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Secrets to a Great Vocal Recording


If you wonder, “Will people like this?”, you will counteract everything you are trying to do as an artist —says Tony Harnell, award winning lead singer of TNT

Great songs are key to a great recording. Before you get serious about a studio recording session, you have got to have high quality songs.

Rehearse, record and play your songs in front of friends. You don’t need everybody’s approval, but you as an artist must have absolute confidence that your songs have something truly special.

It’s all about the songs.

Go into your studio session with at least three songs, even if you are aiming for a single.

There is always at least one song that doesn’t go as planned. It is great if you have originals, but you can certainly choose covers.


I recommend you turn covers on their heads—your version should bring a whole new perspective to the song.

First and foremost, your music should support your personality and type of voice.

If a band is not playing to its singer’s strengths, then the band should rethink what they’re doing.

Even the greatest singers are not great at everything—they have strengths in certain areas.

The artistic decisions (song choice, key, arrangements, etc.) should bring out those strengths.

The band will sound best if everyone plays to his or her strengths, but there is no compromising on the vocals.

Don’t think about the song’s commercial viability while you are recording.

Instead, focus on making the song as good as it can possibly be.


If you wonder, “Will people like this?”, you will counteract everything you are trying to do as an artist.

Do you think Freddie Mercury was wondering about that when he wrote “Bohemian Rhapsody”? That’s the weirdest song ever—but people love it!

Whether on the stage or in the studio, your job as an artist comes down to one word: communication.

You could be an unusual, closed-up type of person—like Prince, for example—but when he gets in the studio, he is communicating—big time.

You must give yourself permission to be naked emotionally.

Reach through that microphone and grab the heart of your listener, hold it in your hand and make him or her feel what you are feeling. That’s how you make a great recording.


Tony Harnell is best known for his work lead singer of the Norwegian hard rockers TNT. His accomplishments include numerous gold and platinum awards; sold out concerts worldwide; five top requested MTV videos; as well as a Grammy in Norway for “Rock Album of the Year.” In May 2013, he released a nine-song EP called Tony Harnell and the Wildflowers featuring Bumblefoot. A video for the first single, “Burning Daylight” premiered in June 2013. Tony Harnell’s website.

  • Poppa Madison

    And where do I find the vocal “fountain of youth” at this time of life ?

  • Marcelo

    Create and find your own. Always.
    Don’t just sit and wait for it to happen. It wont.