It's a widely held belief that the singer can make or break a song. Recording producers are there to make sure the instrumental tracks and overall project sounds great. They may help craft the arrangement and overall emotional impact of the record. Unfortunately, even if they are talented musicians, many don't understand how to bring the best performance out of the most important part of the track - the vocalist.
In this article, you'll discover what to look for in vocalist producing services.
Great Communication Skills
The studio environment can be sterile and static, hindering the singer's creative energy. A vocal producer goes in and helps exclusively with the vocals to bring out the best performance. Singing is about communication and connection. The vocal producer helps with the singer's note choice, vocal arrangement, rhythm, dynamics, pitch, and more to get enough takes for the final compilation and mix. A vocal producer must be able to offer constructive criticism in a tactful manner to keep the singer feeling at ease.
Vocalist producing services typically include consultations prior to your recording session. During this session, the producer can get a feel of your voice and skill and discuss what you're hoping to accomplish with your songs. From there, they can recommend how to prepare your voice and your music to achieve the sound you want.
Working Knowledge of Gear and Recording Setup
The next important thing to look for in a vocal producer is their knowledge of studio gear. Vocal phonation occurs as a result of the singer's own sonic loop in their head. Something as simple as the microphone or headphone mix can alter that loop and force the singer off-pitch. You want a vocal producer that understands microphone type and placement and how EQing and FX affect the final sound.
Ask about gear and microphones that work best with your voice. There is an array of genres and specializations a producer could take on. Use song references to give an idea of what you want your final project to be. This informs the gear needed, any vocal effects to be added later, and how you should prepare leading up to the recording session.
Comping, Mixing, and Mastering
Comping is the process of going through each recorded take and producing the final perfect compilation. Due to nerves or the creative process, singers give their best version of the song on different takes. Comping requires going line by line, or word by word, to pick the best versions. The artist is typically present during the comping process to sign off on final choices. The mixing and mastering process involves balancing the levels to blend your vocals seamlessly with the instrumental track.
Not all vocal producers are involved in the comping process or the final mix and master but they can offer vital input. This is especially true in cases where the record producer doesn't have a lot of experience with vocals.
The human voice is a biological instrument. It's imperfect and unique from person to person. Choose the vocalist producing services that know how to customize their approach to your unique needs. Listen to their previous work to gauge how well you'll work together.