Sing It With a Smile

Did you ever start recording a new song and when you hit playback things just didn't sound the way you wanted?  I've been working on a new song called "Avery" that I was really excited about recording.  I've been trying for several weeks to cut the vocal for the track and every time I played back my take, it just didn't sound right, kind of flat, boring and lifeless. 

Have you been there?  Like me, you might have tried to switch mics, route to other preamps, add compression or different reverbs, hoping the gear would fix it, but still the track remained lifeless.  Then it dawned on me, the gear wasn't the problem it was me.  This particular track is an upbeat, medium tempo, feel-good song which literally uses the word "good" about 15 times.  My problem was, that I was thinking really hard about singing.  My face was way too serious, and as a result, that's how my voice came out sounding.  I did the next take with a big smile on my face and "BOOM", there it was, a wining take with all of the life my track needed! 

As a producer for other people, the goal is to get the vocalist mood to match the mood of the song, but when you work alone, recording yourself, it can be easy to forget something so basic since you're not observing yourself.  The thing to remember is that you can hear a smile, on the phone, in conversation, or in a song.  It's so simple that there's a "For Dummies" about it  You can apply this concept to your music just as easily as you can phone conversation.  The next time you're recording, ask yourself if your mood and expression match the mood and expression of your song to ensure the proper performance delivery.  If you need a little help, practice your singing in front of a mirror so you can monitor your facial expressions.


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