It wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of professionally recorded Jewish music was a real novelty. I have vivid memories of sitting in the living room of the house where I grew up listening to Mordechai Ben David’s “Hineni” album over and over again because, at the time, it was the only Jewish music record (yes, music was recorded on vinyl records back then) we owned that wasn’t devoted to chazanus.
Fast forward one generation to when my kids were growing up and Jewish music was everywhere. From CDs to concert DVDs, my crew had ample opportunity to revel in a plethora of professionally produced and arranged Jewish music. Many, many hours were spent in our house with my musical offspring doing their own imitations of the vocalists whose melodies filled our home and accompanied us in our car just about everywhere we went. Jewish singers who hit it big became superstars, their presence gracing concerts, Pesach hotels, music websites and stages worldwide, thanks to the connections they had made in the business that gave them the ability to professionally record their songs, putting themselves out there in a big way.
And now? Jewish music has turned a corner once again and, today, even someone who has no strings to pull in the industry has the ability to walk into a high-end studio, stand in front of a microphone, place those headphones over their ears and record the vocals of a professionally produced single, or even an entire album.
Zisha Schnitzler had long dreamed of being able to give the average Yossel a chance to put out a high-quality recording. Working out of his brother Naftali Schnitzler’s studio in Brooklyn for the past three years, as well as several locations in Monsey, Schnitzler has worked with some of the biggest names in the Jewish music business, including Lipa Schmeltzer, Shmueli Ungar, Michoel Schnitzler and many others. Seeing how much joy music brings to people, and knowing that there are countless individuals for whom recording a song in a professional studio would be the thrill of their lifetime, Schnitzler has decided to put his connections to good use and make those dreams come true.
“What I do, I make it possible for everyone to create their own hit album,” Schnitzler told The Jewish Link. “I want to pop the bubble because people think that recording a song is beyond their reach, but everyone has the ability to do this and to put out a professional project.”
Schnitzler’s services begin with choosing just the right song, and he has access to the most sought-after composers in the Jewish music business. He is a firm believer in working with every client to tailor the project to their needs, which includes working with well-known arrangers and both adults and children’s choirs. After recording the vocal tracks in studio, Schnitzler edits each song until it is “radio ready” and ready to be sent off to a professional mixing engineer to ensure that every component of the song is properly balanced. And whether a client is recording a single track or an entire album, no project is complete until a professional graphic artist has been brought in to design an eye-catching album cover.
“The finished product will look exactly like any album you see sitting on the shelf in your local store or on iTunes,” said Schnitzler.
Because of the high-caliber talent involved in creating a stellar track, producing a song doesn’t come cheap and clients need to understand that they are looking at an approximately $10,000 investment. Still, Schnitzler feels that embarking on a project of this nature is a truly priceless endeavor, noting that recording a song can instill confidence and pride in both adults and children and is an invaluable way to preserve songs of yesteryear, family favorites and zemiros or to commemorate milestone moments such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs. Others who could benefit from Schnitzler’s services are those who need musical tracks for plays or events, as well as composers who want to share their original music with potential buyers.
Schnitzler had one client who was in his 70s who recorded songs of their youth to preserve them for generations to come. Passing that music down sparked a tremendous closeness within the family and Schnitzler’s client described their CD as the best investment they ever made.
“In cases like this, you get so much more than just a nice music album,” explained Schnitzler. “It is something the whole family can be a part of, something that will become an instant family heirloom.”
In other instances, Schnitzler has gotten calls from people who would like to record something but aren’t quite sure of exactly what they want to do. Often they are surprised by the many options that are available to them and just how much they are capable of musically. As a keyboardist who also plays guitar, bass and drums and has a wealth of studio experience, Schnitzler is looking forward to working with the northern New Jersey community, hoping to spread the gift of music ever farther.
“Literally anyone can put out a professional CD like any celebrity out there,” said Schnitzler. You can do this. And you should do it. Invest in yourself right now and create something you will treasure every day of your life.”
For more information on how to bring your recording dreams to life contact Schnitzler at 845-274-6526 or at [email protected].
By Sandy Eller