The Right Recording Studio is Key for vocalists
Just as la Clave is the heartbeat of Salsa, finding the right recording studio for a vocalist is the key to a successful song. In my journey as a recording artist, I have recorded in various studios. There were specific reasons I choose the recording studio I recorded at the time. Reflecting upon my experiences, I realize there were important factors that are a true must and should be valued before the monetary expenses. Here are three big factors to consider when looking for the right recording studio to make your dreams come true.
Anyone who is beginning their adventure as an independent recording artist realizes that money is a big factor in decisions.
With that being said, I have always looked at what I am creating as an investment and a passion. There are things you just can’t put a price on the quality and getting the right sound. Since money is usually the biggest challenge, my recommendation is to price (get quotes) various recording studios first. Most recording studios will price themselves by the hour. A big tip for new singers is to clarify with the recording engineer if they include the set up. I did have a studio who took their time to set up the mic, get the tracks ready, and even have a friendly conversation with us, all the while running the clock. Had I known that the “get to know you, hello, how are you” conversation would have counted against me and would be included in my studio time, I would have just stopped at hello. Rates can differ from state to state and studio to studio.
Studios, who have well-known recording engineers, are recognized for their previous works, will cost more, and rightfully so. The prices should account for the experience and recognition the studio and recording engineer has. I choose certain recording studios because they have a well-known name. The prestige to be able to record in a famous recording studios brings you clout, and that is priceless. One such studio I have had the pleasure to record in is Rolo’s Studio located in Puerto Rico. Rolo’s studio is recognized for being used by highly well known, internationally recognized Salsa singers and musicians. The owner, musician, and engineer is Rolando Alejandro, and the long table full of Latin Grammys speaks for itself.
Money is not the only factor one must consider; lets move on to the masters behind the controls.
A Masters at the controls
Remembering that you are on a clock in the studio, having an engineer who truly knows his or her craft and can maneuver the programs quickly is extremely important and helpful. I don’t know how many times I personally have had to punch in a word, go over a phrase, listen to playbacks, and have had to wait, and wait, while the clock keeps ticking. It’s not only the time factor that converts to the money factor, but also the flow is lost. When I refer to flow, I mean the moment that you finally get the swing in your head, the right note, the perfect phrase. All of that is lost when you have to wait for the engineer. That’s where the differences lie within recording engineers. Recording engineers like Victor Romero, owner and engineer at Harmony Recording Studio, who are quick, efficient, and masterful at their craft, make your experience and product shine. Victor Romero, for example, is also a musician, vocal teacher, and arranger. He has over 40 years in the industry and has worked with legendary artists. A recording engineer who has the talents I mentioned helps a vocalist truly give their best. When stuck on phrasing or notes that are not fitting in your mind, a master like Victor Romero can assist you. Victor served not only as a recording engineer but also a vocal coach. Which brings me to Vocal Coaches.
Ricky Luis a former vocalist in the internationally known Salsa group- N’Klabe is a man of many talents. A vocalist, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Ricky Luis (Ricky Luis Music) brings another level of vocal coaching. I mention vocal coach as one of the key factors to consider because I feel it is essential when you are recording for the first time and later. Recording is very different from singing on stage. The missed syllabus, slightly unperfect pitch gives styling and flavor to stages. On a recording that will be heard repeatedly and does not have the visual effect, it is like using a magnifying glass on the pimple you are trying to hide. In the studio the melody you have heard in your head or the pattern you have been working on may not sound as melodic or beautiful once laid down. Having a vocal coach like Ricky Luis, who knows what you are going through because he is a vocalist, makes a world of difference. While it may be an added cost, the benefit outweighs the cost. The right vocal coach can bring you to your max potential. How to choose the right vocal coach will be presented in another blog soon.
Another vocalist I have had the honor to record with, in his studio, is legendary singer Nino Segarra. Nino Segarra is internationally known as a vocalist, composer, arranger, musician and studio owner. With over 40 years in the industry Nino is known for his compositions, musical arrangements, and incredible voice. I was able to not only just record in his studio but he arranged and recorded a duet with me called Tratando. He has the ability to truly bring the best in your vocals, layer vocals, harmonize unlike anyone else. Having a talented individual like him in the studio with you, you have no doubt he will bring out the best in you. An important factor we haven’t spoken about and that Nino Segarra has beyond reproach, is the importance of having someone who is patient, caring, passionate about vocals. Nino Segarra is incredibly passionate about his music and his love of voice. When you are able to have someone who embodies those values you will only be able to do your best. Lets be honest, the recording studio can be daunting, scary, stressful, having that coach at your side will guarantee you a victory.
These are just three broad points to consider at when looking for the right recording studio. There are many more things to think about, such as the equipment they have, the venue’s aesthetic appeal, what you need to bring to the studio, and more considerations. I plan to continue to bring you more tips and points of reference in future blogs. Future topics will include composers, arrangers, mix, and mastering. Please register to find more information and let me know what you think.
Harmony Recording Studio @harmonyrecordingstudio www.inharmonymusicschool.com