New Music: IT AINT ALL BAD – eLDee

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Working on improving the Music Industry. Questioning if Artistry is the end goal. The entrepreneural spirit; These things have pushed music making into the background for Lanre ‘eLDee’ Dabiri. Nevertheless, eLDee acknowledges his first love and even though it might not be his top priority as he is constantly evolving, he also understands his need to share with fans across the world.

Recorded over a soulful track, “It aint all bad” shares a bit of the last few years of eLDee’s music career, and his decision to step away from the scene. Originally produced by N.O Joe & Ervin Pope for Scarface’s “Deeply rooted” album, it is the first of a few mixtape songs that eLDee plans to share with his fans in the coming months.

I get a lot of messages daily, from fans requesting new eLDee music and while I have chosen a new path, I understand that I did not choose music, music chose me. I have recorded something for the true fans of eLDee and I hope they enjoy it. This is NOT an attempt to come out of retirement, I am doing this to reciprocate the constant love I have enjoyed from fans, during and after my music career” – eLDee

LISTEN HERE   |   DOWNLOAD HERE

Follow eLDee on Twitter & Instagram: @eldeethedon

But, why?

I received the following email from a journalist from one of the most reputable media houses in Nigeria, The punch, to do an interview. I have kept away from doing interviews lately but I obliged, even dragged my wife who is constantly avoiding media attention into it.

How are you doing. My name is ***** *******. I am an entertainment writer with PUNCH Newspapers. I got your email from your Twitter handle.
We would like to have an interview with you and your wife for one of our entertainment pages. It is called Celebrity Couple.
It is a page for celebrities who are married. They talk‎ about marriage, love, experiences and advice to other couples and intending ones too.
It would be nice to have the interview Sir. Would that be possible. Thanks a lot.

The article was finally posted this morning with the following title: “A nude picture won’t excite my husband – eLDee’s wife

I am disappointed that a reputable newspaper would seek such a distasteful headline from an interview about the celebration of love and marriage. Please read the interview below. I may be a little upset because I dragged Dolly into it but I expected some class from Punch and its editors…or maybe I’m overreacting. First of all she meant that as a joke, not literally. Secondly, why taint a beautiful thing with negativity just to get page views? If I can’t trust Punch’s editors, who can I trust to uphold the integrity of simple journalism?


How did you meet your wife?

eLDee: I met her at the University of Lagos where I studied for a degree in Architecture. She was a student of Urban and Regional Planning, so we shared some faculty resources. I saw her through the window of my architecture studio one day and she was with a friend of mine. I dropped my drawing instrument and went to say hello to my friend, knowing he would introduce us. He introduced us and later, he told me she is a good person to marry.

How did the relationship develop?

eLDee: We spent a lot of time together while we were students at UNILAG; some people thought we were siblings. When I moved to the United States of America in 2002/2003, she stayed back to finish her bachelor’s degree and then travelled to the United Kingdom for her master’s degree. We travelled back and forth often to visit each other, and shortly after she graduated, I proposed. We’ve been together since we met in March 1998.

How long did you date before you got married?

eLDee: We dated for about nine years. We were practically functioning like a married couple, just not under the same roof, and we didn’t have children until after the marriage.

How did he propose to you?

Dolapo: From the outset, he made it clear that he wanted me to be his wife. However, he presented me with a ring while I was holidaying in the USA. I had just completed my master’s degree dissertation, and I was trying to unwind. I had no doubt that it would happen one day. I really was shocked when my breakfast in bed turned out to be a beautiful ring.

Did you date other ladies before you met her?

eLDee: Yes, I was a bit of a playboy but everything changed when I met her. From our first week together, I knew she was my soulmate.

What were the initial attractions?

eLDee: Initially, I was attracted to her beauty but as time went on, I realised she is also intelligent. It was easy to tell she was raised in a great home. She is honest, enlightened, open minded, brilliant, and truly caring.

Dolapo: His sincerity and integrity got me attracted to him.

Were there oppositions from family members?

eLDee: I found my soulmate and we became inseparable. Our families could not have stopped us from being together.

Do you regret not marrying an entertainer?

eLDee: I am glad I did not, because someone would have to look after the home, while I am on tour. I am particular about being always there for my kids, so one of us would have had to quit to make that happen. In fact, I decided to take a break from active touring in order to spend more time with my girls, because I did not enjoy being away from home. It would have been tougher if both of us were always away.

