So you’ve written some songs that you are really proud of and you want to get them out into the world. What is your next move?
Do you jump on google and look for the closest recording studio to book some time?
Before you do that, here are a few things that you should consider...
Do you want someone to just record your songs, or do you want a record producer that understands your musical lane, your market, can sculpt and elevate the story behind your songs and has the production skills to back it up?
There is a big difference between the two and spending some time finding the right producer that fits your vibe, understands your needs and can pull off your vision will be time well spent.
But before you even start looking for producers, you firstly need to understand exactly what your vision is and how you want to be seen as a songwriter and artist. If you don’t know that you should at least have an idea of what you like, what you don’t, why you are attracted to certain elements - musically, aesthetically, structurally, lyrically, melodically, sonically - and have some references or specific examples of what you like.
Having a grasp on this will make the producer type you start looking for a lot clearer. (We can get into all of these another time).
Then you need to do your research. Find out who produced, worked on, wrote, co-wrote and mixed the records that you love and start making a list. Having an extra pair of ears to give critical feedback is good, but having the RIGHT pair of critical ears is far better.
Keep in mind that with any art like songwriting and production, there is no right and wrong answer or point of view, but some feedback may be better aligned with your career trajectory and may help to portray your brand to the eyes of the public, in the light that YOU intended. Spend the time and find those people.
There’s no need to rush it
It’s only natural to be excited when you have some great ideas and there is often a temptation to rush the creative and production processes to get to releasing as fast as possible. Instead, spend some time aligning your intentions and expectations with your producer in preproduction. Then you can workshop and experiment with the song and story, and possibly even rewrite sections or the whole song, multiple times if necessary, so your intentions and expectations can hopefully not just be met, but exceeded.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas. Sure, you may have been playing this song live for the two years and your mum who comes to your gigs each week loves the way it is (or at least is used to hearing it this way), but perhaps there might be a different and potentially more “engaging” way to present it. A good producer will absolutely understand that this song is your baby and the intricacies and vulnerabilities of what this song represents. Being allowed to see behind the curtain and be invited into someones inner sanctum shows an enormous amount of trust, and that privilege is certainly not lost on good producers.
Be open to build that trust and find a producer that you are comfortable sharing and collaborating with where it’s understood that all decisions and suggestions made are SOLELY to benefit the song.
With these points in mind, this may help you to make something you will be proud to show your grandkids years down the track and may hopefully even result in far less units collecting dust in a box of under your bed.
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