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Song Production – Knowing where you want to take your song (what you want it to sound like)

So once you, as a producer have an artist who has a clear direction of the artist /entertainer they want to become at the moment, and you have sat down with different songwriters and bundled up a good amount of songs, or as an artist you made a several songs on your own or with your producer that you are proud of and you have pin pointed that one song (out of ten songs lets say one song is selected and made the cut) that you really believe in, – it can be more, 3, 5, 10 whatever amount you feel is the right one and that is in your budget to produce – and you know where you want to be as a singer and what image you want to portray, the next step is not that difficult.

A song can mold itself like water into any vessel you choose for it, if you have a great song and your orientation is being a romantic artist like Nora Jones, than the direction your song should take is in becoming a jazzy song, and the chords around it will be made in that vibe and at that tempo, if on the other hand you are looking to become a DJ or a Rock artist, than you will grab that same song and mold it to a more upbeat or dance speed.

Its not in vain that you hear artist like Enrique Iglesias have a romantic version, a Regetton version, a Spanish, English and Mexican Regional and bachata version of the same song. This gives the artist the option of penetrating into more markets, I am not suggesting to do this as a starting act, what I am trying to say is that a song can go many different places in its production.

The options of what you can do with a song are limitless, what is important is to see what’s the best place to take that song , and what that place will be for the specific artist that it’s being produced for, at this point its important to mention production budget because it comes to play an important part and I will explain:

I once had an artist I was co-producing for and one of the songs we wrote for her album was along the lines of Bjork’s “it’s oh so quiet,” that song has brass and big band arrangement to it so to record something like that has an extra cost, most producers charge their basic fee for a song which includes basics: Guitars, Piano, Drum, Bass Background vocals Mix and Mastering per song, additional elements like big choir’s, brass, percussion, remix, beats, live chords etc. will have to be added to the basic cost so wherever the song is to be taken, these elements have to be considered before any surprises appear on the budget and to have them clearly discussed between the artist and the producer.

There are producers who have good ear and know their way around modern plugins and programs or work with outstanding sound engineers and can make a sampled set of chords sound like a live orchestra and no one would tell the difference, or brass or percussion, that obviously reduces costs and saves time, it all depends on the knowledge and experience of the producer and it’s one of the reasons why picking a good producer to work on your project is important.

Checklist

Another way to find the right direction for a song is to grab those three artist we mentioned in our orientation or previous blog and really pinpoint the elements that you as an artist or as a producer believe are the ones that can fit into the song you are producing, maybe it’s the tempo or keyboards, it may be the guitar sounds etc.

Whenever I am producing a song and I hire the studio musicians to play the arrangement made for the particular song, in most cases they ask me what kind of vibe I am looking for and they ask for some references, if the past process was done correctly it will be easy to tell them what you want for every specific instrument.

Nowadays most professional Musicians have their studios at home and all they need is to be pointed in the right direction and with modern technology they send you the tracks recorded and ready for your protools, logic session or for whatever program you are using in the production. But this can happen smoothly only if you as a captain of the boat know where you want to go with your song.

Producers are hired because they have musical knowledge, experience, they know where they want to go with a song and an album production and have a knack for being perfectionists and are able to deliver a finished product in a reasonable time frame.

So once you know where the song is to be taken the next step is to lay down a demo version on a grargeband or protools, by doing this you will be able to send the musicians a more accurate version of what you want them to play and this process will be explained in the following blogpost.

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Daniel

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