Old 02-14-2020, 12:03 PM   #1
toleolu
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Default First Take Vocals on Black Velvet

Finally got some vocals recorded on that Black Velvet cover I've been working on. This was the singer's first time in an isolation booth, so she was just kind of messing around around trying to get comfortable.

Didn't do anything on the mix other than tweak some levels. Only effect/plugin was Ignite Amps for cabinet emulation on the bass and electric guitar.

Drum track recorded and mixed by Reaper user Abraham Liftin. If you ever need a drummer on a project, hit him up, he's awesome.

The bass track was record by a local bass player I met a couple of months ago. He stopped by the house on his way home from work and recorded the track in one take.

Shout out to Pipeline, recorded the vocals in the booth at his studio.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mjc1fc9f5p...ocals.wav?dl=0

Plan is to have the singer back in the booth once she feels ready, (I provided her with a track with the vocals muted so she could use that to practice at home), then have a second vocalist add harmonies and a few other touches. The acoustic and electric guitar parts still need work as well. Still trying to figure out what I want to do with those.

Last edited by toleolu; 02-14-2020 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:01 PM   #2
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She sounds fine.. Once mixed properly with eq, compression and all the sheblang, she should sound quite decent!

It's obvious she wasn't familiar with the song, but she definitely has the range for this song. The only advice I can give her is not to rely too much on he vibrato. I also do that a lot when I'm not too sure of what note to hit.

However, that song calls more for a straight to the point rock belt than heavy vibrato. She can do it, as she did it in a few spots.. But yeah, in this song she should use it as a light spice on some key moments.. not as the main ingredient.

Just my 2C..

Great start though!
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:57 PM   #3
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Two short takes

Vocals:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1a8c8bjpfv...ocals.wav?dl=0

No Vocals:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mcpw104bxv...ocals.wav?dl=0


The vocals are pretty weak in the beginning but then gets pretty loud at the end, since this was just a rehearsal I'm hoping the singer can even that out a bit in the performance.

I lust have a little reverb and compression on the vocal track. Put the No Vocals track up there in case there's something in there that might be stepping the vocals or might benefit from some tweaking here and there.

EDIT: I went ahead and tried a volume envelope to try to even things out a bit:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t75v3ypuou...lsenv.wav?dl=0

Thanks

Last edited by toleolu; 02-16-2020 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:59 PM   #4
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Holy "show tunes" vibrato, Batman! I'll agree with g4greg; she's relying on the vibrato to cover unfamiliarity, but when you go to "produce" the final, get her to focus on a tight and fast vibrato, and be specific where you want it used. Your best friend is a lyric sheet, and underline the stuff you want vibrato'd, bold the vocal distortion, etc. Hopefully she listens to the original and "gets" why the vocal works in that song. It's not about notes, it's all about the delivery.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SoundGuyDave View Post
Holy "show tunes" vibrato, Batman! I'll agree with g4greg; she's relying on the vibrato to cover unfamiliarity, but when you go to "produce" the final, get her to focus on a tight and fast vibrato, and be specific where you want it used. Your best friend is a lyric sheet, and underline the stuff you want vibrato'd, bold the vocal distortion, etc. Hopefully she listens to the original and "gets" why the vocal works in that song. It's not about notes, it's all about the delivery.
She's a classically trained vocalist, her father started her voice training when she was very young. Plus blues and classic rock was never her primary genre.

I told her when we first started that this really is about her performance. This take was her first rodeo so I'm hoping now that she's had a chance to hear herself, we'll be able to work on the vibrato and other aspects of her performance.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:30 AM   #6
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My opinion for what its worth. She sounds very typical of girl vocalists trying to sing rocky songs at this stage. Maybe you need to talk to her about projecting some anger into her performance, rather than treating it like yet another sweet, plummy vocal for the old folks home concerts.
In my experience, it is hard to wean a decent singer off sounding like a decent singer, but a must if she is going to sound believable on this sort of song. Hope she finds her way! Lots of potential there.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:46 AM   #7
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My opinion for what its worth. She sounds very typical of girl vocalists trying to sing rocky songs at this stage. Maybe you need to talk to her about projecting some anger into her performance, rather than treating it like yet another sweet, plummy vocal for the old folks home concerts.
In my experience, it is hard to wean a decent singer off sounding like a decent singer, but a must if she is going to sound believable on this sort of song. Hope she finds her way! Lots of potential there.
I was just sitting here playing around with adding an organ track and I was thinking pretty much the same thing. She's also Japanese American so getting that gritty pissed off southern chick vibe going might be a bit difficult for her.

I had another lady in the studio, she's military, from Oklahoma, thought she was going to work out great, but she got a bit intimidated by the other two singers.

