Dean Kaelin David’s long time voice coach, was kind enough to answer my question to him about his involvement with BEGIN. Here is an excerpt from our correspondence:
I am afraid that I won’t be very helpful on this at all unfortunately. Kurt and John are great and very talented, so I am sure the album came out well, but I haven’t even heard the finished project yet. My only involvement really was warming up David and keeping his voice in shape throughout the very compressed recording process.
David’s part of the entire album was finished in the last 2 weeks before David left on his mission. In fact, even on the Monday before he left he was doing some finishing touches. Kurt Bestor and David selected the songs to record. Kurt put together quick arrangements so that there would be something for David to sing to. Then David sang all the songs. After David left, Kurt and John finished the arrangements and orchestrations, mixed and mastered it and Deseret Book put together the artwork, CD duplication and marketing.
For David’s part, he did an amazing job. On the recording session I attended David sang the song 4 or 5 times so that Kurt would have different takes to choose from. I felt that any one of the takes could have been used for a finished product. David’s tone, interpretation, pitch and control were so great that each take sounded like it was ready for the album This is EXTREMELY unusual in today’s music world. Most singers go over and over a section trying to get it close, then the engineers use electronic tools to tune the voice and make it sound good. The fact that David did this so quickly will definitely give the album more of a ‘live’ and an honest feeling. It isn’t ‘manufactured’ and perfected by electronic gadgets, but David’s soulfulness, emotion, passion and interpretation come through clearly and naturally. I am quite certain that his fans will really enjoy it.
My very best to you and all you are doing.
Thanks, Dean! As always, your insights are like no other. Keeping David’s voice in shape those last couple of weeks, with so much going on is contribution enough. Thank you for that.
In a follow up question, I was able to ask Dean which song David sang in the session he attended. He replied that it was “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.