Has marriage deprived you of the liberty to do certain things?

eLDee: Marriage only deprives you of things that weren’t good for you in the first place. I don’t feel restricted or deprived by my marriage at all. I am married to the best woman in the world.

Was it easy to adjust as a married woman?

Dolapo: I had to put my career on hold in order to dedicate myself to family life; that was quite a challenge, but it was easy because my family is my priority. When you love your family, putting their needs before yours comes naturally.

What would you like to change about each other?

eLDee: I know this sounds cliché, but my wife is perfect. If every man had a wife like mine, the world would be a better place.

Dolapo: If you truly love someone, you would love them the way they are. Change should not be imposed on anybody.

How would you describe your marriage?

Dolapo: It is genuine and filled with lots of love and respect.

Do you have access to each other’s phones and social media accounts?

eLDee: There is nothing to hide. She knows my passwords, I know hers too but we do not feel the need to check up on one another. We have been together for 17 years and not once have we hidden our phones from each other.

Dolapo: It’s a non-issue. We respect each other’s privacy, but there’s never been anything to hide.

How do you spend time together?

eLDee: We have our own mini book club. We read lots of business and self-development books together. After reading, we discuss and analyse the author’s perspectives. Sometimes, we go out with the kids to a neighbourhood park or shopping arcade. At other times, we stay at home and talk about any and everything.

Do you operate a joint bank account?

eLDee: Yes, and I believe it is important. Absolute honesty about finance is necessary in a marriage. It eliminates false expectations and builds trust.

What is the secret of your successful marriage?

eLDee: We have stayed happy by staying true to each other. I married my best friend. We hide nothing from each other. She expresses herself without fear of retribution and so do I. The sacrifices we make for each other are borne out of genuine love and respect, and it helps us work through any difficult situation we encounter.

What are the challenges of being married to someone who is in the public eye?

Dolapo: I am a private person, so sometimes I cringe at media attention.

What causes quarrels between the two of you?

Dolapo: I would say impatience.

How do you make up when there is a quarrel?

Dolapo: If it is not a fundamental issue, we let it go and move on. But if it is a serious issue, then I was obviously right and Lanre was wrong.

eLDee: We hardly ever quarrel about anything. Every couple has little fights or arguments, but what is important is that you both continue to make efforts to be better for each other. One rule we have is we never ever go to bed upset. No matter how big or small the issue is, we must resolve it and make up before going to bed. It works.

What causes failure in some celebrity marriages?

eLDee: Sometimes people don’t understand the simple rules of matrimony. What a man wants the most in a relationship is to be respected, and what a woman wants the most is to be loved. If there is a swing in the balance of those two things, the relationship is unlikely to survive. Celebrities must leave that persona outside of their home. Either spouse who earns more must honour the love and respect balance if they want their relationship to survive.

How did you feel about the nude picture that was allegedly tweeted at your husband by his colleague?

Dolapo: Celebrities are easy targets for scandals. I know eLDee and a nude picture is not something that would get him excited. If it had been a nude microphone, perhaps I would have been worried.

What pet names do you call each other?

eLDee: I call her Babe, Baby or My love.

Dolapo: I call him Baby or Husband.


Screenshot 2015-04-12 05.31.42


My name is Dabiri, Lanre Dabiri

Ok, I feel the need to warn you, I’m somewhat of a scatterbrain, my mind is constantly roaming. My writing isn’t great either, so please bear with me. I may beat around the bush sometimes but if you’re patient enough, you’ll get my point.

The last few years of my life have been very interesting, a lot has changed. I don’t have an album coming out, I’m not touring, I haven’t even been in a recording studio in months. I have two houses full of pro audio recording equipment that are probably going to be listed on eBay soon, hard drives of music I like to consider ‘dated’, and fewer and fewer music business related phone calls with each passing month. The only thing that has remained constant and may actually be growing in number is the barrage of emails from up and coming talent. They’re either looking to get signed, get connected to a colleague, or just seeking advice. I have had the privilege of meeting some amazing young professionals, and I enjoy engaging younger artists. I am eager to share my experience, teach a trick or two or just give guidance in any way I can. I don’t think we do enough of that as a society. A lot of people go to the grave with information that can add value, give perspective or even change lives. That’s a topic for another post. If you’re reading this and you have ever sent me an email that I didn’t respond to, please forgive me, I get hundreds of emails weekly. I have resisted hiring someone to sort out my inbox because I don’t want to lose the personal touch, sadly I may have to do so soon, if I’m going to be able to keep up.

