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Posts Tagged ‘record your album’

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Can You Write a Hit Song On Your First Try?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if you got a huge, international hit with the first song you ever wrote?

Wouldn’t it feel good if the first album you recorded sold a million copies?

Most of us musicians picture scenarios like this. We write and record a great piece of music and think, “this deserves to be heard by millions and touch countless lives.”

We’re not wrong. It’s perfectly acceptable to shoot for the stars. Actually, if you don’t set your sights extremely high, you might not get as far as those who have loftier, more “unrealistic” goals. And who knows, maybe your first record will go platinum and launch you into superstardom. It’s not impossible.

But most of the time, it takes a few tries to get that big hit. It takes a little elbow grease and hard-earned experience. With each new song, we grow as artists and as people and get one step closer to that ultimate goal. Knowing this, it’s important to take note of why you didn’t have a crazy hit on your first try. Write down what you think the reasons are so you can learn from them for your next project. With each mistake you make, become aware of them so you don’t make the same mistakes on your next song.

It’s all a learning process, and you’ll only get better. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t instantly go your way, and remember that failure is in the eye of the beholder.

Just think of it like taking up a new hobby. Very few of us are great at something new the moment we try it. Most of us don’t bowl a 300 in our first game or hit the bullseye with our first archery lesson. You have to acquire a new skill set… Here at Studio Pros, one of our hobbies is remote control airplanes. We didn’t get to be great RC pilots without crashing a few trainer planes, but after learning from many mistakes, we finally gained the confidence to upgrade to our new corporate airplane:

Sure, it’s not as flashy as some other corporate jets, and it doesn’t actually fit a full-size human inside, but it’s still the result of hours of learning experiences!

One thing you can be sure of with your next project is that it can be a top quality, professional recording.  Get started on a project with Studio Pros today!

Featured Artist: Manx

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Juggling his music and a busy personal life, Manx found Studio Pros to be the perfect way to get professional recordings without having to leave his best friend’s side.

Studio Pros customer Manx calls his music “blue-eyed reggae,” although he plays much more than that. “I do a little bit of everything,” he says. “I have one country song and some pop/rock songs, I have a rock song, I even have kids’ songs.”

Manx has been playing music for most of his life. “Growing up, my father wouldn’t let me leave the dinner table unless I sang to Johnny Cash and Nat King Cole and played a little plastic guitar,” he remembers. But it wasn’t until he moved to California to treat his mentor and best friend Leigh for cancer that he finally decided to make some professional recordings of his songs. “I got a chance to follow through on my dream,” he says. “Leigh wanted to make sure I could follow through with the whole music thing.”

After not having much success in having his songs forwarded by TAXI, Manx signed up for Studio Pros after seeing a magazine advertisement. Without a band of his own, and knowing he would need to spend a lot of time with Leigh instead of spending days in the studio, he called the decision to go with Studio Pros a “no-brainer.” His choice was justified when a former bass player for Bob Marley heard his song “Give a Little Love” and wanted to work with Manx (hear the song below).

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Featured Artist: Reign Lee

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Working from halfway across the world, Reign Lee used Studio Pros to record with world-class LA studio musicians from the the comfort of her own home.

Playing across continents is hard work, but recording an album with musicians that are halfway across the globe is even harder. Unless you do what Hong Kong musician Reign Lee did: record with Studio Pros. Lee has no trouble finding musicians to back her up in the many countries where she gigs, but when it came time to record her songs, she came up short. “I’m a solo artist, so when I tour I play with different players in different parts of the world,” she explains. “I don’t have a set band that I can just head into the studio with and start working on a record.”

For her latest EP, Angels in the Dirt, Lee decided she would use Studio Pros to record with top Los Angeles session musicians while staying in Asia. “About a year and a half ago I came across an ad for Studio Pros on Reverbnation,” she says. “I’d also read an article in Sound on Sound magazine and was very intrigued by the whole process. I knew that with this record I wanted to have a different experience than what I’ve had in the past and I really wanted to kick it up a few levels. That was why Studio Pros really appealed to me.”

Lee cites two primary factors in helping her decision to record with Studio Pros: “From a practical point of view, there was no better way that I could budget my money to get anything better than what they were offering. The other factor was scheduling.” She found the convenience of Studio Pros’ 48-hour turnaround very appealing. “I’ve never, ever had anybody’s parts completed in that amount of time.”

