Eric Hillebrecht

Eric Hillebrecht


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Eric Hillebrecht

Title
Chief Creative Officer, Music Supervisor, and Head oF A&R @ www.themusicplayground.com
Bio
Handling all of the A&R for my company and pitching music (both artists / bands and original composition) to media (TV, Film, Movie Trailers, and Advertisers) clients all over the world has provided me with the opportunity to not only build relationships within the industry, but to listen, analyze, and provide feedback on 100s of tracks a week for the past 20 years. 

Whether finding a track that fits for a tv show or advertising campaign, collaborating and producing tracks for projects, to analyzing an entire mix down to the kick drum, I enjoy and have listened to tracks from every genre from all over the world. 

Fluence seemed like a natural extension of what I already do for a living, so I am happy to be here and ready to provide feedback / constructive criticism on your music...
Website
Expertise
music supervision, music professional, music producer, mix engineer, recording engineer, record label, music licensing, film scoring, music production, advertising, record labels, songwriting, music publishing, tv, music licensing / syncing, music production / mastering, music management, music composition, music business, music curation
Interests
music, art
Location
New York

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Recent Feedback

Jeremy R submitted media.

Boomerang by JRtheBand

Eric Hillebrecht

Hey JR.

Thanks for sending.

I like the song. It's not a total slam dunk for me, but i think the songwriting is interesting and cool. I like the chorus. The vibe of the track sort of feels like it lives somewhere in between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Wilco. The writing of the track and arrangement almost sound like something i could hear Soundgarden doing (albeit with a heavier arrangement). 

Your vocal has a rootsy / americana quality to it which is nice for the track.

My only complaints really are the track sometimes feels a little overly complex in some of the breaks / changes and especially in the drums where there are tons of fills. I mean i love a good drum fill, but sometime i found myself listening to all the fills and it was taking me away from the vocal.

Production wise this sounds pretty good, but it seems a tad thin in the full spectrum specifically some of the low end. Production and mixing is a labor of love and i found a cool plug in really helped me. It is called Magic A/B (I do not work for them or have any sponsorship) and it is a great plug in to load in various reference tracks so you can easily compare your track to references you really dig or want your sound to be. Not saying your track sounds bad in anyway, but I think that could be something worth a try in order to get the track a little more balanced.

I don't think this is a fit for my sync clients, but thanks for sending and keep on keeping on man!

Federico Ferrandina submitted media.

Eric Hillebrecht

Whoa man. thanks for getting in touch.

This is stellar. Honestly, if i heard this in a James Bond film tomorrow i wouldn't be shocked at all. Truly painting a picture with this lush arrangement and vocal. It is really hard not to be captivated and swept up in this. It isn't simply a song, but a journey and your style is just so good. From the instrumentation to the breathy almost pleading vocal this is top notch. 100%

Thanks for sending. Candidly the easiest feedback to give is "I love this" so thank you for sharing.

Well done

EH

Alisa Velasquez submitted media.

In Bloom by Alisa Velasquez and Hana Sushi Music

Eric Hillebrecht

Umm yea... I love this. So lush and dreamy. Your vocal just floats on it so nicely. Love the backing vocal work and breathless effortless quality of the vocal. I might play this on Valentines day!

I'm totally into it. I know a previous comment of mine on a track of yours had to do with arrangement and dynamic of a track and while this track doesn't have a lot of arc / dynamic it works as an arrangement as it is more about the texture and immersive quality of the tracks.

Really dig it. Nice work. 

Clifford Reeves submitted media.

Paradox by Clifford

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi Clifford.

Thanks for reaching out. Groovy tune. I really like the overall make up of the sound with the sort of bluesy resonate gritty guitar and the sub bass etc. A nice combination of elements that contribute to a unique quality which is fresh and blurring the lines of modern music and americana. Well done.

Overall, i really like the song and feel you are singing from experience as it comes across lyrically as very personal and more of a journal entry then contrived lyrics. My only real critique is I really wanted a chorus that took off and hooked me in. Another level or tier to the song that hooked me in. Your current chorus in my arrangement mind would be a perfect pre chorus that gives way to a really open and energetic chorus. I know this is subjective, but that is what my ear was hearing in terms of the dynamic of the song. Overall, track is great, vocal is convincing and I'd love to hear more of what you are putting out for sure.

