• Joe Sage

How To Be A Better Vocalist

For those that might not be aware, as well as being a producer and mix engineer, I'm also a co-host of the Music Survival Guide podcast. I've decided to use this blog as a way of concluding my thoughts/ saying stuff I forget to mention.


In this weeks episode, Phil & I discuss how to be a better studio vocalist. As a producer, mixer and general music lover, I'm aware that vocals are often the part listeners and creators are most concerned about. Through experience, I've seen a lot of things done well... and some not so well so I'd here are some ways to not be in the latter category.


Apple Podcasts -https://tinyurl.com/r7trwo4

Spotify -https://tinyurl.com/sad25gk


Do some pre-production

It sounds stupidly obvious but figure out what you're going to do in the studio by doing a demo (you'd be surprised at how many don't). In this demo, you should figure and iron out...


  • Melody

  • Lyrics

  • Key

  • Backing Vocals/Vocal Arrangement (!!!)

The last point is super important. There is nothing worse, on either side of the studio glass, than hearing the singer wailing along to the chorus in an attempt to find a harmony whilst the clock is ticking. Not only is this an excellent pride denting experience, but it's also a financially draining one... time is money after all.


I perform a harrowing enactment of what it sounds like on the podcast. Spoiler alert, it's not great.


Print Out Lyrics

You remember physical paper, right? Not an iPad, laptop or phone. Actually print a lot (maybe up to 10ish) copies of your lyrics and leave space in the margins for you, your producer or whoever to make notes.


It's important for more reasons than you can imagine, but I explain it better in the podcast so go listen to that for more detail.


Don't Suffer In Silence

Being a singer can be scary as f**k. Don't let anyone else tell you differently. It can be super intimidating if it's your first time, or the studio feels odd or a whole bunch of reasons.


You could be bearing your artistic soul whilst you have your bandmates with their face smushed up against the glass, picking apart your performance.


The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence.


With the caveat of I can only speak for the sessions I run, I will do everything in my power to accommodate you as a vocalist.


If you want the bandmates gone so it's just you and me... consider them gone.


Common issues can be

  • You feel too hot or too cold

  • You don't like that there is or isn't a line of sight

  • The microphone stand isn't the right height


As much as there is a rumour about the Welsh having some level of telepathy, as of yet, I can't read minds. Just tell me and I promise it'll get sorted.


Anywho, this was longer than I anticipated but you should go listen to the episode as we delve into things such as

  • Vocal Warm Ups

  • Writing Lyrics

  • Why You're Not David Bowie

  • And Just General Studio Badass-ness(?)

You can listen to it here -

Apple Podcasts -https://tinyurl.com/r7trwo4

Spotify -https://tinyurl.com/sad25gk


Until I've figured out this telepathy nonsense, you'll have to drop me a message if you have any questions or want to work with me in the studio. Either drop me an email or, if you're a cool millennial, slide into my DMs on Instagram.


Email - joe@nevisaudio.com

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/j.a.sage/

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