10 Recording studio tips for singers
Post created on 4:57 pm
Many musicians dread recording sessions because it quite literally feels like putting your voice under a microscope. There’s no audience interaction, you may often record without your band in the room, and it can be a nerve-racking experience, especially, if you’re a beginner.
Fear not – with a bit of help and practice, you will come to enjoy studio recordings and look forward to them! After all, this is your chance to finally show off all your hard work and make a record that you are proud of.
So, let’s dive into 10 recording studio tips for singers!
Practice Recording Yourself
What is the best way to reduce your anxiety in an unfamiliar environment? Getting familiar with it! Practicing recording your voice at home will make you feel right at home in a studio. All you need is a laptop, audio interface and a microphone or just a USB mic and a pair of headphones. Try to recreate your potential studio session by using a metronome, backing track and anything else that you may need for your recording. This way, when the red light comes on, you will confidently nail your session instead of awkwardly navigating through an unfamiliar environment.
Love Your Voice
Many singers dislike the sound of their recorded voice, which can really work against you on the way to achieving your best in the studio. You will be too focused on feeling insecure about your voice, which is very unproductive. Confidence is a mixture of being self-aware and loving yourself unconditionally, and that’s another reason why you should practice recording yourself. You will be able to critically identify the flaws in your voice as well as its greater qualities. Trust us, everyone has them! Once you have an objective view of your voice, you’ll know how to emphasise the good and improve on any imperfections. Don’t get too bogged down with the things you don’t like – think of your singing voice as a journey and don’t let insecurity stop you from getting out there and recording anyway. The more you do it, the better and more confident you will become.
We promise, this article on recording studio tips for singers is not just about recording yourself! But practicing your miking technique at home will allow you to get the best quality recording in the studio. It’s important to consider your distance from the mic, controlling your dynamics by leaning in during quieter parts and pulling back on louder passages for consistent volume levels. You should also be mindful of your diction, timing and enunciation, so recording yourself and listening back to it is the fastest way to improve.
As well as familiarising yourself with a recording environment and getting to know your own voice, you should ensure you are well-rehearsed for each studio session. These don’t come cheap, and even if your friend is recording you for free, it’s important you make the most of the allocated time. Studio time is not the place for you to learn the song. Also, make sure you bring everything you need with you. This should include your lyrics, backing track, bpm, key of the track etc.
Look After Yourself
Always get a good night’s rest, stay hydrated, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol before your studio session. This will allow you to stay sharp and make your voice sound its best. You should also avoid eating a heavy meal before recording, as it can make you sluggish and bloated. Over time, you will notice that certain foods may affect the quality of your singing voice, or they may generally make you feel unwell, so it’s best to cut them out before heading to the studio.
This goes for every time you sing, so we couldn’t possibly leave it out of our recording studio tips for singers! Always warm up before your studio session so your voice sounds and feels its best when you record. Your vocal coach can help you with a warm-up that is thorough and tailored to your vocal range.
Focus on Your Mindset
Too many singers put pressure on themselves to get this one, absolutely perfect vocal take. But the beauty of studio recording is that you have the freedom to try again until you get it right. Your engineer or producer can also cut together the best parts of each take, which is totally normal and doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ singer. It doesn’t mean that you can’t sing the song well all the way through, it just means you might prefer different sections of different takes, or they may work better for the final product. So don’t be so hard on yourself, your first take doesn’t have to be the one that goes on the record, and you can always go back and re-record anything you don’t like. Studio recording can be tiring, so take regular breaks to keep you feeling refreshed and energised.
Don’t Leave Your Emotion Out of It
Because of the pressure of a studio recording, many artists focus on getting their performance perfect and forget about putting emotion into the song. Sometimes, your best takes won’t be the most pitch-perfect and polished, but rather those that convey emotion and connect with the listener. As humans, we love those little imperfections – the artist’s voice breaking during an emotional passage, a throw-away line that sounds less controlled – they all add a personality to your song. Try to let go a little and perform with the same amount of passion that you would have on stage.
Consider Your Headphone Mix
Your headphone mix will be an important factor in how comfortable you feel during your recording session. It’s important that you remember this is completely adjustable and it’s up to you how you prefer to record. You may find a metronome helpful, or it may completely put you off. You may want to hear your vocals in the headphones, or you might prefer to keep one side of them off so you can hear your voice in the room. Or, you may want to add reverb to your vocals in the headphone mix so they don’t sound so ‘dry’. Whatever it is, speak up and let your engineer or producer know what makes you comfortable.
Be Mindful of Time
If you have control over the booking, always arrange your recording sessions for a time when your voice sounds its best and you have the most amount of energy. It takes your voice a little while to be fully awake and ready to work, so early morning sessions may not be the best idea. Additionally, be mindful of the length of your session. Your voice will only perform its best for a certain amount of time, so it’s unnecessary, unproductive and potentially damaging to book a day-long session. Ideally, it should not last longer than 2-3 hours.