Natalie Holmes supported Gabrielle Aplin, and has cultivated a successful YouTube channel and online presence as an independent singer-songwriter.
She explains how raw talent and one-takes may be the way forward for singing videos.
1. Treat YouTube as gig practice
I started posting videos back in 2010. It was so encouraging being able to put myself out there virtually before I did so physically, as it built my confidence, and skills!
It also gave me a constant urge to create, knowing I had an audience.
If you’re looking for a place to start out and build yourself up a bit before gigging to a real audience, it’s a really great tool.
2. Go back to basics with recording equipment
I usually always use my iPhone for videos now. I used to own a HD FlipCam but it soon became that phones were BETTER quality, so there was no point using it!
Admittedly it is tricky having to build towers out of random stuff in your room to balance your phone at the right height and angle… But you could be organised and buy a phone tripod!
For audio, I use a RODE NT1A condenser microphone that I bought years ago. It’s a really great affordable mic and I’ve never felt the need to buy another one.
I record on Logic and up until very recently always just used iMovie to edit.
3. Let your talent do the talking
To be honest, I’m becoming more and more of a fan of videos recorded entirely on a phone.
You get a natural roomy sound that means whatever you’re hearing is GENUINE talent and you know the audio hasn’t been manipulated in any way.
That would work fine for simple acoustic videos, just make sure you get the levels right between your voice and instrument as you won’t be able to adjust them separately afterwards!
Phones these days are such good quality you can easily get away with it.
4. Perform like it’s a live show
I prefer recording videos where the whole thing is one shot and one track.
It’s a really satisfying thing when you can perform a song start to end with one instrument and your voice and make it work, without adding extra instruments and backing vocals etc.
It forces you to be inventive with how you build the song throughout and again adds to the authenticity and shows talent. Plus, then if you want to perform it live you can!
If you’re making the video look ‘live’, make it sound live too.
5. Let your subscribers grow organically
It took about a year to get 100 subscribers, just posting covers and originals recorded on my built-in webcam.
I remember wanting to post every day but feeling I shouldn’t over saturate it! I continued in this way and it just snowballed bit by bit.
Building a fan-base on YouTube requires a lot of commitment and regular videos, especially nowadays to cut through the mass of people doing the exact same thing!
You do have to prepare for the odd negative comment too, as people use the computer barrier to say things they would never in real life, but you soon learn to laugh at them.
U.K singer/songwriter Natalie Holmes accompanied trance legends ‘Above & Beyond’ as the new female vocalist on their Acoustic II world tour, performing to sold out audiences at the Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House to name a few. Popular UK TV show ‘Made in Chelsea’ featured Natalie’s song, Backwards in one of their episodes. Shortly after this, leading American ice cream brand ‘Breyers’ chose her cover of The Youngbloods hit Get Together for their national TV commercial. Natalie has also been attracting the attention of BBC Introducing, plus celebrity blogger Perez Hilton who featured her song Safety Net, saying “she’s a real artist!”