Keep on keeping on and thanks for sharing.

Kolby Knickerbocker submitted media.

Over and Over by Kolby Knickerbocker

Eric Hillebrecht

Umm. I am not even going to bother commenting on this track except for I LOVE IT!!!

Whoa Kolby! Spiritual, Engaging, Emotive, Beautiful, Raw! You nailed this man!

Well done.

Federico Ferrandina submitted media.

Conformed to the shadow by Federico Ferrandina

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi man.

Thanks again for submitting! Again, love your instincts and the pictures you paint musically. I can close my eyes and imagery just comes to my head. This track is no exception to the great work you have sent my way. Really captivating and cinematic. Great production and musical landscape here. I have been busy, but owe you a message. Sorry, been very backlogged on client stuff and such. Always playing catch up, but glad i caught up with this track. Another great piece of music Federico.

Brandon Linds submitted media.

SOS by Brandon Child

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi Brandon.

Thanks for sending.

First off. Love the art work. Just great.

The track has a definite vibe. The things i like:

The song is there and i really like your vocal performance. I think it fits the vibe of the song and has a unique quality in the performance. I am a big fan of singers that bring a unique tone or phrasing to the performance. Not everyone is destined for American Idol and what i often look for is a convincing style and delivery unique to the artist and i think you have done that here.

I really like the groove. This definitely gets my head bobbing and that is always a good sign in my opinion.

What i think could use some work:

While i see you worked with a producer I did want to comment.

I think the production could be tightened up especially in the drums. I may be wrong, but i am guessing these are programmed and they kind of have that feel. I think they are a little washy in terms of where they sit in the mix and could have more punch (especially in the kick). Programming / mixing drums can be tricky and i often recommend starting with a good level on the kick, then getting the drums and bass to sit great together before bringing the other elements in. Start from the bones and work out from there. I'd also be light if you are using any quantizing as it can make things feel a bit too mechanical. I'm not hear to give a mix tutorial as every song has different parameters, but just how this catches my ear personally.

I think the track kind of starts abruptly. Again may be a creative decision, but it sort of feels like the "needle" was dropped on the record in the middle of the song. Developing an intro etc or something to draw the listener in i find to be important in the overall arrangement.

Lastly, production cleanup. Be sure prior to printing your final mix go through each track and check for pops, clips, bad edits etc. I hear at 2:22 a sort of edit crossfade that feels unnatural and takes me out of the listening experience a bit. Not as abrupt, but i also hear an element drop out on the final fade (think it is the organ sustain). These are sort of the boring part of music and not as exciting as writing recording , but very important none the less to pay attention to as they can detract from the music and the goal is always to immerse the listener.

Overall, my notes are rather extensive, but i do dig the track and wanted to give you my candid thoughts as that is what this medium is for and if i didn't i think it defeats the purpose of our exchange.

Keep on keepin on... I think you are onto it and i hope my feedback is helpful with this or future productions.

In terms of promoting it is a little bit of the wild west out their for music with so much music now being created and distributed. You may have already utilized this channel, but i have had a lot of success with my projects using Submithub. Lots of rejection to be had, but also a lot of keen ears who can and will put your music into playlists that can get you some streams and exposure and sometimes a lot depending on the playlist. I also thin your art work has a strength and if you have the time / resources building out a video with such artwork could be another tool in your belt to garner attention. With some much competition for eyes and ears sometimes the conjunction of music with video plays an even greater role in terms of effectively reaching an audience.

Best,

EH

Federico Ferrandina submitted media.

Hypermetropia I by Federico Ferrandina

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi Federico.

Thanks for sending. Really love this. The meditative languid and airy feel of the guitar coupled with some dark swells and undertones really kept things interesting and immersive. I kept wondering if a vocal was going to come in and I thought to myself "I hope note" because you managed to create such a great musical picture with the elements you have. I often find myself looking for non vocal music to listen to when i need less of a distraction and more of a feel and this track (along with much of what you have on Spotify hits the mark). Really like a lot of what you are doing from this, to the Bossa stuff, to the Django, and everything in between. Appreciate your art and appreciate you sending. I am now following along. Feel free to drop me a note and reference this exchange and if i ever have original composition or other work in your wheelhouse we can connect.