Like I said earlier, It is really interesting how different my life is now. I used to live in a house with at least four or five other adults and now it’s just me and my girls. I used to get out of bed when I felt like it, now if I don’t get up at 8am, my kids will be late for school. I used to be out club hopping all night, every weekend, and now I can’t stand loud music for more than an hour or two. Since I started having kids, my routine has adjusted to accommodate a lot more family time. I’m much more domesticated now and I’m loving every minute of it. When I had my first daughter in 2009 I was still very active as a musician and record label exec. I remember being in and out of studio while my wife was pregnant. I also remember constantly being on the road touring, from nationwide radio and club tours, to the US, and the UK tour of late 2010.  Touring took me away from home for extended periods. I remember being home with my family for no more than two weeks at a time for almost the entire year. While I enjoyed meeting fans, performing and collaborating with artists from all over the world, I missed spending quality time with my girls. I’m blessed to have the most amazing wife anyone could ask for. She was there from the very beginning of my professional journey as a musician in 1998, and she never complained because she believed in me, a young man living his dream and following his passion. She never once complained about the late nights, the constant trips, the ever-ringing phones, the constant dinner meetings at the house where she had to cook and host my sometimes annoying guests. Some of the people I was constantly surrounded with were creative jerks but she never once complained, I appreciate her for that.

Over time, I began to feel the need to spend more and more time with my family, so I chose to re-evaluate my commitment to my passion of being an active musician. An opportunity came in 2012 to expand the record label and sign new artists which I did, hoping to step away from active performance and spend more of my newly acquired free time developing new talent. My undeniable album was scheduled to be my last studio album and I figured it would be easier for me to be the label boss in order to spend more time doing the more domestic things that are now top priority. Long story short, the partnership to expand the label didn’t work out as planned because partner/investor commitments never quite came through as promised. It put a strain on me emotionally and financially, and eventually I started thinking to myself “…maybe the universe is speaking to me, could this could be a cue to step back and re-evaluate my goals? Am I doing this solely out of passion? Have I lost the plot? Does this make sense as a business? Is this what I want to spend the next ten years of my life doing? Is there maybe something else I ought to be doing right now that I’m not doing? Is there a greater purpose for me out there that I have yet to explore?”.

I decided to take a break from it all by the end of 2012. We were pregnant with the second baby and I realized how much my wife needed me, nothing was more important to me at that time than my family. I spent a lot more time with my wife and my first daughter, I gotta tell you, watching her grow is the most beautiful thing in the world. With Toke my second daughter on the way, I had to re-channel my creative energy and focus on finding a new and meaningful purpose. I couldn’t afford to be away from them, so whatever my new challenge had in store, it had to fit within my new schedule. That is when I began exploring some of my side projects and I zoomed in on a solution I had been working on for a few years on the side, Playdata.

As a musician and label exec doing business in Nigeria, I had to deal with challenges that are specific to the entertainment industry regarding the return on investment of broadcast promotion campaigns. In simple english, you spend a lot of money but you are unable to match the results with your expenses in a scientific manner. It was always a gamble with each release, and I was pretty sure I could figure out a way to minimize that risk. I have always been a technology enthusiast,  the architect in me believes that up to 80% of man’s problems today can be solved with technology, we must focus on innovation, and what better time to take a dive into providing that solution. Today I am proud to say that we have not only built an optimal solution for that problem, but we have raised necessary capital to provide it to anyone in the world who is seeking improved efficiency of their broadcast campaigns. Look up playdata when you have a moment.

Through it all, I have had more time with my family, I have grown in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I have learned to enjoy the serenity I once knew as a young boy growing up in Kaduna. My relationship with close and extended family has never been better. I have lost a lot of the fluff and discovered who my real friends are, but above all I have connected with my inner self and found true happiness. A lot of people believe happiness is directly related to financial independence but while I can confidently say I have never been more excited about my financial situation and it’s prospects, I understand that the happiness I’m experiencing is more as a result of my constant journey towards the discovery of my personal legend and how to inevitably fulfill it.