As I mentioned, this was the singers first go around in a recording studio, so I'm hoping next time we get together we can address some of these things. If we can pull it off, great. If not, we'll try something else.

Thanks
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:06 PM   #8
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Respectfully, I have to disagree with you there... Emotion is emotion, regardless of ethnicity. Yes, how it's expressed can vary, but the raw guts of it remain the same. If your singer is one that you plan on working with for a while, it might do some good for the *PARTNERSHIP* to establish some common ground. If you BOTH sit down and watch Dimash Kudaiberganov singing "SOS d'un terrien en ditresse" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEz1qGS0T1Q) and after you pick your jaws up off the floor, actually analyze what he did in his performance. Then, factor in the "weirdness" that you're watching... The kid's 20 (when the video was shot), classically trained (mom is an opera singer) from age 5, from Khazakstan, performing in French at a Chinese talent competition...

Things to pay particular attention to:
1) Use of dynamics, PARTICULARLY the very last phrase, with that subtle but beautiful crecendo/diminuendo. Listen to the colour change in his vocal tone! The whole performance is very dynamic, and you can hear the emotion dripping throughout.
2) Each section repetition is sung in a different style, from traditional classical, "popera," straight pop, and rock. Same pitches, VASTLY different delivery and colour. Take note also, that these are the same pitches, so it's not that he's going "rock" in the higher tenor registers, he's coloring his voice to paint the picture of the song.
3) How he manipulates his vibrato. It's a master class! Where and how he uses it, and also how much depth he gets without pitch issues.

The main take-away point is that EVERYTHING he does in that performance is calculated, there is nothing that is "accidental." Oh, and as a warning, this guy is a bit of a freak of nature, with that much control over a (no kidding) SIX octave range. Don't present this as a "target" for her to hit, that would be discouraging, but offer it as an example of HOW she can approach creating a delivery that transcends mere pitch and rhythm.

Finally, if she's not used to the whole "studio vibe," do whatever you can to get her physically and emotionally comfortable. Stupid stuff, like a rose on the music stand, or incense, or draping a light shawl over the mic stand boom (not the mic!!) or just having her favourite tea handy goes a long way towards calming anxiety. Finally, make sure she's VERY comfortable with her monitor mix!! If she's classically trained, she may not want a bunch of herself with verb in the headphones, she may be more comfortable going with one-muff-off and listening to herself acoustically. If that's the case, pan the monitor feed to the side she's using to help cut down on bleed.

Above all, make the session FUN!
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:18 PM   #9
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Sorry my mentioning her ethnicity got you so worked up.

Just so you know, all the people involved on this project are friends. The singer and I have known each other for years. This is all just fun and fellowship with a group of people I know. I just post on here for advice on getting better with Reaper, mixing, music, that kind of stuff. Think I'm doing ok as a human being.

That said, I do appreciate your feedback.

Thanks
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:41 PM   #10
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S'all good, my friend! Not worked up at all, just trying to be helpful! Cheers!
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:45 PM   #11
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Same here brother. No offense taken, none intended.

Context can really be a bitch here sometimes.
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SoundGuyDave View Post
If you BOTH sit down and watch Dimash Kudaiberganov singing "SOS d'un terrien en ditresse" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEz1qGS0T1Q)
Agreed. And I have to say French is a great language to sing emotional ballads in.
I am without sound on this computer but just reading the lyrics make it pretty clear what a gut-ripper this song is.

Wondering if I could do a good enough translation to start doing it myself, assuming it hasn't already been done...
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:07 AM   #13
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I'm pretty sure there are translations out there. The song was origially done by Daniel Balavoine back in the 80's if that helps. And yes, it's a very well-written piece.
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:09 PM   #14
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I'm pretty sure there are translations out there. The song was origially done by Daniel Balavoine back in the 80's if that helps. And yes, it's a very well-written piece.
I hate to derail the thread, but since you guys are talking about Dimash, I have to say that discovering his version of "S.O.S." was almost life changing for me, a few months ago. I've listened to it about 500 times since then and it still gives me tears and shivers every time. I never thought I'd hear a singer that makes someone like Freddy Mercury seem....."very good".

Here's a version with English subs: https://youtu.be/eyUu2ZS4VBA

I have a video on Youtube doing an instrumental version playing everything, but I don't want to spam my music in Toleolu's thread, so I'm not dropping a link.
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:08 PM   #15
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I have a video on Youtube doing an instrumental version playing everything, but I don't want to spam my music in Toleolu's thread, so I'm not dropping a link.
Link away brother.
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:01 PM   #16
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Link away brother.
You're a great guy. I'd rather keep your thread (almost) on track. Maybe I'll post it as a new thread some day.
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