That “something” usually for me branches off to two audio files and a file which contains the lyrics in text form.
- The first audio file includes a left and a right hand on a piano and a click track.
- The second audio file includes me singing the song on top of the piano. Either just the chords or both the chords and the main melody in a decreased volume.
That’s all I send out. It’s important to not send too much content so the singer can focus on melody and its variations.
The vocalist should at this point be inspired to the point where he/she should be able to perform the song putting their own flair to it. This is very important. I always encourage my vocalists to sing the song I sent out to them, their way first. This is a major point here, I cannot stress it enough. There are many reasons for that. However the main reason is because I want to hear what they came up with, how they performed and then pick and choose what stays and what gets edited out. It’s always easy to remove items than to be ridged regarding one certain way your song should be sang.
The singer may change the melody slightly here and there. They may add runs where they feel inspired to do so, they may even go further and give you ideas. After all, everything is editable so I always prefer to have a lot of ideas in order to filter later. That is why the file I will send out will contain the verses, the choruses and the bridge/s, etc more times over than what will be left in at the end. So that the singer can do several takes when you receive their work (if working remotely) or when they come to your studio ready for tracking.
Singing the song myself is useful because singers will hear the main melody with just the piano and then someone actually singing it and decide what to do. Your relationship between you and them will determine their decisions.
That is why I call this phase the singer’s acclimation. Because nothing is final, on the contrary. We have an idea from the songwriter, which yes, is complete, however the flair, the swagger, the runs, the accessories, the sauce is there to be built and finalized.
Yes it is possible for the singer to end up singing your song in a very similar way that you did. Or it is possible for you to say “we want to stay as close as possible to what I have sent you” for certain songs. In the end, these decisions are made by you since you are the songwriter and hopefully you have a base intent to, at the lease, demo-produce your songs.
Now let’s go track some vocals.