I enjoyed starting from scratch,…young boy from Kaduna with extraordinary passion that arguably changed the game. I enjoyed the hustle that created eLDee the don, I enjoy influencing younger creatives, I enjoy innovation and what it means to the human race and our beautiful planet. I enjoy acquiring knowledge, I enjoy sharing knowledge, and I hope to continue doing things to inspire generations to come. I may not be on your TV or radio like I used to, I may now be referred to as “that guy wey sing Bosi gbangba“. I may not receive preferential treatment at public functions, but I have taken the first step towards an enriched human experience, and a truly fulfilling life, I have found happiness.

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Cutting off the nose to spite the face

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According to wikipedia, “Cutting off the nose to spite the face” is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem, or pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one’s anger.
 
You may have heard of the recent ban by Broadcast organisation of Nigeria (BON) and Independent broadcasters association of Nigeria (IBAN) of nigerian artists who belong to the copyright society of Nigeria (COSON) on all radio stations. There have been various official and unofficial responses, arguments and different positions on the issue. While this may seem like a random occurence, I personally believe there is no better time to tackle the issue of intellectul property rights and exploitation than now, if we wish to save our industry from further cannibalism. The only way to true sustainability is to find a middle ground, one that favors all parties involved, as everyone will ultimately suffer a negative consequence if we don’t find a resolution.
 
Some of the arguments I have heard include “why should we (radio & TV) pay for the use of music when we are the ones promoting the artists?”, “why is coson harrassing establishments that use music for their businesses”, “how do we (radio and TV) know if the money actually gets to the artists after we pay coson?”. While these could be considered valid arguments, the fundamental issue remains that radio, TV, and every business that uses music ought to pay for the music they use by law. Without this stream of revenue, there is little or no sustainability for the people creating the music and content been exploited.
 
Further, royalty payments are due to creators, according to Nigerian law, but because people who use music have gotten away with not paying for it for so long, it has become the norm to not pay. You must agree that it is illegal to take that stand, because it is part of the law of the land to pay such royalties.
 
I may be wrong but I’m guessing the ban was intended to force artists to delist from COSON, so all the local music can be free to the broadcasters, to continue to exploit the content as they please without compensation to the owners/creators. But any discerning artist will understand this plot, and it should be clearer now that the COSON battle is more in the interest of the musicians. Whether COSON is asking for some pennies or a billion dollars is another story entirely, and that can be debated at a different forum. And If that was the reason for the ban, all I can say is wow!
 
A nice journalist sent me the question below, I hope my answer helps to get a better perspective on the real issue at hand. It is important to state that I am not fighting only for my individual right as a creator, I have had a pretty good run and should be taking a bow from active performance shortly 🙂 Neither am I trying to point the finger of blame at any particular organisation, I am simply stating facts, and comparing them to recent events an how it all affects the sustainability of an industry that I have invested a lot of precious time, sweat, and blood to build. It would also be nice to recieve some residual income from all the work we have put in the last decade, or for as long as our works are exploited.
 
 
Question: I saw your an article written about you and your position on the BON/IBAN artist ban. Do you truly believe that artists will not be effected?
 
Answer: I never stated that artists won’t be affected. My comments suggest that EVERYONE will be affected by the ban, and negatively. What I meant is that the ban will affect artists, but will affect radio listenership as well. 
 
People have the perception that musicians need radio, and yes they are absolutely right, but radio needs music too, no? Radio plays music to keep listeners engaged so that they can sell advertising, so when I see people acting like the music has no value to radio, and it can be ignored, I wonder how they make sense of that. That value that music adds to radio is what needs to be determined, and a price attached to it. I don’t think the ban was well thought out. Why take a position that truly doesn’t benefit anyone on the long run?
 
I am not against radio stations or BON/IBAN questioning COSON about the billing or sharing formula, I am against radio stations who do not want to pay ANYTHING AT ALL for the music that they use. The suggestion that if you do not play certain artists, new artists will emerge is draconian, and suggests abuse of power, especially when COSON is not acting illegally. So what happens when the new artists become successful and demand to be paid royalties, you ban them again?
 
If the argument is about how much to pay, I’m sure there can be resolution. When you attempt to sabotage the efforts of an organisation that is trying to protect the legal rights of hard working Nigerians doing honest business, then I have to ask why? If there are personal issues with individuals within the organisations, there is a way to handle that, and its surely not by banning specific artists music all together, simply because they want to be paid for their hard work. 
 
