5 Tips To Get The Best Out Of The Artist
The client has arrived.
The instruments are tuned. The microphones are set and you’re ready to hit record.
As much fun as we all have nerding out over engineering and production tips, it’s important to keep in mind the main reason we are in the studio: to create music with emotion and vibe that will resonate with listeners. In order to do that, we need the Artists more than they need us. And more importantly, we need them at their absolute best. Here are 5 tips that we as Producers/Engineers can do to ensure that our clients are at the top of their game.
1. BE GENUINE
This is absolutely the most important thing we can keep in our minds as we run our sessions and applies to every other tip in this article. The people in the room with you can sense insincerity, whether it’s conscious or not and it will inevitably change the vibe of the room. Try to find real positives along with what’s not gone well. Remember to be kind and caring but also direct in your criticism. Our job is to deliver a high-quality product, so it is essential that we address the issues in the performance, sound, production, or mood. A safe studio environment is not necessarily a place where we don’t have hard conversations, but rather a place where we can have those talks and know that everyone has the best of intentions and speaks without malice.
2. BE TRANSPARENT, VULNERABLE, AND/OR HONEST
Often times, these are 3 key factors in an artist’s ability to connect with his or her listeners. In order for our artist’s to truly impact our audience, they will most likely have to go to a place that they usually keep guarded. How can we expect them to feel safe to do that if we do not offer some of these qualities in return? Take the time to know your artists and understand their songwriting. Have conversations that will lead to the twi of you getting to know each other better. Let it grow organically and more often than not, one or all of these qualities will begin to develop in your relationship.
3. DETERMINE THE TYPE OF MOTIVATION
We are all different people and we all have different catalysts that drive us. Tying into our last two tips, get to know your artist. Do they respond more to positive reinforcement? Or do they prefer to hear what the problem is right away? Once they’re told the problem, do they want to know why? These are some questions to keep in mind when you’re working with your client. Try to get a feel for what is best for each artist, project, song, or moment. No two artists are the same, so pay attention to what works for each individual person that you work with.
4. SETTING THE PACE OF THE SESSION
Establishing a workflow that is both comfortable and productive is important to your sessions and clients. If you’re working with veteran studio musicians, it’s important to work fast and keep up with the pace that the music is flowing out at. If we are slowing the session down from the other side of the glass, that can have a negative effect on the creative juices of the musicians. However, if we are working with less experienced musicians, working too quickly may have an adverse effect on their creativity. Take the time to explain and teach your client why certain things work and don’t work in the studio. It will help build trust in your relationship and can have a positive effect on their mood and inspiration.
5. CREATE AN EXPERIENCE
The recording studio is not just about instruments and gear. It’s about the experience. Take the time to make sure your client is comfortable and at ease. Offer them water, coffee, or tea. Set the lighting in the rooms to reflect the mood of the songs. Draw the curtains to give your singers privacy when they’re recording. These seemingly trivial things are easy to overlook but can make a huge difference in your artist being able to let go and be themselves, or stay guarded and give you a sterile performance.
I hope some of these tips are helpful when you’re running your next session. As always, I would love to keep the conversation going! Please don’t hesitate to let me know what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, and what you agree and disagree with in this article. If there are some artists out there, we’d love to hear your thoughts as well!