1.Don’t tell the singer that this is going to be the take that will be forever imprinted in the recording. There’s no better recipe for a bad vocal performance than having a wound-up, nerve-struck singer.
2.Do drink tons of water before doing a vocal take.
3.Do know the lyrics—you can hear when someone is reading the freakin’ words off a sheet.
4.Don’t do a vocal performance with the mindset that you can fix it later—no matter how good your technological tools. Give it all you have the first time around.
5.Do vocal warmups. Start with a yawning-like motion while softly portamenting from your highest to your lowest note. Then do some triad scales. Then do ascending and descending scales while saying “picky-ticky” to exercise your lips and get better enunciation.
6.Do use the best vocal mic you can find. I use an ELUX 251 whenever possible; your voice may like something different, so use that.
7.Do stretch your body. Loosen the muscles of your legs, diaphragm, neck, and back before singing.
8.Do a ton of takes. Mix engineers seldom say “I wish we had less stuff to choose from.”
9.Do rest your voice every half hour. Don’t blow out your voice, and then try and record anyway; you’ll just have to re-do it.
10.Don’t be shy . . . tell the engineer what you need. More volume? A little reverb in the cans for confidence? Less drums? Don’t accept no for an answer. —Jeff Klopmeyer
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