Working with a lot of newer vocalists, I regularly record people who have never sung in front of a studio microphone. They may be great at singing along with music live in the room, but may never have sung wearing headphones. Maybe they have a great sound one day, but the next, they're worn out.
Whether you're a seasoned vocal-booth pro or a relative newbie, there's always a few things you can do to make sure you capture the best of what you have to offer.
1. Know your best time of day
If you can, book your vocal session at a time when you KNOW your voice will be the best it can. Basses & altos can many times can hit those lower notes first thing in the morning, whereas tenors/sopranos may need a few more hours into the day before they are warmed up.
2. Know your material
There's not much more frustrating (for all parties involved) than getting into a vocal session and not knowing the material you're recording. The more familiar you are with your song, the easier it will be for you to perform it in a way that brings across the emotion and meaning.
You should spend time focusing on knowing the song structure, lyrics, and melodies. Know how other melodies or rhythms in the background elements of the song affect and inform and interact with your melody. Know what measures the different parts of the song start at, how many beats you rest before coming back in, and practice any difficult melodic jumps.
THIS IS YOUR SONG. Know as much info about it as you can. The sound engineer won't know what you're supposed to be singing, so unless you have a producer in the room coaching you, you're his only source of information.
3. Get rest before the session
Singing may be a lot of fun, but it takes a ton of energy, especially when having to repeat a performance several times over. Recording can be a tedious process that drains your energy very quickly. If you are already tired going into a vocal session, you will not be able to give your best performance, and you will not be happy with your results. There's also a lot of stuff going on that you need to be awake and alert for, such as listening back and analyzing your vocal performance for editing.
4. Prepare mentally and physically
Getting that knock-out vocal take requires preparing your mind and body. Before going into the session, spend time visualizing how you are going to sing it flawlessly. Doing this will help ease any anxiety and boost your confidence. If you already have put in the song material prep (Step 2 above), then you're not worrying about the notes, timing, etc. You've got that! Now comes time to think about what your song MEANS. How will you communicate the emotion of the song, and connect to your listeners?
You should dress comfortably in non-restrictive clothing. Do some breathing exercises and stretches beforehand to relax you even more. Vocal warm-ups are great before and even during the session to stretch your vocal chords. Even simple things like yawning open up your throat and improve the way you sound.
5. Bring any supplies you will need
Come to your vocal session with anything you would need to be successful. This could be lyric sheets, flash drives with files you need for the engineer, throat spray, water, tea, healthy snacks, comfort stuffed animal. Don't assume the studio will have everything you need, don't trust you'll remember every part of the song, and don't expect the engineer to have the files you need. Preparing for any situation helps to get rid of the chance of wasting time and money.
6. Communicate with the engineer
If you don't like how something sounds, speak up! Need help getting a better mix in your headphones? Ask for it! You're the client, and so your opinion is the one that matters most. It's your music, so you need to be happy with the sound of the mix.
If you want to know more about booking a recording session with Filament Productions, click the link below to request a quote.