Role of a Music Producer – working with singers (by Greg Malocca).
I’ve added this funny video below that highlights the techniques that a music producer will use use when directing musicians, in order to get a great performance in the recording studio. In this instance, the music producer mimics the sound of the drums, as if he was a drum machine! If you are not used to being in a recording studio, this can sound quite bizarre!
Directing Vocalists – key role of a music producer
As a music producer, giving a singer direction can be even more humorous, especially when the producer cannot sing very well! My role as a music producer is to get the best performance out of the singer. I hear all sorts of melodies and ideas coming into my head. Sometimes I will try to get the singer to try these melody changes in order to improve the song. Normally I will try to sing the idea to the singer. Most of the time this does work, however, sometimes the melody might be too high for my vocal range and in that scenario I will turn to a musical instrument like the guitar or piano to play the notes instead. Surprisingly, many singers find this difficult to adapt to a new melody, not because they don’t like the idea, but more so because the original melody is stuck in their heads and they find it difficult to learn the latter, as they keep going back to the old melody. I’ve found that singers who can adapt quickly to these changes are the ones who have a great ear for music and tend to have “pitch perfect” talent. However, not necessarily the most creative singers. But it is interesting to see how different vocalists work.
Another way a music producer will get the best performance out of a singer is by concentrating on different parts of the song. This would not be the way I work with all songs, but with modern pop tracks I will get the singer to sing the whole song a few times to get them “in the zone” so to speak. This will also allow the singer’s voice to warm-up. Once the singer is comfortable in the booth and with the parts, I will get the vocalist to start with e.g. Verse 1. I will then concentrate on getting enough takes and move on when I feel I have each line covered. In Logic 9, there is a very useful feature for comping vocals. You can select different parts of each take and create one super take – this is what “comping vocals” is all about. See pic below…
Role as a music producer recording and comping singers
I’d then move on to other sections of the songs and repeat this technique. Once the main sections are recorded and comped, then I would start to record the harmonies, using the singed off main performances as guides to record with.
Producing Singer Songwriters and bands
As a music producer in Dublin, I am always looking for new upcoming artists and bands in Ireland to work with. I tend to work best co-writing with the artist. If you are interested in working with me please get in contact here
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