Best,

EH

Michael Hyland submitted media.

No One Left To Know by Michael Hyland

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi Michael

Thanks for sending. My feedback is a bit a positive, a bit constructive. Feel like being candid is always best.

So, i really like the song. It has an ELO or Moody Blues vibe which i love. I think there are some interesting elements and cool vocal ideas. Overall, the song is very unique and original which can sometimes be the hardest part so nice work there.

My constructive feedback would be related to the production and arrangement of the track.

I think at times there is a lot going on and you might be better served to pick and choose what element should take center stage. For instance the piano is pretty busy through out and tends to draw attention away from other elements. When i produce a track i typically decide which element is the star and which is the anchor and make everything else support those "main" elements. Just something to think about in terms of production choices and space within a track.

The other thing i would comment on is the mix / production. I think some of the elements / sounds chosen sound a little underwhelming. I know with Midi and such we have almost endless choices, but for me the piano sounds a little off in terms of vibe with the track. It is partly cause of the sound of the patch, but that it is drawing a lot of attention to itself in the mix by how busy it is. 

Not sure if you are working with a producer or are doing it all yourself, but while I think overall, the song is great, i think the track is suffering a bit from a production / mixing aspect that distracts me a bit from immersing myself in the track itself. My advise on future productions would be to focus on less elements and making those elements really sound great and balanced in the mix. Sometimes less is more.

Hope you find this feedback to be helpful and something you can try to integrate into future productions.

Thanks for sending

EH

Danny Coda submitted media.

Just Trying by Danny Coda

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi DC.

Thanks for sending the tune. 

First off, i like the song. The chorus is nice and i like some of the harmonies. Overall, it is a nice pop tune delivered with a sort of brash attitude which makes it cool and sort of rebellious.

It sort of brings about thoughts of the Seattle grunge days of music for me. I could hear this from the soundtrack to the movie "Singles". 

I do feel like the track starts a bit abruptly almost like the needle dropped on the record, but with what the track delivers i think that is a-ok. F it. Drop it in hot!

It is a fun tune which mixes up the subtle nuances of a pop tune with an attitude that is unique and something that puts the Danny Coda stamp on it.

Thanks for sending. Keep it up.

Jeremy R submitted media.

Eric Hillebrecht

Thanks for sending JR.

I like this track. A real rootsy feel to it. Like the lyrics too. They are interesting and unique. The video is fun as well. Really paints a picture. I feel like this is a track i could listen to with the windows open cruising the country or at a backyard BBQ. Sort of reminds me of bands like Widespread Panic or Government Mule.

If i had any critique some of the playing gets a little "loose" in spots, but i don't quite mind it as it gives it a more human feel and it is living in a genre that isn't necessarily about being perfect, but rather about being real.

Only other comment is I would have loved to have heard a C section or bridge or some sort of breakdown... A sort of group vocal stomp handclap section maybe would have been powerful, but otherwise it is a nice track and i appreciate you sending it along.

Keep on keepin on!

Ricardo Temporao submitted media.

Alright, Alright by Brutus Begins

Eric Hillebrecht

Ohhh...

Love love this. From the gritty production, to the vocal and backing vocal effects, surfy leads, to the video, to the overall track and all its parts.. 

Really groovy and infectious vibe. I don't have anything about this i don't like and while i am sure you might want more feedback the only feedback I have is "Totally love it".

EH

Eamonn Conor submitted media.

Like I Do by Eamonn Conor

Eric Hillebrecht

Hey. Thanks for sending... I like the song. It is well written and feels like a hit pop song especially the chorus. I think your vocal is interesting on the style of music too. You have sort of a tone that is reminiscent of pop rock bands like  "The Downtown Fiction" or "The Ready Set" sort of a quirkiness to the tone and delivery which is kind of cool and the style of music you are doing. I think my only real comment with this particular track would be really focus on making the mix sound really polished as this style of music thrives on that. I by no means think this mix is bad, but really focusing on the balance of instruments in relation to the vocal and bring sure the track feels very full is so important in this style... Overall, i dig the song and appreciate you sending it along. Btw, love the vocal "acrobatics" toward the end. Some nice work in there!

Ricardo Temporao submitted media.

