Me with Vocal Producer Judy Rodman
How exciting- you're getting ready to record new music!!!
Recording on any level means you need to make some decisions about where you'll record, how you'll record and who you'll record with. All these factors will be critical in bringing your art to life and it's important to build the best team for YOU.
Do Your Homework
Take time to visit studios in your local area to meet the people, get a general vibe of the space and ask some questions. Even better, ask if you can watch a session and talk to other clients of theirs. This can really be done anytime so you're ready to record when the time does come.
Get to Know People and Know What You Need
You need to learn as much as you can about the people you are working with---strengths and weaknesses. Along with this, you need to know what you are looking for as the client for this project. These preferences might change over time as you become more familiar with the studio and the recording process. They also might change depending on if you are looking for a demo of a song to pitch to others or recording a project you'll release as an artist.
For example, I have learned over time I like working with people in the studio who are highly collaborative and like to share ideas (musicians included!) I also like people who bring a positive energy and focus to the studio team. But, there were times in my career that I wanted to walk in and just bring the songs, and let the producer / engineer drive the process with very little feedback from me as the client.
3. Know the strengths of everyone involved- Much like building a sports team, you need to know what the strengths are of each player. Can your producer also engineer? Can your engineer play drums? What are the benefits and drawbacks of having people play multiple 'positions' on your record? What do you think might be missing from the team skill set?
One big example I can share is that studio singing used to be beyond stressful for me as someone who had very little vocal training. On early records, I would sing lines over and over again trying to get the right tones and emotion, and it was hit or miss at best. This made for very long and expensive vocal sessions and a lot of frustration! Thankfully, I found a great vocal producer (and friend) in Judy Rodman. Judy has been the vocal producer on my last three records. She focuses on the technical aspects of each line, so I can focus on the performance and heart of the song. She pushes me to bring out my best voice in a very supportive way and it works great for me!
A final thought...
If you're getting ready to record a large project, you may want to try recording one song at a couple of different studios to see what you think works out best. Also, remember your team can change over time as you change; you don't have to record at the same studio the same way. And be sure to treat everyone with respect and appreciation---it goes a long way to building a team that will enjoy working with you too!