Quick tip: Putting a singer at ease in the studio.
If you're doing vocal overdubs, and doing them right, it's going to take some time. If you have an inexperienced singer the best place to start is by making them feel at ease in the studio.
Setting the environment
A good place to begin is to make the environment comfortable by dimming the overhead lights. Bright lights can make even the hippest studios feel clinical. Candles also work well in this situation, but don't make it so dim that they can't read the lyric sheet. A light on the music stand could help create the best of both worlds.
Takes. Lots and lots of takes
Next, if you know they are going to be doing a lot of takes of the same parts make sure to leave a good amount of space before and after the punch (that's a drop-in for you Brits). They need to know that they have enough room to feel comfortable before the punch so they can get into the vibe of the song. Better yet, don't let them know where you're punching in or out. Just have them to sing along and you punch what needs to be replaced. The less thinking the vocalist needs to do the more natural the take will be.
Be patient and never show signs of frustration
If the singer is good, and passionate about the material, he'll do whatever you - the producer - will ask of him or her. That in mind, be patient. If they just aren't hitting the part you should move on. Calmly let them know that "the part just isn't right yet, but be we'll get it. Let's move on and come back to it." Better yet, if you've been working at it for a good amount of time take a break and make them a cup of tea. This shows that you care. Catering to your artist is almost always the best way to get the most out them. Ultimately that's what we want right? Our artists to be comfortable enough that they put their whole heart and soul into a performance. For me, that's the only thing that really matters.
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