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi and thanks for sending.

Cool track. Love the video as well. Nice job on that.

The track has a really lush anthemic feel to it. Kind of reminds me of like you mention in your bio, Beck, but also even artist like David Bowie, and groups like ELO come to mind. Sort of cool, psychedelic, but sonically pleasing as well.

Technically, and i know this isn't a traditional song so the structure doesn't necessarily need to adhere, but for me and this is subjective it would have been nice to hear a little more deviation across the 4 minutes. You sort of vamp on the main progression which is fine, but it would have been cool to have it travel somewhere else or bring in higher highs or lower lows in terms of the arrangement (ie maybe dropping to just vocal at some point, or bringing in strings and bigger drums to really up the feel towards the end). Just a little more dynamics to the overall structure for me would have been pleasing and more emotionally captivating . Again, I am a firm believer in music being art and totally respect what you put down here, but if i had to point something out that struck me it would be that.

Overall, great work. Dig the vibe, the vocal, the sentiment, and the visual. Nice job all around and i appreciate you sending. If you are potentially interested in sync let me know and we can connect on that front.

Best,

EH



 

Pedro Meirelles submitted media.

Trilho by Pedro Meirelles

Eric Hillebrecht

Thanks Pedro.

Glad you sent me another track. Again, beautiful piece. You have such a grace about you when it comes to your songwriting and playing style. Simply beautiful man. From the tactile nature of the key sounds to the simple yet complicated nature of this composition begs me to listen to more of your work. Great stuff.

Pedro Meirelles submitted media.

Tear by Pedro Meirelles

Eric Hillebrecht

Thanks for sending. This is a beautiful piece of music. I wish it were longer!

It reminds me a lot of one of my favorite composers Jon Brion. The track has a lot of character, emotion, and personality to it. I also love the recording. I am curious if this was done in a room with a mic'd piano or in the box cause the sound and production is great. My guess is live, but with todays technology sonics can be quite amazing.

Big fan here. Really love the track, your style, and production. 100%, great work!

Kolby Knickerbocker submitted media.

Alright with Me by Kolby Knickerbocker

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi Kolby.

Thanks for sending the track. I like it. Intimate yet powerful, delicate, but emotionally charged. Overall i think it has a great feel and i don't have much criticism of the track. Well done. I'll drop you an email.

Jeremy R submitted media.

Live My Grace by JRtheBand

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi Jrtheband.

Like the tune. Sort of reminds me of an acoustic version of a song from the Seattle grunge scene. Almost like a tune that could be on the soundtrack from the movie "Singles". Like the production as well and the use of the harp towards the end. Nice element to being in there. Vocal is nice, a little angsty, but engaging and fitting with the song style. I also dig the lyrics. "Live My Grace" is a great line. Overall great job...

My only critical feedback would be it would have been nice to hear a bridge or a break from the A/B/ arrangement, but otherwise i think you did a nice job here.

I'll keep this track in mind if a project of mine fits the vibe.

Keep on keeping on! 

EH 

Jeremy R submitted media.

Not The Enemy by JRtheBand

Eric Hillebrecht

I like it although i do have some critical notes... 

Overall the vocalist is strong, i like the attitude and energy of it. I feel like possibly a more powerful musical arrangement would have potentially suited the vocalist vibe and angst a bit more, but i'm not mad at it either. I do think the mix could have been more "vocal forward" as the guitars had a nice clean recorded sound, but the vocal sat behind a lot of the mid range elements and cymbals. In a style like this the vocals should be the star mix wise. I also felt like the end lift where the drums and guitars get more energetic could have been produced a little better. At that pivotal moment the production felt a little flat mix wise etc...

So overall, i think the vocals and song are good, but some technical elements got in the way of the track being great. Nice job all around though and thanks for sending along. Hope my feedback is helpful for further productions etc..

Michael Soiseth submitted media.

Cowboy Song by Raygun Carver

Eric Hillebrecht

Has a Lou Reed / David Bowie feel to it. Its haunting with beauty. Sorry i didn't have a chance to do a full review. I have been traveling. Thanks for sending.

Ricardo Temporao submitted media.

