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Pinocchio

During my senior year of college, going to classes became less like going to school, and it became more like going to a wonderful job that changed and transformed each day, even each hour!  I was doing exactly what I loved.  I was in the studio everyday, recording, hanging out, and creating with my friends – artists who I deeply respect.

One of my closest friends from Millikin University is a gentleman by the name of Eric McCarter.  That boy has a voice that was sent straight from heaven!  He is a true artist and an incredible and profound songwriter.  For my final production project as a senior Commercial Music Major I chose him to be the artist that I produced.  I knew that working with him would take me completely out of my comfort zone and that it would test my proficiency and creativity as a musician and artist!

After a bit of deliberation, I chose to produce his original song, “Pinocchio.”  The moment I heard it I had a vision…that’s how I knew it was the right fit!  I saw lightning in a jet black sky, and I saw a dessert full of dry and dusty chaos.  I heard a screaming electric guitar and the steady rhythms of tribal drums!  Thank God Eric trusted me and my vision enough to let me build his song into something truly unique!  With Eric’s help, I constructed the musical arrangement. Then, I booked the recording studio, booked musicians for the session, and booked recording engineers.  We had a recipe for a banging production!  The recording sessions went by like a dream!  The whole process was in the name of creativity and raw passion.  As the producer I wanted Eric to call shots and make decisions, as well.  He was the songwriter after all.  One instance where Eric played a part in the production process was during the recording of the tribal drums played by Andre Kely.  Eric had a vision for the drums to be played in the rhythm of a heart beat.  Committing that pattern to the track changed the whole scheme of the production and added something truly authentic to the music!

After our time in the studio ended I mixed the track in Studio B.  I took heed of many of Eric’s critiques and suggestions, and after two long mixing sessions I finally had something that pleased us both.  I decided to do a “car test” and listen to it on the drive back to my apartment.  While listening it struck me that I should have it mastered to make it real radio quality!  It just so happened that my dear friend, Megan Peterson, had been certified as a mastering engineer.  I immediately got ahold of her, and she graciously agreed to work on the track.  An hour later, and the track was completely done!  It was beautiful and definitely more than I dreamed it could be!  I couldn’t stop dancing and tapping my foot!

The experience of being a music producer was one of the most profound, filling, rewarding, and sleep depriving periods of my life!  I had never been on such a creative high!  Getting to work with a friend and artist that I greatly respected was a dream come true, and to create a product that he and I were truly satisfied with and proud of was an incredible feeling!

I am a singer, a songwriter, and model, but now I can say that I am a music producer, and I want to continue to produce and create!  I know God gave me talents for a reason, just as he did and does for everyone else…I am thrilled to see how God uses me and my talents in the future!  It is going to be an epic adventure!

Check out my production of “Pinocchio” by Eric McCarter on Soundcloud!

#Hunter Allen

Pinocchio Credits:

Songwriter: Eric McCarter

Producer: Hunter Allen

Recording Engineers: Grey Taxon & Dan Koffman

Mixing Engineer: Hunter Allen

Mastering Engineer: Megan Peterson

Instrument and Musician Credits

Vocal and BGV: Eric McCarter

Piano: Eric McCarter

Djembe: Andre Kely

Tambourine: Andre Kely

Electric Guitar: Santana Silcott

Bass Guitar: Emma Taylor

 

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An Unexpected Surprise

When I came to LA I knew I was in for a lot of surprises, but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come!  It had been about two weeks since I had arrived in one of LA’s neighborhoods, Atwater Village.  I was waiting to get a trim at a barbershop in Hollywood when I received a message from my friend, Jen Bricker.  She simply asked me if I had brought my passport with me when I moved to LA.  I answered “yes,” knowing that there was something BIG coming.  I have learned all two well that Jen’s life is full of surprises and twists.  Sure enough, she dropped the bomb on me and asked me to go to Shenzhen, China with her!  She was going there to speak and judge a motivational-speaking contest called “The Undefeatable Spirit.” I was staggered!  I was financially broke, and so unsure of how to answer her.  After some careful thought and some sound advice, I said “YES!” Two weeks later, Jen and I were being driven to LAX!  After a few annoying and unnecessary bumps at the airports in LA and Beijing, we finally made it to Shenzhen!  We were so happy to finally be away from the airport!  We were picked up by representatives from Century Sakura, (the company that had hired Jen to speak in Shenzhen), and we were driven to the finest hotel in the city, The Grand Hyatt Shenzhen.  

