A pop song is only as good as the vocalist´s performance! It is true! That is because the average listener focuses mainly on the vocals and the tone of a voice when listening to a song on the radio or on Spotify and co. The reason for this is pretty obvious! The human voice adds personality to a song! It is the place where people connect with a song very quickly- IF they like what they hear, that is!
Now, not to add too much pressure, but you will want to be over-prepared when going to the studio to record vocals for your songs! Trust me, I have learned this the hard way!
In this blogpost I am sharing some tips to help you deliver the vocal performance you aim for! We will go through the following tips one by one.
1) Learn the lyrics by heart!
This might seem obvious, but it isn´t always the case for a singer to know their lyrics in and out, to the point, where they can still recite them, when feeling nervous and overwhelmed!
However, the less you have to focus on reading out the lyrics while singing, the more you can dive into the emotion and give your song the attention it deserves!
2) Be well rested and hydrated!
Sleep well the night before your recording, so your voice doesn´t sound tired or strained! Also, being well rested and fit will help you concentrate more during the recording session!
Drinking the right beverages is just as important though!
The go to drink would be water at room temperature. You will want to stay away from ice-cold beverages! A warm (not hot) tea with a bit of honey is a great choice as well! But stay away from caffeine, if you can! It may dry up your vocal folds, which we do not want to happen!
3)Warm up your voice!
Warming up your voice makes such a difference. Not only do you reduce the risk to injure yourself, but it also helps you relax quite a bit! I suggest performing some sirens, lip trills, scales, and the likes! Start easy and work towards some belting at the end, if that´s what you are going for in your songs!
Additional tip: Relax your body and stretch out anxiety! See our “Yoga for singers” post for in depth advice.
4) Mark your breaths and breathe easy
When preparing your songs, do print the lyrics out and take as many notes as you need to help you through the tricky parts. This may involve notes on where to sing with a more breathy voice, as opposed to belting and vice-versa. You might also want to take notes on necessary vowel modifications! To get the idea, make sure to read our “lyrics for singing” post.
One super important trick is marking your breaths on the lyric sheets! This may seem annoying, but it will help you with your technique and once that is taken care of, you can engage fully on the emotional end!
Here are some tips for how to find the perfect breathing spots:
– Do not wait till you are completely out of breath before breathing in. Sometimes you might feel tempted to go as long as you can with one airstream! However, this will make it harder to prepare your next breath properly. Do breathe as naturally as you can!
– Do not wait till the last second to breathe in! E.g. a lot of times wait till the last note before the beat to breathe in, even if they have time before that! Give youself some time to breathe in without a rush!
– Try not to breathe in the middle of a word, unless that is a deliberate style element!
5) In the studio: Get the right headphone mix
When recording vocals it is crucial that your headphone mix is in place! You will want to hear your vocals and the instrumental mix and you will want to hear both at a comfortable level, so you do not feel tempted to sing with too much pressure or too softly. Some ppl like reverb on their voice to cover up some inaccuracy, which is totally fine if it helps you ease into it! I personally wouldn´t recommend it, if you are aiming at a very accurate vocal performance. Listening to your dry vocals while recording will have you focus on pitch more.
6) Listen back and ask yourself…
…Does my phrasing sound natural and easy?
Do I convey the right emotions?
Did I chose the right intensity in all parts of the song?
Do I sound authentic?
If the answers are no, you may want to try again!
7) Let go and have fun!
This is just as important as the above tips! Stop caring too much! Let go, don´t overthink things and go with the flow! Make sure to enjoy the process! This will enhance chances that you´ll also like the results!
Hope you´ll have a fun recording!
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