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You Use the Internet For Everything – Why Not For Recording an Album?

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Do you check your email first thing in the morning?

Do you get up to date with the news online over an early cup of coffee?

Do you use the web to check your bank account balance?

These days we use the Internet for just about everything: communication with old friends via Facebook; updating our financial portfolios and checking stocks; even buying movie tickets for the 8:30 show. If you’re anything like me, the net is your go-to resource for just about everything. Sometimes I roll out of bed and land at my desk, checking my messages before I even brush my teeth. Now with smart phones providing Internet access just about anywhere, pretty much everything is tied to the online world. Even grocery shopping has moved from a notepad to an iPhone app for many people.

I use the web for music stuff, too. I like discovering new music, reading news about my favorite bands, even listening to streaming music online is simple now. But the net is not just a great resource for hearing other artists’ music; it’s also a great resource for your own music career.

Sure, there are sites that have articles about making it in the music industry today… So many in fact that it can be a bit overwhelming to read all the advice that’s available to you. But while many musicians turn to the Internet for tips on how to take their career to the next level, most don’t realize the Internet can actually be used to take their career to the next level.

I’m not talking about making a Facebook music page, although that’s certainly a good thing to do. I’m talking about using the web to record an amazing album.

That concept may even sound a little crazy to you. But ten years ago, the idea of being able to instantly watch millions of hours of video probably sounded a little crazy. And here we are, all regular users of YouTube without even thinking about that simple fact.

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All You Need is a Chord Progression and a Melody

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Did you know that you probably already have enough music to record your album? Even if you just have the basic sketch of a song in your head, it’s probably enough to get started.  The Beatles once famously said that “all you need is love.”  I’m here to say that if you want to record your music, all you really need is a melody and a chord progression. (A little love doesn’t hurt, either!)

You don’t need every section of your song planned out note by note; you don’t need the intro melody or the solo section completely written. All you need is a “sketch.” The song sketch is a rough outline of your song… And when you get world-class, top-notch session musicians to play on your recordings, they help flesh out your creation with their professional expertise. The chord progression, melody and lyrics are the heart and soul of your creation–they are what the whole rest of the production is based off of.

But the production process involves getting down to every last little detail in the song, whether that’s a cool guitar lick in the bridge or a melodic hook in the background vocals. With Studio Pros, you get to be involved in every last step of the process, giving your approval for every instrument as its being recorded. But along with giving your feedback, you get to work with some of the best musicians in the business–musicians who have recorded on hundreds of albums and engineers who have been nominated for Grammy awards. Because of this, you end up collaborating with top professionals who know how to take your song to the next level and make you stand out among the throngs of musicians trying to get heard by record labels and music supervisors.

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Why You Don’t Need 12 Finished Songs to Start Recording Your Album

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

You probably have an amazing album inside you, just waiting to burst out. The funny thing is, you might not even realize it yet… Sure, you know you have a lot of great musical ideas and a whole lot of untapped creativity swirling around inside your head. But a whole album might seem like something that you won’t be able to tackle until you have 12 fully realized songs ready to go.

But the fact that you only have a handful of songs that you feel are ready to record shouldn’t stop you from starting the process. Back when I wrote about the biggest myths keeping you from recording your album, I mentioned that not having enough songs doesn’t mean you can’t begin recording your masterpiece. In fact, it may be even better to start laying down some tracks when you only have a few songs to work on. Here are a few reasons why:

You can better focus your creativity

Recording just a few songs allows you to think about only a few things at a time–which means you don’t have to worry about spreading yourself too thin while trying to deal with a whole album’s worth of material. Figuring out the background vocal harmonies on four songs is a much less daunting task than tackling a dozen songs!

Find your musical direction and vision

Many professional musicians don’t have a complete album when they go to record. Instead, they take the music they have and start working with top producers and collaborators who help them hone the direction and vision of the album. This is a good strategy, because if you simply go into a recording session with a full album, you might find that some of them don’t quite fit–and then you’re back to the drawing board again. Starting with a few songs will help you figure out what direction your music is heading in, thereby giving you focus and purpose as you write new material.

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Buying Yet Another Piece of Gear vs. Recording Your Song With Studio Pros

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Technology can be a great tool. It can help you come up with your next masterpiece, and it can give you the means of recording your latest creation.  And I don’t know about you, but it sure does make me feel warm and fuzzy inside when I buy a shiny new piece of gear for my home studio.