Jen and I knew that Facebook was banned from Mainland China due its communist government, but we did not know that literally EVERYTHING else was banned, too!  Upon arriving, we learned that all Google-run apps were disabled in mainland China.  Jen went into crisis mode, realizing that we had no way of communicating with our friends or family to tell them that we had landed safely!  Thank God for WhatsApp…it was her saving grace!  

After getting over our initial scare of being disconnected from EVERYTHING, we made the most of our situation and went to check out our hotel rooms.  As someone who loves architecture, and let’s be honest…the finer things in life…I was blown away by my room!  I had never seen anything like it other than in Architectural Digest!  I was surrounded by black marble and pure luxury!  The rainfall shower and tub were in the center of the room surrounded by glass.  There were traditional Chinese partitions that separated the bathroom from my bedroom, and they lit up when they were closed.



 My bed was heaven, and the view was over the top!  I could see all of Shenzhen and the border of Mainland China.  I could also see the skyline of Honk Kong!  It took my breath away!


After basking in the glory of my room and unpacking all of my things in the fashion of a classy bachelor, Jen and I went to dinner at the hotel’s most famous spot, The Show Kitchen.  It was a five star restaurant that consisted of approximately five buffets, featuring gourmet Chinese cuisine, including rice noodles and greens, octopus, and pork.  I was in heaven!

The real fun came the next day.  At 11:00am, we were picked up by representatives from Century Sakura.  Jen and I were taken to a restaurant called i-Tony where she and I met the four remaining contestants on “The Undefeatable Spirit.”  The contestants then joined us for an authentic Chinese lunch!  We were presented with so many amazing dishes, but our favorite dish was duck tounge. I know what you are thinking, but it was actually really good!  


Following the meal, Jen and I were taken to a flower shop called Tony Flowers where we literally had a fairy tale experience.  


The folks at Century Sakura had everything planned perfectly, and they made Jen feel like the star she really is!  When we arrived, we were first taken by how beautiful the place was!  Hanging flowers and bright yellow hues lit up our eyes!  Stunning!  Jen was handed a giant bouquet of roses imported from Bulgaria, and we were each served incredible drinks and desserts!  Talk about magical!

While we were enjoying our desserts, one of the contestants on “The Undefeatable Spirit”, (Alex), offered to make Jen a dress for the televised event.  We had learned that Alex was the head fashion designer at Tony & Tony’s , the fashion design department at Century Sakura.  Of course, Jen was like “umm YESSS!”.  We promptly left Tony Flowers and drove to the Century Sakura headquarters.  When we walked into the Tony & Tony’s fashion design studio, I was floored.  It was exactly what I had envisioned a fashion design studio to be!  A modern reception area, mannequins with the latest fashions, racks of fashion pieces, busy designers working on sketches, and bustling individuals sewing and bringing new designs to life!  As a man who has always been passionate about fashion, this was a dream come true!  Jen began looking through Alex and his staff’s designs, and she finally chose a sleek white number.  Alex, his team, and I immediately began styling Jen!  


It was such an incredibly empowering experience!  She looked amazing, and we had the time of our lives throughout the whole process!  At the end of our dream-come-true experience, Alex looked at me and said he wanted me to wear one of his suits for the event, too!  At this point, I thought I was going to melt into my shoes!  


Jen and I left Tony and Tony’s fashion design studio on an absolute life high.  We returned to the Grand Hyatt for a bit of rest and a highly anticipated dinner.  Friday nights were special at the Grand Hyatt, because The Show Kitchen featured a special meal!  The gourmet chefs cooked a fresh sea bass and served three courses of delectable sea food.  Jen and I enjoyed fresh sea bass, lobster and rice noodles, and the most amazing sashimi we had ever tasted!  With a glass of white wine, I looked out over the green city and marveled at the glory of our completely God-blessed day!


