Many of the artists I work with contact me because of the vocal performances I’ve captured in various records. Let’s be frank, capturing a compelling and engaging lead vocal is the single most important ingredient of any recording.
For the artist, recording vocals is a rich gumbo of anxiety and joy simmered in the reality of physical demands placed on the tiny muscles known as vocal chords.
The producer has to embrace a prime directive. The imperative is to set aside ego, preconceptions, and judgement, and help the artist GET that PERFORMANCE. Yes, we may equally assume the roles of Mad Scientist, Therapist, and Best Friend in the process.
My perception is that there are two elements that must be carefully balanced: The Heart and The Head.
The Heart is the intangible. What will help facilitate a great performance? The lighting of the room, fresh water, thoughtful feedback, the right time of day, patience, or even silence, each of these can be the key.
The Head is the technical side. Choosing the right microphone(s), preamp, compressor to capture the recording. Editing, Comping, EQing, and also Tuning, are just the beginning elements that make the vocal sound great in the final mix.
As this FAQ evolves, I’ll discuss these two elements in detail. Stay tuned.