We can not under-estimate the contribution of BON/IBAN and the radio stations to the development of Nigerian music, neither can we underestimate the power of the music and its creators. We have to acknowledge the fact that COSON is acting in the interest of people who create the music that we all exploit for personal and business use. Everyone wants a pat on the back for their contribution, but it ought to be a symbiotic relationship between IBAN, BON, COSON, Radio stations, and musicians. We should all be on the same side. The fact that radio stations have gotten used to not paying anything for the use of music is wrong and must be corrected, because this is one of the few streams of income in this market, that provides sustainability for creative talent. Let the organisations sit down and discuss how much ought to be paid, however, we must all agree that there should be payment for the use and exploitation of music. 
 
Pls follow me on twitter, I talk a lot, hopefully I make a little sense: @eLDeethedon

How to Record Vocals Like A Pro In A Home Studio

ImageWritten by Jamie Leger – August 6th 2012
The problem with recording vocals in a professional or home studio is… Well, just that… The act of recording vocals.

There is nothing natural about it. The human voice is the most complex and finicky instrument there is, and it takes quite a bit of technical outsmarting and finesse to effectively capture an accurate representation of the audible vibrations emitted from an individual’s’ vocal chords. Unlike recording a guitar, acoustic OR electric, a piano, or almost any other instrument, vocal recording presents a few unique challenges, namely, the critical nuances of the tracking process in regards to the direct effect on the captured performance.

I’ve written lots more technical and procedural articles on Vocal Recording Tips here.

But while most of the articles online focus on the recording process from an engineer’s perspective, which IS important, in this article I am going to speak more from the singer’s vantage point and deliver advanced tips that will hopefully be very helpful for singers/home recordists and perhaps even provide some insight and techniques for engineer/producers as well.

In about 9 years of producing vocals in my home studio, I must have tried about everything…

I’ve tried all kinds of tracking methods. I’ve tried many microphones, many mic positions, all kinds of acoustic treatment solutions from reflective filters to absorbers, to hanging duvet-vocal-booths, to every kind of plugin across many many manufacturers. I’ve tried out several schools of thought, and I’ve brainstormed what I’ve found to be the most critical pieces of advice that I could give in regards to Recording Vocals in a home studio.

I’ve condensed that knowledge down into five primary points – that if utilized effectively would give anyone with decent preamps and a low budget condenser mic-the ability to record professional vocal tracks in their home studio.

The 5 Keys To Professional Vocal Recordings:

Do ALL You Can With WHAT You Got
One of the challenges about producing music in a home recording studio, especially for those without much experience or perspective, is that you can easily go to extremes… Either on the OCD, technically perfectionistic.. Must. Be. Just. Right. But. never quite is… Or on the other hand, get lazy… All the way down to procrastinate. Either way, not getting things DONE.

I’ll definitely admit to having done both…

But the key, to keeping your chops fresh on the recording side, as well as getting the best sounding vocals for each song-is that you are active with each song.

You have to try stuff out. Tinker and explore. Everyone always harps on Mic Placement, but how can you can’t find the SWEET spot in a room if you don’t curiously experiment with it? You should really be familiar with and know how to maximize the best qualities of each component in your rig. Don’t settle for the “this is just the sound of my room,” or “I just don’t have the tools yet,” excuses…

If you have great preamps get the majority of your signal pumping out of THEM, if you’ve got way too much reflection and echo, go and sew two duvets together and attach to the joists in your ceiling (or something) with hanger-wire in a circle. Smooth sounding vocal tent in several hours. It works like a charm for the $40-50 cost of fabric from target.

Knowing the microphones strengths and weaknesses, as well as the singer’s voice type should go without saying.

The key here is that you are creatively learning how to use everything you have, most effectively.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how important the vocals are, and how powerful a well produced vocal performance can have on a song. Not only does it significantly impact the emotional response the listener will have, but it can easily mean the difference between a Film and TV placement or not.

Get Your Mic and Vocal Tracks Prepped First
As I’ve covered in other tutorials in much more depth, this is the name of the game for capturing the best performances for EACH song.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself for not ironing out the details and doing my prep-work before capturing the best vocal performance for a song during a one off scratch performance that was inspired, and which I did not capture properly.

Choose the mic for the song, get the levels adjusted, understand the arrangement and/or strip down the headphone mix for the song, have it ready to go. So when you get that brilliant melody idea or record that scratch performance that turns out to be PERFECT, you can proudly transition into the mixing phase with a satisfied smile on your face!

The VOCAL is the Most Important Piece of Equipment
That’s right, the VOCAL. Thus, take care of the vocalist! We can be fussy about nuances, but cut us some slack, so are engineers, they just don’t have to listen to themselves back on record!