The next day was the date of Jen’s event…the live television broadcast of “The Undefeatable Spirit!”  Before the event, Jen and I made the most of our morning!  One of Jen’s friends (who happened to be be from Macau) joined us at the Grand Hyatt for breakfast and then took us to Dong Men market for a bit of shopping.  After our time at the market, we returned to the hotel to get a bit of rest and clean up for the event. 



After a bit of a recharge, the Century Sakura crew whisked us away to The Shenzhen Grand Theatre!  It was a blessing to be on this journey with Jen, because I got to see everything!  I was given a VIP tag and watched the rehearsal for the live television event!  It was very surreal!  We then moved to Jen’s dressing room where I found the suits that Alex had brought for me to choose from!  Of course I picked the skin tight electric blue suit!  I felt way too good!  


I hung out in the dressing room and helped out wherever I could as Jen’s makeup and hair artist got her prepared for the filming.  She looked amazing!  Once she was ready we were escorted to a room literally brimming with press!  Calmly yet powerfully, Jen answered questions and spoke about her book, “Everything Is Possible,” coming out on September 6, 2016.  As her friend and someone who has nothing but love and respect for her, it was really powerful seeing her in the middle of the flashing lights and press, reaping the benefits of her hard work.

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Finally, it came time for the show! After praying with her, I wished her and all of the contestants luck, and then I moved to the auditorium to watch!  


Jen opened the show and spoke with such confidence and power…all from The Holy Spirit.  Following her speech and short interview, all the other celebrity judges joined her on stage, and the speaking contest began.  Each contestant had so much passion and power, but in the end the fashion designer and our friend, Alex Ciet, was the winner! 

The next day our time in Shenzhen sadly came to an end.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back to LA as soon as we thought we would.  Due to a three hour flight delay in Shenzhen, we missed our connecting flight in Beijing.

So after waiting in the Beijing airport, we found out that the whole crew of LA bound passengers had to stay the night in Beijing.  Our flight wouldn’t leave until noon the next day.  I also had the realization that I had lost my bank card.  I had left it in an ATM at Dong Men market and the only money left in my wallet consisted of a few Chinese yuan.  Ugh!!!  What next?!  Thankfully, the Lord took care of me, and He provided for me the rest of the trip home!

So, we spent a sleepless night in Beijing and then flew out on the 4th of July.  Due to the time difference, we left Beijing on the afternoon of the 4th, but we landed in LA on the morning of the 4th!  Pretty trippy!  As I’m sure you all assume, after a great 4th of July party that I forced my body to attend, I slept for a solid 14 hours!  

All in all, this was the trip of a lifetime!  I got to go to a country that I did not think I would ever visit or atleast not for a long time! I got to experience China with Jen, and I got to witness her change the lives of everyone in The Shenzhen Grand Theatre!  This is an experience that I will never forget!  God is so good! 

#HunterAllen

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Here By Faith

Yes, it once again has been much too long since my last blog post.  What can I say?  I like to live in the moment, and sometimes those moments keep me from updating the posts on my site!  Anyway, as most of you know, I have moved to LA for the summer.  After a major internal struggle and feeling as though I was being called by God, I took a chance and embarked on a four day road trip across the USA.  Driving through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arozona, and finally California gave me some of the most stunning sights of my entire life!  I have been living with the amazing and lovely Massie family.  They are the family of the young man, Cole Massie, that helped inspire my first original song, “Wings (Cole’s Song).”  God has blessed me with so many experiences and opportunities to see new things and meet new people!  I have been in Beverly Hills, meeting powerful millennials.  I have been to the beach and seen the ocean.   I have performed in downtown LA for one of Jen Bricker’s speaking and book promoting events, and I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Shenzhen, China with Jen, as well! I am also preparing for a solo concert at The Midnight Mission on Skid Row in August!  God has truly blessed everything about this trip, and I know that there is so much more to come!  My goal is to make the absolute most of the last month that I have in this beautiful city!

#HunterAllen

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“Love Wins” at Jazz Bash 2016

Performing with Millikin University’s flagship vocal jazz group, OneVoice, has made for some of the most incredible and special memories of my college career!  This afternoon was no exception!  I had a blast singing a selection of this semster’s tunes with OneVoice at Lock Stock and Barrel’s annual jazz bash!  It was an absolute pleasure performing the solo on one of our tunes, “Love Wins!”  It is a groovy chart, arranged by Michele Weir!  I hope you enjoy our rendition!  God bless!

