Do you really want to know what the missing ingredient is that separates indi sounds from professional productions? Great songs, excellent timing, impressive musicianship, arrangements, clever song structures and most of all in tune, harmonized vocals. Nothing gives away songs as an amateur production as out of tune vocals that lack harmonies.
This is one of the things a real producer brings to the recording session, he or she gets the vocal happening properly, even if that means using auto-tune, Melodyne, a harmonizer program and session singers for backing vocals.
I recently signed an act to a management contract. Before then I spent heaps of time listening to artists on MySpace, ReverbNation and was sent heaps of CD's. So many acts were consistently vocally deficient.
Conversations tended to go like this:
Me: There is only a single singer with one line of vocals there without any harmonies in these songs.
Band: Yes, he is the singer and the rest of us rarely sing.
Me: All of the bands you name as your influences have harmonized vocals like Silverchair, Foo Fighers, Van Halen, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pink Floyd etc.
Band: Well we don't sing.
Or it was the chick singer saying she did not have a backing singer and it would be cheating to do over dubs. She could not do the harmonies live anyway.
I want to say to them: "Get your vocal harmonies sorted out or you will fail." but you can't say that to musicians. I would be interested in how you get that message across powerfully enough so they take notice without offending them. Any ideas?
When people listen to music 50% of what they hear are the vocals so that should be 50% of your effort. About 25% of what they hear is the beat. When you have a guitarist fussing about whether they should play a particular songs on a Les Paul or an acoustic guitar; details like that will make no difference to the average punter.
Starting thinking of yourself as a vocalist who plays guitar or bass. Your role as a vocalist is just as important as your role as a singer. The audience will pay more attention to your voice that your guitar playing.
Here is the 3 step plan to make you a good singer:
Record yourself frequently and listen carefully so you can detect when you go off pitch. After about 2,000 hours of applied practice you should be seeing excellent results.
I often hear people say they can't sing. Unless you are deformed to the point you have trouble speaking then you can sing with training and practice. If it is all too much trouble perhaps you should be looking at other career options?
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