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It takes a heck of a lot of courage to parody a Beatles song, and it takes a heck of a lot of skill to pull it off correctly. SilverLetomi has managed to do both, and she's recorded dozens of Warcraft parodies and collaborations over the years. With an enviable vocal ability and an incredible amount of skill in creating and producing music, Letomi's tunes have long been a favorite of many on YouTube, and it's no wonder why -- the girl's got a great set of pipes!
Letomi's work didn't start with Warcraft parodies, however. She's got years of experience in performing and audio engineering, something that is reflected in every song she puts out for people to hear. So what does it take to put together songs for the listening public? Letomi was kind enough to sit down with us and fill us in.
World of WarCrafts: Hi Letomi! Tell us a little bit about how you got into WoW. How long have you been playing? What got you into gaming in general?
Letomi: Lessee ... I'm a Wrath baby. I've been playing for about two years now. I started playing because my boyfriend of the time was addicted, and I'd been watching over his shoulder going, "Oh, is that World of Warcraft? I've heard that's addictive." And then he proceeded to addict me.
Before WoW, though, I hadn't done much gaming. My parents gave me and my sister a Play Station 2 and a couple games there, like the Hercules game and Harry Potter and Kingdom Hearts and Dance Dance Revolution. We've got a Wii now too and on that thing, we play Rayman's Raving Rabbids TV Party almost exclusively. And by almost exclusively I mean I know we have other games, but I don't know what they are. But really, I haven't played very many video games at all, and it's kinda sad to me.
You have a set of pipes and a talent for tossing music together! How long have you been singing and doing music? What's your music background, any schooling?
Yeah, I've got schooling! I was accepted into an arts magnet school in sixth grade with a vocal music focus. The school itself was a middle and high school combined, so I was there, singing in choir and taking solo voice lessons, for seven years. They taught mainly classical styles of singing, but a newer choir conductor started getting us jazz music and our voice teachers broadened us with foreign language pieces and Broadway tunes.
In my senior year of high school, though, we had an audio engineering class and I just loved it. I loved sitting at that computer and tweaking volume levels and adding effects and layering ... So applying to college was about what places would accept me as a singer but let me into the recording studios and computer labs. And things just kinda took off from there.
How did you get started doing parody songs? What made you say "Hey, this is a pretty cool idea"?
Remember that boyfriend? He happened to be PVPGurl Gigi's cousin, and they're pretty good cousins. Shortly after addicting me to WoW, he played some of her and the Druidboyz's songs to me and that was pretty much when I said, "That sounds like fun! Count me in!" And by that point, I'd learned enough about WoW to try my hand at writing a parody.
Do you do your own parody lyrics, or are there other people that do them for you?
It's a mishmash of both. I've written a lot of my own parodies and I've also sung parodies that were sent in, and sometimes both things happen at the same time. My early parodies were all me, but then I met and started working with Tyrannothefirst and he wrote the lyrics for songs like Play Your Class and Kael'thas and Moonkin, and I pretty much begged him to write Pugbreaker. I'm surprised at how many songs get sent in. I'll read 'em all and then go through whether I like the idea or can sing the song. There are a couple that come through perfect, fully formed, just ready to be sung, and others where I go back through with the lyricist and go over the rhythm or rhyming areas. Sometimes I just get ideas from people where they heard a line and want a song based off it. It's totally a group effort.
Can you tell us a little bit about the process of putting a song together? What kind of equipment do you use? How long does something like that take?
Hmm, it's hard to say how long they take. The longest part is always always always writing the lyrics. Sometimes lyrics take hours, sometimes days, and it's not even dependent on the length of the song. Short songs can be the worst. Some songs write themselves. If I'm really into the idea, though, the amount of time it takes is rarely more than a day or two. It's write the lyrics, find an instrumental on YouTube, and then start singing. Singing's the second longest simply because I get a little harder on myself every time and I'll record a take over and over until I feel like it's good.
As for my equipment, I have two microphones now to play with, one dynamic and one condenser. I record into Logic Pro 9 Academic... and I think that's really it. Logic is really the monster of my recording setup, and I love it. It's like GarageBand on steroids. For little details though, my dynamic is an OM2, which plugs into an M-Audio pre-amp, which plugs into my computer, and my condenser is a Samson C01U, which plugs straight into the computer. If you're looking for a starter recording mic, I'd recommend the OM2 because it was around $100 when we got it ... which was six or seven years ago. It's been dropped, banged around in my backpack, traveled across the country and all sorts of abuse, and it still sounds great.
You've got a huge collection of parody songs. Do you have a favorite? What's one song you'd really like to parody, in a perfect world?
A favorite? Not really ... but I will say that I think some of my parodies deserve more views and some deserve less. Like Play Your Class? Not my favorite piece. My singing is really below what I would expect of myself now. And same with 3v3 -- the mixing is glaringly bad in some parts. But then there are songs like Deepholme (which isn't a parody) and Skills Bills Heals that have good singing and good mixing but have significantly less views.
I guess my favorites are either Run Deathwing Run or LollipopPart 1. The Mika ones are definitely up there, though ... but the perfect song to parody? I really don't know. I love challenging myself to do something different, like parodying a foreign language (Run Deathwing Run) or doing a full a capella piece (Lollipop Part 2), so I feel like my next perfect parody would be something like a mash-up. But I have no idea how I'd pull that off.
Have you got anything new in the works you can tell us about?
Sure! There's another all-girls collab I'm working on that's titled That's Why We PVP, and then there's Lollipop Part 3 (the final installment, of course). I also have a couple parodies that were sent in that I wanna do, but who knows when I'll get to them. I tend to load myself up on music, do a whole bunch at once, and then take a break for a while.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into recording and setting up songs on YouTube?
The best advice I can give is do your absolute best every time. Find a level of quality you want and don't accept less. I'd gotten a comment a while ago asking if I sang any bad songs. My response was "Sure, but I don't upload those." Know what face you want to present to the internet and, by golly, present that face! And the second best advice I can give is enjoy what you do. If you're not enjoying it, you won't be putting your best foot forward!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Letomi. We're looking forward to hearing your new tunes!
If you'd like to listen to more of Letomi's amazing collection of work, you can catch all of her songs on her YouTube channel. World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including arts and crafts, fan art, WoW-themed recipes, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.