When you watch the Olympics, the athletes’ coaches are pretty visible, and create a powerful team with the athlete. The same is true with pro sports: football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer… The coaches are such a key component.
The higher the stakes, and the higher up you go, the more this bond is necessary. A tennis player can have a good time at tennis without an instructor, but probably won’t become pro or get to Wimbledon.
Many singers have had the experience of going into the recording studio without a vocal producer or coach guiding and assisting them. They may have been happy with their final recording, but frequently that’s not the case.
The guidance is the same with vocals as with sports. The vocal producer’s role is to assist and facilitate the singer during recording, so they have their best performance as the outcome. And some singers are ‘pro’ at singing on stage, but may not have that day in and day out recording studio experience.
Working with your vocal producer/coach on your recording will let you relax or get energized, so you can focus on your performance. You have your support person there to make sure every line is clean, the mood and energy of the song is captured, words are well pronounced— and for any problem high notes or difficult lines, your coach is there to help you in the moment with the issues at hand. This peace of mind that the recording is going to turn out well, and in a timely way, is so valuable.
Just like in sports, the high dollar singers rely on good coaching all the more. A few years ago, I read an article on Rihanna’s single that had just come out… The record producer made $18,000 per song on the project, and the vocal producer made $20,000 per song. By nature of the performance, sports coaches are more visible and high profile than singing coaches, but the function is largely the same. Teaching, technique, strategy, motivation, attention to detail, reminding of concepts that work, peace of mind.
All these are benefits to having a vocal producer as part of your studio team. The vocal recording will usually go quicker, easier, and make for better comping/editing/tuning decisions. However, some engineers are good at multitasking, and some singers may not need or want assistance, so go with what works in your situation.
If you are in an area where you don’t have access to a vocal producer for your session, the next best thing is to work with a coach over Skype on the song before you record it. I frequently work with artists who live out of town or out of the country on their songs before they come to record
Try to work with a coach on your material, there are lots of qualified vocal coaches. And please keep me in mind if you need coaching/production on your next recording session, or for preparation ahead of time in Nashville or via Skype!
By the way, you can hire me, Robin Earl, to work with you on your next recording session or to prepare for a tour! I’ve worked with hundreds of people in Nashville and worldwide to help them become the best singers they can be by targeting specific issues in breathing, posture, and technique. I’ll meet with you in the studio or over Skype to quickly identify the problem and give you fast, workable solutions to improve your singing. Let me work with you so that you can do what you do best – express and communicate your music with your fans.
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