Vocal Pre-Production...What the hell is that?

For the past few months I have had this crazy idea that vocal pre-production needs to become a regular part of the recording process for local and regional artists. Call me crazy, but this can make or break your recording...melodies,lyrics and delivery are the key to connecting with your listening audience. 

"okay cool...but WHAT THE HELL IS IT?!?!?"

I'm glad you asked...

From my research and inference, it seems to be a pretty flexible term. "pre-production" in itself means to start working on a project before you actually get into the studio. In a way where you can really zero in on parts you want to add to songs, layering and overall ear-candy. The biggest benefit to pre-production is that you know almost exactly how you want to execute each song before you even hit the studio. When we apply this process to vocals only though...something really clicks. Not many people consciously think about all the possibilities well placed vocal candy can add and ultimately elevate your recordings. 

When you boil it down, vocal production looks like you, a "producer" and maybe some light recording software stuck in a room, cranking through songs. Really assessing each melody and lyric and how it adds to the tune. Trying different melodies, harmonies, gang vocals, ooo's/ahh's and all that stuff you normally don't think about until you're in the thick of vocal tracking. 

 

"Cute..but really....why do I need it?" 

#1. Remember when I said vocals are the biggest thing connecting you and your audience? It's true. Ask anyone to sing a line of their favorite song and most of the time they can do it with ease (even if it sounds like death)....now ask that same human to recite the chord progression. If you ask a musical human you might get an answer, but the laymen will be like.... "GURL, what the hell you talking about?"

see what I mean?

They need to be on point to be memorable. 

#2. The more ears the better, every vocal recording I have been a part of things that really make my performance and the song itself shine were ideas from others. For example, in our song "Hendrick's Ocean" there is a little "Ahhoo" in the choruses...I thought I had all of the vocal stacks figured out until one of my 10 year old students threw the idea my way. And guess what?

IT MADE THE SONG

if you have vocal minded people who are willing to help you elevate ..use it. 

 

A few hours to comb through your songs with someone talented who cares and is excited about the project is an investment that I strongly suggest everyone make at least once in their career. You'll learn a lot, your recording will kick that much more ass, and you'll go into your vocal tracking more confident than you ever have before. 

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Madeline Finn