Vocals are perhaps the most important part of any track, that is of course unless it’s an instrumental - if it’s a-cappella track then it really does matter.
However, many people freak at getting vocals right, here are 5 free tips that anyone can do.
- Practise Makes Perfect
Don’t expect to kill a vocal without working on it before the red light goes on - if you are putting down the vocals then make sure you know every word and note like the back of your hand. If it’s someone you are producing, then make sure they do too. I’ve lost count of vocalist who turn up still not knowing the words and or the melody. It’s only when you know something well that you can truly start performing.
- DIY Pop Shield
If you can’t afford, or need a pop shield in an emergency then you can make one with a metal coat hanger and a pair of stockings - but make sure the person isn’t still wearing them. Simply shaper the metal into a circle - an easy way is by wrapping it around a piece of plastic water pipe and then twist the ends together. Then simply pull the foot of one stocking over the circle and you are done. Clean ones get a better sound!
- Remove Distractions
Lots of vocalists bring their friends and family to give them moral support - but often they actually distract. Don’t ban them, simply make sure the vocalist is fully focussed on what you need, not on having fun with their mates.
- Record Everything
Don’t spend hours trying ideas and then committing only the last two performances to tape - get everything down, practise runs, headphone tests - often you’ll find a gem amongst all the takes you were not expecting.
- Create Different Versions
Get lots of different versions of the performance; close mic, screaming, raunchy, gentle, breathy - many tracks use different styles of a lead vocal throughout a track, get all you can and then comp them later.
So there you go, 5 tricks that cost nothing and can change everything, try them and see what happens - if they don’t improve your vocals then I’ll give you your money back.