Cover Me Up Lyric Video by Brutus Begins

Eric Hillebrecht

Like the dreamy quality of the instrumental and vocal. Airy and engaging. The singing is a little off kilter which works. Very indie quality to it that works. I would have liked to hear a little deviation from the track in general like a bridge or breakdown. Maybe even a full break from the instrumental and just acapella section. Also like the interplay of the two vocals and the section where you get more aggressive in the vocal timbre. Overall a nice track. I'd love to hear more.

Fraser Campbell submitted media.

03 Time For Bed Said Zebedee by Fraser A Campbell

Eric Hillebrecht

Hello Fraser,

Sorry for the delay. I was on vacation.

Really like the track. Something about solo piano is just lovely. Overall, great job.

My only comments would be the following, but like i said i think it is a great piece:

Its a "Time For Bed" type of song / relaxing, but part of me wants to hear a break from the arpeggiated piano. Like a C section, maybe a breakdown where it meanders and lulls the listener in a bit more. Its not a negative comment just something my ear wanted to hear. 

Also, not wanting to take the piece away from where it is, but i'd love to hear some stuff from you with piano and say a cello. Really feel like a cello player on this with the type of expression that instrument can bring would be a nice complement to something you do in the future.

Mix wise it sounds good, the high notes on the piano are a tad bit tacky in the mid range, but nothing major. Its sometimes what you get from the hammers etc. Not sure if this was done with Midi or a live recording, but a different mic approach or an adjustment on the velocity could help. Again, minor point.

Overall, great track and just what i was in the mood for on a cool spring evening as i sip a cocktail.

I'll keep my ear out for the rest of the record once released...

Sound Energy Music submitted media.

King of the Jungle by Sound Energy Music

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi and thanks for reaching out and sharing your music. 

I am a big fan of orchestral music and work with a lot of composers in this field for clients etc.

I am going to be quite critical here as I think that is the most helpful and productive thing when reviewing in a forum like this.

While i like the overall composition i have a few notes on the production / approach.

The sounds you are using are not bad and i really like the timp hits / impact hits. Big and in your face and legit.

My biggest critique would be with the timing of your midi. Even if you use the best sounds and the attack / release is off the instrument will sound "midi" due to this. 

I find this most evident in the drop where you bring in the horns. The sounds aren't bad, but the performance is lacking and sounds programmed and a bit out of time.

I often tell many composers i work with to pay close attention to the attack of midi. If you quantize stuff too hard it often doesn't sound natural. And obviously if it is too loose it sounds sloppy. Orchestral elements need to be paid close attention to when it comes to this. I often will slide strings just a tad early off the beat to give them a more natural pickup. Same with horns. This along with the right amount of reverb and quality sounds can really give you the right feel, motion, and articulation you are looking for. I would really pay close attention to this aspect in your programming.

The back end of the track i like a lot as it picks up and their are a lot of counter melodies which are cool and interesting. It might be a touch too busy in this area as some of the elements are starting to rub just a touch.

Overall, i appreciate you sharing with me and i wanted to point out the above as I think you are so close with this. One of the hardest things is finding great sounds which you have done. I just feel the programming could be a little tighter which will make this track great.

I encourage you to check out some online videos and articles regarding midi orchestration to hone your craft as you are obviously talented, but we can always learn and become better.

I like this article - https://ask.audio/articles/how-to-make-midi-orchestras-sound-more-realistic

There is a wealth of information out there so keep on keeping on and making tunes and i hope this feedback helps with the next one. Feel free to send anything else along if you want further feedback.

Sincerely,

EH

submitted media.

Pretty As A Picture by Freddy Beach

Eric Hillebrecht

Well you came to the right place!

When it comes to surf pop, rock, etc I am instantly transported to the beach and I love that. Being a huge fan of a band called The Elwins, young Rival, and little joy this music really speaks to me and I feel like you did a great job here. 

It seems effortless, natural, and on point for the genre. I like the mix of the sunny vibe, great backing vocals, and almost a "Lou Reed" style delivery at times. It really gives the track a ton of personality. The lyrics are great too.

My only comment on the track would be arrangement (and this always feels a little weird since I am assuming it is finished, but I always want to offer my thoughts) is that the track could use a bridge. I don't believe music needs to be formulaic, but as a listener, at 4 minutes duration, I want a bit of a deviation from the A/B structure. It could be simply dropping down to just drums and backing vocals for 16 bars, or writing a C section that deviates from the chord structure and established melody. Something to just reset the listeners attention is always powerful.

