Top 5 Recording Tips For Artists and Songwriters
In Part I of this series, I touched on 5 tips that engineers and/or producers can implement to have great recording sessions.
As a follow-up, Part II will be dedicated to songwriters and recording artists. With years of experience recording in all sorts of studio scenarios (and also being the engineer myself at times), I have observed there are some key things that a recording artist and/or songwriter can do to master each recording session.
Part II: For Recording Artists/Songwriters
Photo: Ami Kim
Tip #1: Memorize Your Lyrics Before the Session
When going into a session with a song you’ve already pre-written, memorizing the lyrics can make a big difference in how powerful your emotional connection is with the song while recording. If you memorize the lyrics beforehand, you can then focus on singing with more feeling (because your mind is not bogged down trying to read something you don’t fully know) and thus the emotionality of the performance stands a higher chance of being captured and also being conveyed to music listeners.
Tip #2: Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before the Session & Stay Hydrated
A great night’s sleep increases stamina, vocal range, proper breathing and the overall health of the vocal muscles – which is especially needed for extended vocal use in studio sessions. Lack of sleep leads to a tired body and subsequently the likelihood that the vocal cords will tire and strain easier as well. Physical exhaustion can also lead to breathing improperly which can lead to an even higher risk of hoarseness and vocal fatigue. 7-9 hours of sleep before a session is recommended for optimum vocal performance. Also, don’t forget to hydrate! Hydrate with non-caffeinated beverages such as water or herbal tea. Stay away from drinking dairy products (they can produce extra mucus around the vocal folds) and caffeinated drinks (caffeine dries out the vocal cords) before and during a session.
Tip #3: Warm Up Your Voice Before Recording
Even though it is not a live performance, it still is a performance – just a recorded one. Therefore, all the vocal exercises that you would do before performing live can be done before a studio session. The voice is an instrument AND also a set of muscles. Therefore, doing warm-ups before recording reduces the risk of strain and also increases the longevity of your vocal stamina while recording.
Tip #4: Communicate Your Needs Before & While Recording
As expressed in Part I, communication is KEY in regards to having a great session. And specifically as an artist or songwriter, if there are certain elements in the studio session that you like in order to set the mood such as low lighting, room-temperature water, kale chips, fluffy pillows, strobe lights, etc. express this to the producer or engineer. Additionally, if you like to record with certain mixing effects such as reverb or echo, articulate this to the engineer as well. During the recording session, be open and consistent in asking the engineer what parts will be recorded next or what is needed from you if you are unclear about it. Seamless communication helps everyone involved run the studio session efficiently and smoothly -which can also save both time and money.
Tip #5: Express Gratitude
During the recording process, there can be a number of people involved in the orchestration of a studio session. Everyone from musicians, producers, engineers, assistants, managers, and possibly additional artists and songwriters all play an equally monumental role in co-creating a great song. No matter what role someone holds, thank everyone involved in the session and if you are able, sending small gifts or thank-you notes afterwards is a great extra step to show gratitude. Appreciation and kindness not only go a long way in the hearts of others but also helps instill the practice of gratitude in every professional situation – and naturally inspires others to want to collaborate with you in the future.
Interested in reading Part I of this article series? Click Here.
About the featured blogger: Ami Kim is currently a topline songwriter and vocalist for DivineTracks.com and is based between Daegu, South Korea and Los Angeles.