Soulful Vocal Tracks.
I can put the songs & tracks together for you, co write, arrange them, do a great vocal, and provide a final mix.
I can also give you stems, or upload the entire 96k Pro Tools Session for further editing and production.
My set up includes UA Apollos with analouge plug ins, tube mics and Neve Mic pre amps. Yamaha Motif 8, Superior Drummer 3 Superior Bass, etc.
In addition I have relationships with other great LA and Nashville session musicians,so if you need other parts such as guitars, pedal steel dobro etc. I can facilitate that as well. Of course those players would be an added cost. In other words, I can produce your record, or just lay down a great piano track or great vocal. Whatever you need done,
My Writing, Recording & Performance Credits include Michael McDonald, Steve Holy, Tiffany, Aaron Lines, and numerous Film & TV. cuts.
And yeah, I grew up in New Jersey, so I get what attitude is all about.
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
CreditsAllMusic verified credits for Hugh James Hardman
9 Reviews - 2 Repeat ClientsEndorse Hugh James
Hugh is a brilliant pianist and vocalist; he has just completed arranging and producing one of my songs, and I am absolutely delighted with the results. A master!
Hugh is an absolute genius on the piano and his vocals touch the heart. He has poured his heart and soul into my project. Thank you so much my friend!
Hugh is such a talented and sophisticated musician. Absolutely brilliant.
Hugh is a total professional and very accommodating
Hugh found the perfect piano voicings to take my track to the next level, and along with silky vocals delivers incredible sophistication and professionalism. Plus he's a nice guy! Recommended unreservedly.
Once again Hugh went “the extra mile” to make sure that this demo was exactly what we needed. He is a very skilled pianist, vocalist & arranger. We highly recommend Hugh and look forward to working with him on our next project.
After looking for weeks for an outstanding singer/pianist, I immediately knew that Hugh James was the right person for the job. I highly recommend Hugh who has such a heartfelt, beautiful voice and whose piano skills are the best of the best. He is a kind, generous man who made sure to communicate carefully throughout the project.
His turn-around time was even faster than expected. We absolutely will be working with Hugh again in the near future.
This guy is a five star artist and a credit to SoundBetter. The quality of his work is superb and his expertise in dealing with clients is totally professional. Instantly understands your music, can play all styles and genres and has a superfast turnaround. Whether you're an expert in the digital recording world or a basic singer songwriter - Hugh James is your man. Check him out, you won't be disappointed. Recommended without question!
Stunning playing and service. Tasteful sensitive playing and commitment to the job. Superfast turnaround - couldn't ask for more.
Interview with Hugh James
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Americana ?
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll do my best to give them something creative and skillfully done.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Taking the intangible and turning it into the tangible. Creating something unique.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How much do I charge ? The answer depends on what they need & what I'm doing for them
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That anyone with a keyboard and a computer can make music.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My 1881 Steinway Model A, Lime Squeezer,
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm Working with a Gospel Artist right now doing all arrangements, keyboards, production and some vocals. It's very rewarding because she is an older woman who is a very unique songwriter who simply wants to worship and express her faith. Also writing and co writing for my next release, and doing some solo piano stuff.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Just released a single called "Times Like These " I wrote and produced. It was all recorded remotely with great players and singers and imparts what I believe to be a needed message.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Still kinda new here.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Well we're pretty much in the digital age and that's that. That doesn't mean I don't love using analog when it makes sense cause it does sound great, just not practical in today's world.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What their end goal is, and what they are trying to accomplish. Also budget is important to formulate a game plan.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Started playing piano at age 5. Played in bands as a kid, Studied Piano and Composition at University of Miami Graduated and received of Bachelor's Degree in piano performance. Have been writing songs and recording with other artists for decades.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd like to be in a Will Ferrel movie because I think he's funny.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Try and stay focused on the message of the music and don't get lost in the technology.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: That really depends on what the client needs. I would say mostly I work with songwriters who want a great piano track and a really good vocal and a convincing recording. I have been working a lot in Gospel lately and that is very natural for me. i really don't do much rap or hip hop, but have done my fare share of country, blues and New Orleans stuff. I also love just doing ambient solo piano.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Well I've been a pianist/ keyboard player my whole life and started studying classical piano at age 5, so I'm a pianist by trade, but can also really deliver a vocal. The arranging, production end of it has become an offshoot of being a songwriter, studio owner.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Whatever the client needs. Hopefully with a sense of musical stye, artistry and craft . I can put my own stamp on it, or make it more generic & transparent. I can lay down a piano part that sounds like it was meant to be in the song and becomes part of the heart of the song. If I'm hired to sing the vocal I can interpret a lyric in a heartfelt way with conviction. If needed I can also create real sounding tracks with the Toon Track Line of VST's and Drop Box the piano / vocal stems or the entire pro tools session.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It depends on what I'm working on, and what hat I'm wearing. Sometimes it's a writing day, some days it's just laying down a great piano track, sometimes it's putting the song together and editing and building the arrangement. If I'm hired to sing the song I might have to work on it to find the right voice. Then depending on how I'm involved I might be editing & mixing or uploading the files etc. I'm also a writer/ artist so there's that side of it as well.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Running a Pro Tools Set up with multiple UA Apollos Cascaded. The 1881 Vintage Rosewood Steinway Model A is the centerpiece. It has a beautiful character. I have a nice selection of Tube Condenser Mics along with BAE 1073 Mic pres for that Harmonically Rich Sound. Large UA plugin selection and the UA unison mic pres from the Apollos round it out. VST's include Superior Drummer 3 Superior Bass etc. along with a Yamaha Motif 8 with PLG Boards and Roland JD 990 for real analouge.I also have a Hammond Melodica for that Americana Sound.Also stilll have my MPC 60 collecting dust.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Great Songwriters like Desmond Child, and great musicians, producers and artists like Leon Russel, Bob Seger David Foster and Quincy Jones.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Acoustic Piano Recordings / Keyboards / Vocals / Song arranging and production