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Vocal Tips for Studio Recording, by Jeannie Deva

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Jeannie Deva in studio with Mandy Moore

Jeannie Deva in studio with Mandy Moore

The voice is the signature of a band. Over time songs will change, the musical style may even vary, but fans can always recognize their favorite bands by the lead singer’s sound. How to achieve a recorded vocal track that has much personality, punch and power as in a live performance is often the illusive “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” sought after by many a producer. While there is much that goes into this, here are two pointers taken from my twenty-two years experience as a recording session vocal coach and thirty-three years teaching singers of all styles.
The Art of Recording
Headset mix and mic choice make an incredible difference in how you perform and the ease with which you are able to sing (or not). Take the time to work with your engineer and get it adjusted at the beginning of the vocal session. Work on it until you have absolutely no attention on the mix and can perform undistracted. It is about how you, not the engineer, like the sound and volume in your headset. On occasion, the brand of headset can cause an alteration of the natural EQ (EQ: Equalization = deals with the balance or alteration of low, mid-range and high frequencies) of your voice making it sound thinner, bassier, or muffled. Try singing with several different brands of headsets. When you find one you like for its fit, weight and sound, you might buy one of your own and bring it to your sessions. Each mic treats sound differently. True for both studio and stage, the mic you use must be matched to your vocal characteristics. If not you can find yourself unconsciously manipulating throat muscles as you fight the tonal alterations made by the mic. Sometimes the problem is not the fault of the headset or mic but the result of incorrect or non-existent vocal warm-up and poor vocal technique leading to strain, pitchyness and lack of vocal ease. In this case, rushing into the studio before being ready reaps frustration, disappointment and wasted money.
Song Delivery and Performance Skills
Through your recorded track, you must attract your listener’s attention. Your voice and emotion must reach out through the recording and create an emotional effect. To achieve this, when you sing in the studio you must bring to your song the same energy and believability that your audience would expect of you in a live performance. This is also why I recommend that artists perform their material to live audiences prior to going into the studio. To help your song have presence and energy even though recorded in the more “sterile” environment of a studio, you must create the illusion of singing to someone. Don’t create mental image pictures of someone and sing to the person in your mind. That will diminish your energy and the vitality of the song as it removes you from the present. Sing the song as though the person is in front of you now. It is up to you, the singer, to integrate all the components of singing, performing and recording to reach through the track and connect and engage your listening audience.
Jeannie Deva is a celebrity master voice and performance coach as well as a recording studio vocal specialist. She has worked with and is endorsed by engineers and producers of Aerosmith, Elton John, Bette Midler, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. Seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels, Jeannie has been interviewed as a celebrity guest on talk shows internationally. She is the author of the globally acclaimed “Contemporary Vocalist” series and “Deva Method Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs” CD. Creator of the internationally acclaimed Deva Method®, Complete Vocal Technique for Stage and Studio™, certified Deva Method teachers are located on east and west coasts of the U.S. and in Sydney, Australia. Clients include Grammy award winners, Multi-Platinum Recording Artists, American Idol Finalists, Rock Band Icons J. Geils Band and Foghat, singers for Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Sting, Pink, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera and more. Deva’s private voice studios are located in Brentwood, CA and “The Valley”in Los Angeles. She also consults and teaches singers around the world via Internet web cam.
© 2010. Jeannie Deva and The Deva Method are registered trademarks and owned by Jeannie Deva Enterprises, Inc.
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3 Responses to “Vocal Tips for Studio Recording, by Jeannie Deva”

  1. Justina says:

    I like this statement below.I will use it during my next session.

    “Sing the song as though the person is in front of you now. It is up to you, the singer, to integrate all the components of singing, performing and recording to reach through the track and connect and engage your listening audience”

  2. Denise Steilberger says:

    So true is the connecting with someone especially when you are in your own studio. I will now always view a live audience or that someone special being in front of me. thank you for the reminder.

  3. Guy Soltesz says:

    Great Stuff,

    I’ve been playing around with songwriting for a long time now, and I am well aware of the distortion that integrates on your vocal muscles.
    It is the most frustrating thing I have ever done so far, and it sets your voice back twice as long to recover. Shorter the session for me the better.
    I know the heavy hitters for mics, but I am on a budget. Any recommendations for affordability with this would be greatly appreciated.
    Keep the tips coming.

    Guy Soltesz
    Six13 Productions

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