Singers, you must remember this… You are playing an instrument. Your voice must be well maintained and you’re instrument tuned and warmed up. It is 90% performance, and 10% everything else that chisels and polishes the first 90%.

If your voice, (or if you are producing someone else’s) is not respected, massaged and coaxed to inspire and facilitate the best performance of that instrument, then you are not doing your best to create the best record you can.

Now, you know this.. You have heard it… But you cannot hear it enough, because it really is the performance that makes the record.

Key Vocal Frequencies
Before we get into setting suggestions and tips, what you should know is where your voice shines best. Both in and outside the mix of a song. My voice shows off a cutting smoky crispness between 2100-2400khz, and a smooth and balanced body is brought out around 750hz.

It’s helpful to know these, but it’s much more of an exercise of becoming aware of these frequencies, and seeing which key vocal frequencies sound best for the song.

I mean, for most it’s no mystery that the real trick to vocal production is to slot the vocal by finding and highlighting the frequencies that make the vocal standout and sound best, and then cutting those frequencies from other secondary instruments which are competing for them. Vocal takes priority, always. Find where it sounds best, and carve that space out in the mix.

Tracking Setting Suggestions
Ahhh, here we go. The moment you’ve all been waiting for… Well I might as well heighten the anticipation by saying that it’s taken me a long  time to find this “Magic Formula,” that if followed, step by step, will immediately get your records play on the radio and make you millions! And now I shall unveil it to you, free of charge… Lol. Sorry folks, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

The fact is that when I started tracking vocals many many years ago, I recorded naked. No effects added. After tracking with every kind of compressor, with and without EQ boosts, tape saturation plug-ins, special abbey road plugins that boost 8k… I was searching for anyway to somehow give me that elusive little “Extra,” or special technical trick that would make women’s panties instantaneously drop upon listening…

I found out what most seasoned seasoned producers and engineers are probably already grinning about now…
It’s all about a transparently great performance. No effects, just good old mic placement, mic technique, and a high quality singer.

Now, I don’t mean to sound so melodramatic about it, it wasn’t like I was bloodthirsty for some elusive crack pipe that would turn into a genie and grant me eternal happiness…

But I’m smart, I’m technically savvy, I’ve got an audio production and engineering degree, and I’m a singer with a home studio… So i can experiment and will surely find some little trick that makes me sound – golly gee unfathomably GREAT, every-time, without trying!

Well, it’s kind of a boring answer, and you’ve heard it before… But it’s best to just track a clean performance that sounds good prior to any added effects.

Anyway, there are tricks like parallel compression, highly compressed stacked whispering support tracks, and such…

But the real trick… IS a well prepared vocalist, good mic selection/placement, great gain staging, and an INSPIRED performance.

Disclaimer: There are of course some people who are going to prefer to use a little bit of their favorite compression, and you can roll of at 100hz give or take a few, there is nothing wrong with this, and in fact you should test everything out for yourself. Certainly, and other people’s mileage may vary, but let’s not go there. Pro’s know what i’m talking about, regardless of whether or not they track with a bit of compression on their next project.

Key Takeaways

  • If it doesn’t sound great without any effects, than you need to work on your mic placement and/or mic technique.
  • If you think you NEED compression for tracking, you haven’t properly setup your gain structure.
  • Again, rolling off the low end is something I do frequently, and 100hz is a good rule of thumb.

*I know the “technical” objections to the Reflexion Filter, but I tried one, and I love it. Very nice and easy to get an accurate crisp recording. Great on both vocals and guitar.

Recording with a Stripped Down Headphone Mix
This last one is-like all of these, nothing new, but I’ve personally found it to be a real jewel for recording better vocals.

Strip the mix down to simply the bare essentials either in a headphone mix, or if it’s just you, by muting and decreasing levels. Just the main instrument guitar/piano, and whatever else is needed to help define the groove.
It makes it sooo much easier for me to hear myself and not drown in the sea of sound my ears are steady trying to swim in as I sing. For most of us, singing is much easier and much more natural when we can hear ourselves naturally fill a room. The stripped down mix makes it much easier to track, and you can always “one ear out it” with your cans. 🙂

So there you have it. Maybe that’ll even save you a couple of years. It really is all in getting really good at the basics. But I want to hear from YOU! Do you agree, is there anything you’d add, or are there any tips you’d like to share with us as well? What are the real jewels for your vocal production?