#HunterAllen

https://youtu.be/bERQ9qYUYqE

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ARGENTINA: The Traveling Singer


Yes, I know it has been quite awhile since I last posted, but I’m back! I have felt the need to share the whole story of my incredible experience in Argentina for quite some time!  Unfortunately, my story has been delayed…the life of a full time college student is NO JOKE!   Nonetheless, I have finally found a moment to sit and write!  Here we go!

Having been deprived of sleep for the eleven hour duration of our  transcontinental flight, I was surprisingly lively and awake when we landed in Buenos Aires!  After having my nerves rattled while going through customs, the group and I made it out of the airport, only to find out that one of our members had lost her wallet!  Talk about a crisis situation!  Thankfully for her, we of course did not let her starve!  (Props to her boyfriend!) 


 We were picked up from the airport and wisked away into the city!  The scenery we first encountered was exciting and also very shocking.  I felt like I was staring at photos from my old geography book.  Many building were very old, sun-stained, and draped with drying laundry.  Continuing on our journey towards our hostel in the neighborhood of San Telmo, the scenery quickly changed!  We were bombarded by cobblestone streets and incredible French architecture!  


We finally arrived at our hostel, The Art Factory! 


 We then quickly ventured into the city for our first Argentinian meal and a shady currency exchange!  I felt like I was on a movie set…a back room where a man wearing a big chain sat behind a barred window and took my American cash for South American pesos!  It was the real deal…and probably not the most legal scenario!  Aside from that, the city was beautiful and bustling with activity, and the weather was PERFECT!  Our adventure had OFFICIALLY begun!  


I would have to dedicate a whole day if I were to write every experience I and the group had while in South America, so I will only share the highlights!  OneVoice’s first performance on our South American tour took place at a swanky bar called the BeBop Club!  The space was cramped, but our spirits definitely weren’t!  A glass of white wine and low lighting made for a classy evening!  After that performance I met two Millikin alums that had studied as international students and were living in Argentina!  We truly live in a small world!  


Another highlight of the trip took place at the Universidad de Lanus! OneVoice had the opportunity to do a music exchange with a local youth orchestra!  They played for us, and we in turn sang a few charts for them!  The interesting part of this story is that we had no power or sound system for our performance, so we sang our first EVER acapella set, and our amazing bass player went above and beyond and played acoustic bass!  Out of all the performances we had during our trip, this one was my absolute favorite!  


Another highlight from my South American trip took place at the Shamrock!  A woman that watched us perform for the youth orchestra loved our set so much that she invited us to her Irish bar (the Shamrock). She covered a generous number of our drinks, and she let us dance in the bar’s night club for free!  That night was next level!  Talk about feeling free and alive!  My friends and I stayed and literally danced the night away!  Hailing a cab back to our hostel (the next morning) was an interesting experience, but thank God we made it back alive (with our wallets and a copy of our passports)!


Finally, the most special moment of my trip to Argentina took place at Bamoral College in the neighborhood of Banfield!  We were set to perform there on our last full day in Argentina!  When we arrived we were overtaken by the happiest little kids I had ever seen!  They touched my heart on another level!  They LOVED me and could not get over how big my feet were!  They asked me to sing while in our little mosh pit, so I did, and we were JAMMING!  I think it is safe to say that I signed over one hundred autographs!  I also had the opportunity to meet a very special student named Tobias Feliman!  He reminded me so much of myself, and we instantly connected on a spiritual level!  He inspired me, and I pray that I left him with some inspiration and the motivation to FOLLOW HIS DREAMS!  I will NEVER forget either of these incredible experience!  



There were so many other incredible experience while on this trip…who am I kidding?  The whole trip was incredible!  Nights spent on the roof of our hostel laughing and connecting will never be forgotten!  My wish is to return someday and continue on the amazing journey that I began with OneVoice!  God is so good, and I am so thankful that He blessed me with such an incredible adventure! 


#HunterAllen