Find Your Voice
So I talk a lot about the songwriting and the process and other random things. But what's super important to me (as a former frontman for a band) ...is the vocal performance.
Lead singer joke: "How many lead singers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
He holds it up and the world revolves around him."
You can write the greatest song, build it out with slammin' drums, bass and guitar. But if you lay bad vocals on top...not good. It can kill a song.
So, assuming you can sing moderately well, this blog's for you!
If you cannot, just find a singer to sing your song. We just so happen to have singers available to sing your song if you send it to us at studioautomatic.com
I'm not gonna talk about mics or pre-amps or recording techniques. I'm also not gonna get crazy technical about warming up or vocal exercises;
though those things are important. This is more what I've learned and been able to build on and pass along to folks I produce. It boils down to one big fat thing...
Find your voice.
I can hear the groans from here. I know it sounds a little vague and cheesy. But here's the deal: you have to. When I was transitioning out of being in a rock band; and singing on demos for country songs I had written and was pitching to country artists, I had to find that voice. It needed to be more laid back. Closer to the performances I was hearing on country songs I dug. And I'm not saying I started to add a twang to my voice. That would be cheesy. It was my own voice, more appropriately delivered. Back in the Nixons days, I found my voice out of necessity. I thought if I kinda belted it out; those people at the bar in the back of the room might pay more attention. Then, I was able to build on that and really find the right voice that blended with my band mate's sound. Also, embrace your influences. I loved Roger Daltry and I did everything I could to tap into whatever part of me that could even achieve an ounce of Daltry. I gave it hell!
NOTE: If you smash a guitar and it bounces back up and hits you in the head it will be harder to focus and sing well.
NOTE 2: If you light a down coat on fire in a small bar in Ft. Worth, you won't be able to breath well and so it'll be tougher to sing. Also, don't light things on fire kids.
A young female country singer I worked with was in the booth and just TRYING so hard. And it sounded like...she was TRYING SO HARD. I asked her to come into the control room and I played a song she knew by heart and I said, "sing along". She says, "what?". I told her to just close her eyes pretend she's in her car and just sing. She sounded great. Got back to the booth and killed it.
Think about it.
Then forget everything and sing: from your heart.
Find YOUR voice.