Booking your studio session is a special moment. You’ve decided to bring your great song idea to life. Chances are your gut will tell you that this is the right time, but you maybe unsure whether or not you are ready. Here are 5 things you must do before you book your session.
- Write Your Lyrics.
Choose a location with minimal distractions to write your lyrics. One artist told me he writes his lyrics in his bathroom. At first I found this peculiar, though soon I understood the genius behind his design. Most people only use the bathroom temporarily so it’s normally empty. Work on your next masterpiece where no one will disturb you.
Writing your lyrics during your studio session is a great option if it’s in your budget. At The NatCave Studio you can rent our space for a cheaper rate if you don’t need to use the audio equipment or work with an engineer. If you use public transportation, the subway is a great place to write. This works best during non-peak hours so you can sit comfortably and work your creative juices. You’ll find many random points of inspiration including various art works, advertisements, literature, clothing, conversations and more. Your headphones will help keep your writing session private.
Your smartphone or tablet’s app store has many convenient writing tools such as rhyming dictionaries. You can write your lyrics on your smartphone, your computer, your tablet, a notebook, etc. If you choose a device that uses a battery, be sure to save your document regularly.
With a free Google/Gmail account, Google provides you with Google Docs a fantastic word processor. It automatically saves everything you type securely to the cloud as you write. If you ever lose your device you can easily restore your documents by logging into your Google account through another device. I especially like that the phone app is subway-friendly, meaning you can create/edit documents offline without a cellular or WiFi connection. Another cool feature in Google Docs is you can easily share documents with other people. You can write on your device while seeing in real-time what your collaborators are writing on their devices. Check out this demonstration.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRaelhVbtx8Organize the different parts of your song. Most songs have an intro, a chorus, verses, a bridge and an outro. It’s customary to write 16 bars for each verse and 8 bars for the chorus (sometimes 4 bars repeated twice). Choose a simple format to save studio time and help your audience connect with your song.
- Write Your Song.
Lyric writing is not exactly songwriting, although it is an important part. Choosing the instrumental or building instrument sounds from scratch is also part of songwriting. Some artists choose the song’s background music before they start writing, others choose the music after. Either method is fine.
Think of the lyrics as the dialogue in a play. In the play’s script you also have notes that describe the scenery, the attitudes of the actors, the background effects, the lighting, etc. Think about attributes that will relay your song’s mood and message. Here’s a simple example: if you mention the police in your song, write in parentheses (police siren). When it’s time to mix your song, ask the engineer to add a police siren sample in that spot. The siren isn’t a lyric but it’s an important part in the song, hence ‘songwriting’. Other examples of songwriting are: temporarily removing the instrumental to bring attention to a phrase in your lyrics (better known as dropping the beat), also underlining words that you want to repeat on an overdub track on top of main vocals (ad libing).
- Rehearse Your Song.
Rehearse your song over and over to help you develop your performance. Remove words that clutter your song. Add words in the empty spaces. Replace words with synonyms that have more or less syllables. Each time you read your lyrics you commit more of it to your memory. You begin to focus more on your vocal performance than reading the words. Rehearse until it no longer sounds like you’re reading. Your priority is to entertain.
Many artists write their lyrics while whispering to the instrumental playing in their headphones. This is general courtesy so you do not disturb other people around you. Afterwards, find an appropriate time and place to practice performing your lyrics aloud as if you were in the booth. Notice that increasing the volume in your voice requires you to breathe differently. You will have this same challenge while you record in the booth during your session. Adjust your lyrics so that you can breath in sync with your flow. Make your breathing-rhythm part of your performance.
- Choose a Title.
Don’t spend too much time deciding on your song’s title. The title is a reference for you and your fans to identify one of your songs from another. There are likely many people on the planet that share your first name, but who you are is more important than what your name is. Likewise, the content of your song is more important than what you name it.
Associate your song’s title with it’s chorus. Choose a title unlike any of your previous songs. Search the internet to see if any other titles or topics relate to your song title. Before your session starts, tell your engineer your song’s title so they can organize your song’s files in it’s own project folder.
- Choose a Session Date/Time/Duration.
Check your calendar to see what days you’ll be available to work on your song in the studio. Keep a few slots in mind as the studio may not be available at your most ideal date/time. Book enough time to get everything you want to get done in your session. Remember, the engineer needs time to work too. Always book more time than you think you’ll need. Use any leftover time to try different performance styles, experiment with effects, work on radio edit and stage mixes, or get a head start on recording your next song. Make sure you can afford the session you are booking. Pay for your session with cash. Also, have a credit/debit card handy in case you end up needing extra studio time.
Follow these simple tips to book your studio sessions with confidence and leave with an awesome new track. If you choose to collaborate with other artists, be sure they are on point with their writing tasks before you invite them to record with you.