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Jamie Leger is a Singer Songwriter by night and Internet Business Coach for Experts (Authors/speakers/coaches/consultants) and Music Entrepreneurs (Songwriters/artists/bands/producers) by day. He helps people turn their knowledge and experience into content and turn their content into cash by building an audience and a profitable brand- through private training and step by step instruction. He has been producing music in his home recording studio and writing content for hundreds of industry magazines and various online publications since 2004. Please enjoy his free guide to the Home Studio.

4 Dos and Don’ts When Writing Songs

Go with your inspiration, but don’t neglect these other elements that will make your song the best it can be

Posted in MusicWorld on June 19, 2013 by Cliff Goldmacher

“Which do you write first, the music or the words?” This is the classic question that all songwriters get asked. In my experience, there’s no easy – or correct – answer to this one. Sometimes it’s the music, sometimes it’s the lyrics, and, often, it’s some mystical, organic combination of the two. More importantly, there is no one way to write a song. Some of the best – and worst – songs ever written were created using the same techniques. To that end, I’m going to cover four different ways to approach writing a song and some of the “dos” and “don’ts” you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through each one.

1. Writing based on a title idea/lyrical hook

Coming up with a really catchy title or lyrical hook is an art in and of itself. If you’ve got one, congratulations. Now that you’ve got it, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Do remember to make sure that everything in your lyric points to and supports your lyrical hook. Having a catchy hook only works if you build a foundation around it so that when the hook arrives, there’s a sense of drama and release.

Don’t forget to give the song real emotional content. It’s possible to be so focused on the hook and setting it up that you forget to be sincere. While the average listener might not be able to tell you why, the song won’t move them in the way that a song with genuine emotional content would.

2. Writing based on a general idea/lyrical concept

Sometimes you’ve been through an experience or have an idea for a song that feels important enough to write about. That’s as good a place as any to start.

Do capture the feeling and emotion of your concept. You obviously felt strongly enough to want to write about this idea, so immerse yourself in it and really tell the story.

Don’t be too vague. Because you haven’t started with an actual lyrical hook, you’ll need to remember to bring your overall concept to a very sharp point by summarizing it with a phrase or hook line. This hook is something you’ll hopefully come to as you’re developing your lyric around your idea. A story without a summarizing point or hook risks being too unfocused to keep your listeners’ attention.

3. Writing from a melodic idea

If you’re a melodic writer, then you’ve got a different set of challenges. Beautiful, catchy melodies are a rare commodity and should be treated with the appropriate respect.

Do honor your melody and build your song around it. Remember, people will learn your melody long before they learn your lyric, so having a good one is not to be taken lightly.

Don’t let the melody box you into awkward words or watered-down phrases. While a beautiful melody is one part of a song, it’s not the only part. Cramming in words or compromising on your lyrical integrity isn’t an acceptable approach when writing from a melody. Remember, it’s the give and take of a catchy melody and a natural, conversational lyric that makes for a great song.

4. Writing from a chord progression/groove

When you pick up your guitar or sit down at the piano, often it’s a chord progression or groove that comes first. Great!

Do dig in and develop the groove and feel. This can really set the mood of a song and inspire all kinds of interesting melodic and lyrical ideas. Also, a good groove is the very first thing the average listener will notice when they hear your song.

Don’t rely on a chord progression or groove at the expense of your melody and lyric. This is no time to get lazy. A chord progression and groove in and of itself is only – in most genres – an arrangement idea, which doesn’t really constitute a song. Without a strong melody and lyric, it’s entirely possible to have a great sounding track, and, unfortunately, a mediocre song.

As I stated at the top of this article, there isn’t one “right” way to write a song. I’d highly recommend trying every possible songwriting approach you can. Often, as songwriters, we find ourselves in a rut where we go back to the same approach over and over. While this may be comforting and even result in increased productivity, in the long run, it might not provide you with the most inspired or unique songs you’re capable of writing. Why not leave your comfort zone and try a couple of different ways of writing? You never know what you’ll get.

Good luck!

Bio Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff’s site,http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter including monthly online webinars. Go to http://www.educatedsongwriter.com/webinar/ for the latest schedule.

Cliff’s company, http://www.NashvilleStudioLive.com , provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville’s best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.

You can download a FREE sample of Cliff’s eBook “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos” by going to http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/ebook k.

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