Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, Music Director

It Always Takes a Bar or Two

Singing in the studio is one of the hardest things a musician could attempt to do.  This is a huge task after all.  You are laying down the MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF A SONG (and don’t you forget it guitarists!). 

A common problem I run into with vocalists is that it takes a while for a vocalist to work out the timing of a phrase.  A few beats in, things seem to settle down a little.  I find this even with amazing singers.

Here’s a trick for you.  Ask your singer to breath ON THE BEAT.  This ensures that the body stays rhythmic and always in time with the song.  When you’re breathing all bets are off.  If you breathe out of time, chances are good that you’re not going to get the best entrance.  Taking a methodical breathe on beat 4 for a downbeat entrance will help you to relax and not rush the beat.

I learned this trick while playing trumpet in bands and orchestras growing up.  A conductor will often give a prep beat, which he infers should be THE ENTIRE ORCHESTRA’S breath IN UNISON.  The conductor himself will breathe in time.  I remember more than one conductor asking that the percussion section breathe in time as well, even though they were not playing wind instruments.  Sure enough, when the percussion section would join in the breath-scapades, everything tightened up.

As the guys from Anthem Lights.  We did this the other day in our session and things instantly fell into place in a better way than before.  Oh yes, they sounded so good too!!!  facebook.com/anthemlights

Happy recording!