That is, until I plug it in.  You see, technology is something of a double-edged sword.  Even though buying new gear is really fun, it also means you have to invest a ton of time into learning how to use it well. That’s why the fuzzy feeling starts fading as soon as my new piece of gear is out of the box.  I’m faced with the daunting task of the dreaded musical equipment learning curve, something I may have time to get the hang of, but rarely have the time to master.

And there’s the real kicker–even when you get used to using new gear, it still takes a lot of time, experience, trial and error to be able to use it to its maximum potential the way a top professional would. While it would certainly be nice to get to that point eventually, I don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the recording I’m doing now to work towards the goal of great recordings later.

It’s because of this that technology, while seemingly freeing initially, can really put unnecessary limits on your song’s production and ruin your creative process!  Talk about a catch-22… Every minute you spend figuring out how to maximize your gear’s potential is taken away from time you could have spent composing, creating, and expanding your artistic horizons.

There is, of course, the obvious solution to this dilemma: put your music in the hands of a professional who already knows what they’re doing with today’s best technology.  But that sure sounds easier said than done–it’s not like you can just hand your stuff over to a Grammy-nominated engineer who will mix and master it to radio broadcast standards without forking over your life savings, right?

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Hit Songs Need Clean Music Production to Be Heard

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

So many talented songwriters and composers love melodies and harmonies so much that they layer as many into their song as they possibly can. They want the best music productions for their songs, but think that adding more and more instruments and parts will make their production sound great.

Unfortunately, it won’t!

Less is more

Have you ever noticed that some of the biggest hits of all time only have three or four instruments on them? Lots of classic Beatles songs just have a couple simple guitar parts, bass, drums and vocals. Nirvana and Green Day have had monumental hit songs, and neither group is more than a power trio. Even “Billie Jean,” one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, is a simple production with few instruments.

If you have too many parts, melodies and counter-melodies, it can prevent your song from being catchy and memorable. If you try singing two melodies that are played together in a song, it’s pretty much impossible… And if you can’t do it, neither can your potential fans.

Don’t let too many parts get in the way of your song’s catchy melody

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Recording Bass: Laying Down a Groove

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

I always love it when I’m listening to a song and I suddenly notice when a tasty bass groove kicks in. Even though bass guitar tends to be a background instrument, every once in a while a bassist will bust into a part so awesome you have to take notice and say, “Who is that bass player??” I’d guess that a lot of people might not even realize how important the bass is–until, that is, you take it away!

A good bass line is essential to a great song, and a good bass performance is key to a great recording. When it comes time to lay down some funky grooves, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Amplified or direct?

There are some wonderful sounding bass amps out there that can help you get the exact sound you are looking for. But one of the advantages of bass is that you don’t have to play through an amp at all! Bass guitar is one of the few instruments that you can get a good sound from while plugging straight into a direct box and into your recording console. This can be very convenient, especially if you’re recording at home and your downstairs neighbors wouldn’t appreciate their kitchenware rattling with each thumping eighth note.

But sometimes you just need that certain sound that only a bass amp can provide. In this case, you’ll need to record the classic way: an amplifier and a microphone (or more than one mic). Which amp and mic you use is entirely up to you–there are many options that make for many sounds, so it all comes down to what sounds best to your ear.  For some more specific miking techniques, take a look at my post on recording great-sounding guitar.

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Press Kit: What You Should Include

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Even if you’re relatively new to the musician world, you’ve probably heard the term “press kit” thrown around quite a few times by now. A press kit is a package of materials that you might send to record labels, media outlets, venues, etc. that contains all of the pertinent information about your band. But what does that mean exactly? What is and isn’t relevant information?

You’ll want your press kit to follow some basic standards if industry people are going to look at it. Here are a few tips and essentials on putting together the ultimate press kit.

Band Photo

The first thing in your press kit should be a hi-resolution photo of the band (or yourself if you’re a solo artist.) This can be black and white or full color. There aren’t a whole lot of rules when it comes to taking a great band photo (although you might want to stay away from some common clichés such as railroad tracks and brick walls).  But you should definitely make sure of at least two things: everyone’s face should be easily seen in the picture, and the band’s “image” should be on display. If you play dark metal music, it might not suit your image to be wearing bright colors and lying in a field of flowers. If you’re an upbeat pop band, it might not fit to be wearing all black and looking dreary. Let your band’s character shine through!

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