Advice on getting a pro vocal track

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Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by simonja » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:26 pm

Hi All

I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on finishing a song with a strong vocal, please.

I'm not a singer. 'nuff said. ;) I have a song - Better As One https://soundcloud.com/si_jackson/better-as-one/s-hBOxN - about written and have thought about using Studio Pros (https://studiopros.com/) for the vocalist. I've used Studio Pros before and they were quick, professional, and good - but not necessarily cheap (although my experience is limited.)

I did an informal key check with Studio Pros and that's cool. For the vocal, they recommend "at least a lead and 3 backing vocals. It'd be cool if he doubled the lead in the chorus + added 2 additional harmonies on the chorus".

I was really only thinking about the lead, but would just a single lead vocal track cruel a demo? Or should I just start with the lead, and if it's not enough pay the extra for a double track, backing vocals, etc.?

I appreciate any advice, comment.

Best

Si

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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by funsongs » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:28 pm

Hi, Si.
I'm not a POP specialist - but at any rate, it would probably be helpful to know what kind of artist you envision this to pitch to, or be on a playlist with;
A solo singer-songwriter like an Ed Sheerin; or group known for their multiple voices/harmonies?

I'd say - if it's a demo - don't make the listener have to read your mind; offer up your most complete idea.
Others can always make changes, but they can't interpret what's NOT there.
Hope that makes sense.
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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by annayarbrough » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:19 am

Hey Simon!

Check out SoundBetter.com - I work through them (piano though, not vocals!) but they have a great range of singers at about every price point you can think of. Plenty of them have several vocal samples so you can get an idea of what you're getting. SoundBetter also has a great tool where you can add more work/funding to a project if you do decide you want extra layers later on.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by Len911 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:20 pm

I always wondered how that worked. Do you send the melody with all the melisma for the lead vocals, and also send the harmony parts for the vocalists to sing?
Or do you just send a demo of your own voice, and let the vocalists themselves make the production/arrangement decisions?? Or do they do a demo of the demo?
Just curious.
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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by mojobone » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:26 pm

Given the genre, heavily processed backing vocals shouldn't be a dealbreaker, so if you tune, stack and hyper-compress those, maybe add a smidge of formant-processing, you could get away with what you've got. This kinda music lives or dies by the lead vocal, the mix and the processing, so I say if you gotta spend, spend on a lead singer.

And I'm not just saying that as someone who sells his singing as well as the songs. [winks]

If you feel like it'll sound more polished and accessible with multiple backup singers recorded simultaneously, you could maybe ask for a package price, if you have that sort of relationship with the vendor, but usually that comes when you start booking in bulk. I know a lot depends on location and competition; typically a singer likes to book a three-hour session, a really good one can knock out 3 takes plus corrections in about 15 minutes, so it's cheaper or about the same money to record a dozen tracks as one. Some of the best singers, not top tier, but real pros are $100/hr with a 3 hour minimum, but if you have enough work to block-book them, they can and do offer discounts.

Thing is, if this is a demo, and you're looking at three singers for one hour/one track, that's about $300 just for the singers, then there's the room and the engineer. There's no guarantee of a return on the investment. I'd be wary of paying demo rates, cuz you end up with a track you can't really license; I theenk what I would do is get a $300/hr singer for an hour and re-build the mix around what will presumably be a terrific vocal take.
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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by simonja » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:34 pm

Hi Len911, the way I've done it is to send a worktape with my rough vocal tracked - including backing vocals etc. In addition to the full mix I also provide a mix with just the backing track (i.e. no vocals) and a lyric sheet. Studio Pro allows one re-take. So they provide a mix with the completed vocal, and I then have the chance to review and ask for modifications to that take - within 3 days, I think. Once the customer has agreed to the take, the vocal is mixed down to WAV and provided as a download ready to mix into the master. I hope that makes sense! :)

Studio Pro are pretty clear and helpful with their instructions.

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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by mojobone » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:44 pm

Len911 wrote:I always wondered how that worked. Do you send the melody with all the melisma for the lead vocals, and also send the harmony parts for the vocalists to sing?
Or do you just send a demo of your own voice, and let the vocalists themselves make the production/arrangement decisions?? Or do they do a demo of the demo?
Just curious.
Like making babies, it happens most anyway it can. I've had folks send scratch tracks, (most common) notation, WAV or MP3 files of the requested lines played by a variety of instruments and more than once as MIDI files.

When I hire a singer, I'm usually present to help guide their interpretation, but especially when I'm not, I want make sure to leave some room for their creativity; I don't map out every grace note.
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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by simonja » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:48 pm

Well said, mojobone. Singers are artists too and they can tease out nuances in the song I didn't expect. Thank you for excellent advice above. I appreciate it.

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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by Len911 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:07 am

There's no guarantee of a return on the investment. I'd be wary of paying demo rates, cuz you end up with a track you can't really license
Mojo makes a good point! What are you going to use the final track for? If roi is at all a consideration.

Imo, before I would send out a song, I'd get it peer reviewed, get 3 or 4 of those $25 taxi reviews,lol, before spending the money on professional services. It's too late after you've spent the money. Don't overlook the collaboration section on the forum either.
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Re: Advice on getting a pro vocal track

Post by mojobone » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:14 pm

Excellent point; as a member, you can submit any track for a custom review by industry pros for a nominal fee, and you get to be specific with a question or three.
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