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This past Sunday I was sitting in a recording session. [Jungle Life Studio here in Vallejo, Ca.] During the recording session a young man was given the opportunity to display his talents and potentially get signed to the local record label. Unfortunately, he blew it... 🤦♂️
In this article I'm going to give you guys a few tips on how you can kill your next recording session!
Let's get into it ✊🏽
Create an itinerary with your recording engineer/producer
Photo by: https://musicoomph.com/
Its always a great idea to have a plan. I advise you to get with your producer/engineer to map out your session. Split up your recording session into sections. The hardest being the first and then moving on to the next. This is also a great time to discuss what you plan on accomplishing during the recording session and this will also help you determine how much time you need to get everything done in an efficient manner. Remember, this is your business and it should be treated as such.
Maybe... leave the entourage home
I get it... It's cool to have family friends by your side rooting you on. They offer you advice and let you know when they hear something special. But at the same time that advice they give, especially from non-musicians in your entourage, can make you over think and sometimes make you change your mind about an idea that already sounds great. Remember when enter a recording session, it's all business or at least it should be. So I suggest leaving the homies at home and focusing on YOUR music. This will especially help with time management and keeping the creative energy in the room flowing. After all, if you're in a music studio, you'll be surrounded by people who are inspired by sound and seek to do the same to the people they meet.
DO NOT get f*cked up!
I cannot even count the amount of times I spoke with a producer/engineer who had a recording session that at ended up with everyone just hanging out because the artist was too jacked up to perform. Again, I get it... you're rock star, someone put you on or you're in the process of growing your popularity. But, let's be real, you're not at the point in your career to where you can just mess around and do whatever you want. You have a job to do... In fact, everyone in the studio does and one of those jobs is not babysitting.
Don't get me wrong, there's no problem with getting lifted but rendering yourself useless is not going to get you closer to your goal.
Just focus on what needs to get done and pop bottles or blaze one, once you've gotten something worth celebrating!
Practice, Practice, Practice
I’ve came across a lot of artist who claim they’re so naturally talented that they do not need to practice. Truth of the matter is, YOU DO! Nothing is more annoying for us producers/engineers to enter a recording session where the artist is not ready. If you’re not ready, you’re wasting your time, you engineers/producers time and more importantly, your money! Prior to your session you should already have a clear idea of which direction you want your song to go, you should have your lyrics memorized and you should know the musical elements of the song (BPM, Song Key, Chord Changes and other relevant information) before you get to the studio.
So… get to practice!!!! Seriously, some of you artist really need to be told.
If you booked a 4 hour recording session from 4pm to 8pm, the clock starts at 4pm and stops at 8pm whether you’re there or not. So, get there on time! In fact, treat it like an interview and arrive 15mins early. I know several studios that charge a non-refundable deposit to reserve your time with a minimum of at least $50.
So get there on-time and make your investment worth it!
Arrive on time and leave your ego at the door. If your budget allows you to, reserve extra time for experimentation. Do not forget to practice a few nights before your session, when you step in the booth you should be able to knock it out in a timely manner.
Remember when I mentioned that maybe you should leave your entourage at home? You should really consider this suggestion. The studio should be relaxed and creative. You, your producer and engineer(s) should not have to worry about people chatting and being a distraction. Allow yourself to let loose and give yourself the opportunity to let the music you’ve been working so hard on really shine!
Also, stay positive! Things will go wrong and this can be very frustrating but don’t let these things bring you down. After all, we’re human and humans make mistakes. So, take the clutter, the turmoil, the chaos and use it as fuel. Be open to the experience. Listen to the advice. Encourage your bandmates, producers, songwriters and engineers.
Have a vision, but don't crack-the-whip.
Making records is a team effort and in this day in age, releasing music is easier than ever. The hardest part of the process is being seen. So, get creative and make something memorable. You may surprise yourself!
Oh… and lastly, bring snacks! Healthy snacks packed with protein and nutrients to keep your mind sharp and body moving’!
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