Saturday, June 9, 2007

recording your vocals... how much should it cost?

I have had a lot of fun in the studio lately- I did some vocal production with new artists Catherine Hagen, Memphis Cole & Darby Haas at Ronny Light's little house studio. They were just doing piano or guitar demos, not full track productions, but they all were happy they hired a vocal producer. (And that made ME happy!) The studio can be a strange, disconnected and uncomfortable place to sing, even for people very confident in live performance. They each actually gained a lot of knowledge about studio singing, and gained new vocal opposed to trial and error without any guidance. They also ended up with recordings of their voices that they'll feel confident letting people hear.

When you're considering how much money you want to spend on your studio project, ask yourself:
  • Are you really vocally ready for a master ready-to-sell project?

If not, consider saving your big bucks till later and do your own "artist development" homework...

  • Get some vocal training
  • Buy some cheap gear and experiment recording yourself. When you feel pretty good about your level of ability...
  • Get a simple guitar or piano track made (or get ready-made tracks if you can find what you want).
  • Schedule recording your vocals with a professional who can help jump-start your learning process. Your engineer may be able to help, but make sure he does knows how to direct you.

Another way I recommend highly for getting your project done is this:

  • Pick your producer
  • Write and/or find your songs (your producer should help a lot with this process)
  • Do some pre-production to find your best keys and tempos for each song
  • Get the tracks recorded while doing "scratch vocals" so you're SURE of the tempos and keys.
  • IMPORTANT... don't immediately go sing your master vocals. Wait at least three weeks and work with your tracks (preferably with a good vocal coach). Even though you know your songs, they will feel differently when you sing with your new tracks. Your voice needs to learn the "dance".
  • When you're confident, schedule your master vocal recording dates (preferably with a good vocal producer)

And note that your vocal producer CAN be different from your track producer. Many producers use specialists such as vocal producers as part of the team.

Final note... I know recording can be expensive but how much would you spend on a college education? If you have the right team with you, there will be no regrets. Don't waste your money. My advice is to know what you expect the end results to be and get the size production, and the right team, to make that happen.

I'm happy to answer your questions about recording. Just click on "comments" below or email me: