IHMV Singer Secrets for Recording | Part 2
How would it feel to make an awesome recording of you singing your favorite song and be able to share it with your friends, family and your fans this summer!
Would you feel fulfilled?
That your voice and heart's desire to sing in the world mattered?
That all the time you've spent hustling to find your voice has been worth it because you're genuinely following your heart and living your life like the superstar you were meant to be?
I believe that great singers arrive at the next level of their craft by doing 3 things:
Recording your voice often
Performing live at least once a month!
I have no desire to just help you sing a little better. I want to help you claim your uniquely awesome voice so you can make a bigger impact and find more opportunities to sing!
Hone in on your talent and passion so you can feel confident when someone says,
"Wow, you sing? I would love to hear you!"
When you have recordings of you singing that capture you at your best, you can't help but want to share your voice with others.
Recording your voice grows your confidence, skill and experience, so you and your voice can leap to the next level!
If you desire to capture your best vocals ever, then I can't wait to coach you on everything I know about recording! Today I'm premiering to you Part 2 of our IHMV Singer Secrets To Recording! Check it out below!
You can also read our previous post here: Part 1: How to Get Your Voice and Song in Peak Performance Shape
Here's Part 2 of our IHMV Singer Secrets to Recording:
What To Do The Day Of Your Recording Session
What you do the morning and day of your recording is super important! The seemingly little things that you do and don't do can make the difference between a great recording session or a missed opportunity!
The count-back technique is super handy at improving your odds of success! Just count back from the time your recording starts and add in reverse order everything you need to do. Do this all the way to the time you need to get up. Once you know what time you're getting up, then you also know what time to go to bed the night before to get your crucial 8-9 hours of sleep!
If you're recording at say, 3pm, count back the time needed to each of the following, listed in reverse order:
Getting ready (don't forget your lyric sheet!)
Having (a light, healthy) lunch
Running through your song a few times without stopping
Spot-checking your challenging sections
Getting a solid rehearsal that includes warming up
Getting in a light jog or workout
If you're like me, I find that I have to wake up around 6am just to barely pull it all off in time!
The count-back technique is one of your biggest keys to recording success, because it gives you a plan and a schedule for getting all of these crucial things done that all play a factor in your having a good recording. You wouldn't want to record on an empty stomach, or without a good vocal warmup! Plus, you can avoid the feeling of rushing or being late, which will mess with your ability to be at peace with your voice.
What you want is to focus on the job at hand: making a fabulous recording that you'll always love! The count-back technique is simple, but super effective.
Don't let this be you on recording day:! LOL!
Once you get to the studio, here's what you need to know to become a quick expert!
What To Do In The Studio (Before You Hit Record)
Before you or the engineer presses the red recording button, you'll be doing short test recordings and listening back a number of times to find the right sounds and settings for your voice. Here's a quick checklist to get yourself situated in the vocal booth!
- The first step is called 'mic placement', which basically is moving the mic around over and over again until you get the perfect sound! This is an absolutely crucial recording step. It's much easier to get a great recorded vocal in the first place than trying to 'fix it in the mix' later by adding a bunch of effects!
- Get the mic at the right height. As a rule of thumb, you want the grill part of the mic to be even with your mouth. You have some creative options; raising the mic above your mouth will give your sound a more nasal tone. Lowering the mic below your mouth will bring out more of a chesty sound. Try moving the mic around and pick what sounds best to you!
- Get the mic at the right distance. 6-12 inches away from you is the sweet spot; and here too you have creative choices. The closer you sing to the mic, the more intimate and breathy your vocals will sound--and your mouth and lip movements will also get picked up more. The farther back you sing from the mic, the more of the 'room sound' will be picked up, which will create more ambience and a more acoustic vibe to your sound. Again, try a few different distances, and choose which one sounds best for your voice and your song!
- Try a different mic. If you're just not happy with the sound of your recorded voice even after trying a few mic placement options, try a different mic. All studios should have at least one other vocal microphone, if not several. Know that you are totally within your rights as a singer and artist to ask to try another mic if you're just not happy with how you sound! If you try another mic, just repeat the mic placement steps above until you've found the mic for you!
- Stay still. As tempting as it is to jam out as you sing, once you find the sweet spot, you want to stay pretty still, because mics are super sensitive, and even tiny movements will lower the volume of your signal! MJ used to drive his recording engineers mad because he could not help but dance while recording his vocals!
- Get your 'headphone mix' set to your preference. In your headphones, you'll hear your voice and your backing track, and possibly a click track (called the 'click'), which is a metronome beat used in studios to help singers record in time. Before you start recording, you want to make sure your voice and the track are loud enough for you to hear. Next, decide how loud you want your voice and the track to be in relation to each other. Decide if you want them to be about the same volume, or one louder than the other. Maybe you really want to hear the backing track so you can hear the beat, or maybe you'd rather hear every detail in your voice. Keep messing with the settings until you're happy, because hearing your headphone mix the way you like it is super important and has a big effect on how you sing. Again, don't let yourself feel rushed getting this right!
- Latency is a pain in the butt. At this point, you're just about ready to start recording! You just have one more thing to listen for--something called 'latency'. Latency is also frequently referred to as a singer's biggest pain in the butt! In a word, latency is a very small delay that you will often hear in your headphones of your recorded voice right after you sing. The reason latency happens is because the signal of your voice has to travel through the microphone cable, into the audio interface, and then back through the headphone cable and into your ears. Even though this happens very quickly, it still very often results in a slight delay by the time you hear in your headphones what you just sang. Fortunately, there are solutions! If you hear any latency, tell your engineer, and they will know exactly how to adjust their music software and/or their hardware gear. There are multiple quick and easy ways to reduce latency. If you're recording at home, try reducing the buffer size in your music software; this should do the trick!
- The Ultimate Recording Rule of Thumb: when in doubt, just refer to those 2 floppy-looking things on the side of your head! Your ears are your ultimate tool and guide in the studio--trust them!
Whew! That seems like a lot just to get ready to record, but trust me, it goes pretty quickly, and this is definitely information you'll want to have to feel empowered and knowledgeable in the studio every time!
Next, here's an overview of how the recording process (also called 'tracking') goes and a few tips to guarantee singing success while you are recording.
What To Do While You Are Recording
Once you start recording, you want maximize your best singing and your studio time you booked. We recommend that you book 2-4 hours to record your lead vocals and background/harmonies per song. There are a few ways to record your song. At IHMV, we usually recommend recording the song once all the way through. This gives you a feel for the whole song, and it warms your voice up again nicely.
After we do a rough draft recording, we like to record each section of the song one at a time, and do several takes until we are happy with that section. We usually go in order: Intro, Verse 1, Prechorus 1, Chorus 1, Verse 2, etc. However, depending on the song or singer, we may start with the chorus, for example. Or we might just only do recordings of the whole song, if the singer wants a really authentic performance.
Whatever order you choose to sing, do as many takes as you need until you are happywith every section of the song.
Also keep in mind that each take is usually better than the last.
Since half the benefit of recording is that you get to try many takes, have some fun and try different things on each take! You can try different phrasing and riffs, as well as different vocal inflections, like slides, vocal crys and frys, flips, and tonal variations. Don't worry too much about how your different takes will sound put together--that's for a later recording stage called 'comping'. Just have fun and get creative!
And finally, make sure to keep drinking water throughout your recording session! Also bring a banana or something nutritious to snack on to keep your energy and focus up.
That's the end of Part 2! Stay tuned for Part 3 of our Singers Secrets to Recording: What To Do After You Record Your Vocals!
At IHMV, we have recorded countless times, from sessions at the same studio in LA where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller to recording in our living rooms. We've seen it all!
That's why we are dedicated to coaching our singers on everything they need to know to make recordings they love, in a supportive, educational atmosphere where your talent can grow. We are a sanctuary for your creative juices to flow, where your voice can be nurtured, and where you can learn, make mistakes...and build your confidence and ability.
If you want to kick your singing up a notch, come to LA to work with me and record your favorite summer song!
Spend the day with me and get your song recorded with our studio engineer Lucas! I'll be there to warm up your voice, work out the challenging sections of your song and coach you through the entire recording session!
Learn more here...
We'd love to bring your voice to life. Get your cover song coached, recorded and mixed in a day, and walk away with a recording you love!
Just hit reply if you have any questions, and let's do this!