Invest in the right producer and you’ll see huge dividends for your recording project –says Judy Rodman
Recording projects, like gardens, bloom much better with less wasted time and resources if you plan them.
Wise pre-production also makes you less vulnerable to scams and fraud.
There are many kinds and levels of recording projects – from single instrument/vocal demos to full band major-market-radio-ready productions.
If you’re signed to a record label, many decisions will be out of your hands. But if you have control, here are some pre-production steps you should consider:
Research and choose your producer carefully!
Your producer will be the head of your chain of command. Search the Internet; get recommendations from industry insiders, entertainment attorneys and other clients with whom that person has worked as to the person’s business ethics, musical sense, and timeliness of delivering final product.
Try to make sure you and your producer are on the same page about the artistic results you’re going for, within your budget constraints.
Know how the producer wants to be paid… how much is the fee? Does the producer require ‘points’ (a percentage of all sales)?
Your Pre-Recording Checklist
Consider the following options with your producer:
• The composition of the production team … will you need a vocal producer, a second engineer, an outside mix or mastering engineer?
• Where you will get your songs … will you write or co-write, will your producer gather songs or set up listening sessions at publishing companies?
• Whether or not you will use musician union players… non-union can be cheaper but union musicians will get you the best quality tracks per hour of studio time.
• The studio time you will devote to tracks. The fewer songs per session, the more creative experimenting they can do when recording.
• The instrumentation and background vocals needed for each song.
• Where you will record your project. Will you use smaller rooms for vocals and mix?
• What you will need for packaging graphics and duplication. Don’t forget photography.
Other Pre-Production Steps
• Decide when to track, do vocals, mix, master. My strong suggestion is to track first, give yourself time to rehearse with rough tracks, then do your final vocals.
• Get mechanical song licenses so you can legally sell your project!
• Consider pre-production vocal lessons, choose keys, work out arrangements.
• Get instrumental charts written.
NOW you’re ready to record!
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Kleio – “Love The Way You Lie” (Cover)
Fantastic! Wow, you have the vocal ability as well as emotional elements necessary to do this song justice. Here and there you are singing a bit sharp… it may be due to the track not being loud enough for you to hear. To help widen your ribs for more vocal control… use more active body language. Use your hands for communicating, not for moving your hair. Your voice is well worth tweaking… great job!
Fong Lee – “Let Me Love You” (Cover)
You clearly love this song choice… your body language shows you are really into it. And you are doing what I recommend singers do to learn style authentically… practice singing along WITH a master at the style. However, for recorded performance like this you need to be able to sing without the other singer. Take the plunge… get some tracks without leads and see what your voice can bring to it!
Dziemian – “It Will Rain” (Cover)
Beautiful song for you! I really enjoy the lower key you chose to sing it in, most of the time your resonance is rich and compelling. I would like to hear you sing with less stress in your upper range. Try pulling your high notes up and back, twisting your torso slightly without lifting your chin. The last tip is actually what I would have suggested to Bruno☺ It should make your highs richer… and easier!
Judy Rodman is an award-winning vocal coach, session singer, recording artist, songwriter, producer. Creator of “Power, Path and Performance” vocal training, named “Best Vocal Coach” by NashvilleMusicPros.com, she trains singers and speakers nationally and internationally. Judy authored PPP vocal training courses, “Singing In The Studio”, “Vocal Production Workshop”.