One other note, is i love the outro vibe where it drops down to just bass and drums etc.. Really has a Foster The People "Pumped Up Kicks" vibe. I feel like that would have been cool to use in the front as an intro. You could have book end the track with that as an intro and an outro. Such a cool part of the song it could have been nice to establish it early and then revisit for the outro.

Other then those minor critiques it is a great tune and tru to the genre. I'd happily pitch this via my company and I'd love to hear more. Get in touch here or via my company site.

By The way, love N'orlens. The "All That JAzz" sandwhich at Verti Marte is my go to.

Noelle Micarelli submitted media.

On My Way To You by Noelle Micarelli

Eric Hillebrecht

Hi. Thanks for sending this along. I really dig it.

Very honest, pure, whimsical, and heartfelt. It reminds me of some artists I work with an admire such as Mindy Gledhill, Elizabeth and The Catapult, and even the Moldy Peaches and The Juno soundtrack in its tone and approach. Great instrumentation, and the vocals feel right on this.

Overall, great track. My comments would be it could stand to be longer (cause i want to hear more!). That being said, music is allowed to be any length, but i would love to hear more of this through a bit more of a developed arrangement to feel more like a complete song. Basically, i dig the song and want more.

It feels like in this track you have established a solid melody and lyrics, and an additional section would be great to hear, either developing a chorus, or even taking the B section or "Bridge" at 50 seconds could work as verses. 

Not to get into too much detail and try to arrange your song, but i think with what you have established, a more complete song is not far off. Leaving it short is ok as well. Sometimes short and to the point has its charm as well. The track just had the "arrangement" part of my brain kicking in. 

Minor thing. There is lots of string noise, fret noise, and pickup noise, which bothers some producers, but for me, it adds to the purity and human feel of this track. I dig it, but i thought I'd mention that as well.

So my criticisms above are not really criticisms, but advice to a talented person with a great track and my advice  on taking it to the next level (or just to consider for future tracks you do). What you have is fantastic and if left as is this track is a winner. (I even think i could work with this track with my company)

Thanks for sending.

Natasha-Leigh Smith submitted media.

OMEN by Natasha-Leigh Smith

Eric Hillebrecht

Like the cinematic quality of the track and some nice production ideas. The filters, the snare tricks with verb and different sonic qualities. Love the little sonar beep at 2:20. Solid strings as well. Very minimal, but effective. Also love the harmonizer, multi voice effect at 3:27.

Overall, the track seems like a fastball in the slightly dark, powerful, cinematic, modern pop world with tons of depth.

My only constructive comments would be the filter on the vocal while i like it tends to get the vocal slightly lost with the thick synth at times. It sits pretty well overall, but a few db more on the vocal or a notch out of the synth to give the vocal extra room would be nice.

The vocal is great as well in terms of performance (very soulful and cool on a track like this) out side of 1 or 2 slightly pitchy notes, but with the passion behind the vocal i think it is ok. I think a human quality of imperfection sometimes gets lost in music and so on a different track it might bother me, on this I think it fits. 

Lastly, i think you could shave this track down to 330 / 345. At 4:12 it is a little long and in my opinion it is the length of the chorus. It runs almost a minute at one point. Its not the end of the world, but the chorus got a little repetitive. A solution to combat that would be to maybe drop everything and have the vocal sing the chorus against just piano etc...

Otherwise. Really good track.

I like the Bieber cover on your page (although a little loud and over compressed its a great performance) and among the other stuff i heard. I think this track is a direction you should push in. It does a nice job of combining your soul with an engaging modern cinematic quality. 

Moses biko submitted media.

Far Away by AfriCali eyezon

Eric Hillebrecht

While i am a funk soul junkie and think samples tend to be overused or at least too relied upon this is a great example of a tasty ode to a classic with some AMAZING flow. You sound right on this. Great tone and a perfect complement to the track. I don't have a bad thing to say, i'm buyin what you are laying down on this one.

I think i hear a second rapper pop in towards the end and he is slaying it as well. If that is you great change of tone! Hahaha.

Keep on keeping on...