You have a song (or song idea) that you want to record professionally? I can help. Although I'm based in Richmond, TX, we can do a lot of this work remotely as well.
In this article I'll go into detail about the whole process. Additionally, check out this article where we followed the process from beginning to end for a young singer-songwriter's debut song.
If you've finished the song, we need to write it down in one form or another - either on a lyric sheet (lyrics and chords), or a lead sheet (lyrics, chords, melody).
I prefer the lead sheet method, because other musicians will understand the music more quickly (and in the studio, time is money!)
Once we have written it down, we need to consider the arrangement - the "feel" or the "vibe."
Will it be Rock? Blues? Reggae? Jazz? Pop? EDM (Electronic Dance Music)?
The easiest way we determine this is to ask the question: Which song(s) do you want this song to sound like?
You might say, "I want it to sound exactly like This Song," or you might say "I like the sounds of This Part of This Song and I like the sounds of That Part of That Song." Either way, this will point us in the right direction.
Next, we need to determine tempo - nail it down to a specific bpm. There are a lot of things that are easy to change later on in the process of recording, but tempo is not one of them.
We then need to figure out the basic instruments. The genre will inform this quite a lot - if you want a Rock tune, you're going to need drums, bass, acoustic or electric guitar (probably) and vocal, at a minimum.
You might also want to add piano, organ, strings or synths.
Can't play all those? Don't worry, we've got you covered. In some situations, we'll use digital instruments. Other situations will require a live musician. If it's an instrument we don't play, we have studio musicians who can.
The more we have decided about the arrangement of the song before we go into the studio, the faster we'll get the recording done.
Of course, there will be light bulb moments in the studio when we change the arrangement on the spot because we all hit a chord, note or riff that we loved - but in general, we want to have as many decisions made as possible before beginning the recording.
Once we're done writing and arranging, we will go to the studio, where my friend and colleague Doyle Odom will use his 25+ years of recording experience to make your song the best it can be.
First we'll record a "guide" instrument track (usually piano or guitar), and a "guide" vocal track. These two tracks will serve as blueprints on which we'll build the rest of the song.
Once we have the guide tracks, we'll record the real instruments. I play piano, keys, organ, and sing tenor. Doyle sings tenor and baritone, and plays a myriad of instruments (drums, bass, guitar, etc.)
Anything we can't cover ourselves, we will either do digitally with the keyboard, or hire studio musicians.
Now that the instruments are recorded, we'll have you go back in and record your vocals again, now that you'll have the full energy of the band in your ears instead of just one instrument.
Then we'll want to add harmonies and backup vocals, if necessary.
Once everything has been recorded, it's time to pick the best parts.
We'll go through a process on vocals called "comping", where we pick the best takes of each phrase, and stitch them together. This way we get the very best recording we can get.
We can do the same process with instruments if we need to.
Once it's edited to our satisfaction, we're down to mixing and mastering.
This is where we make sure of things like:
...and much more.
We also offer a registration process of your music. You want to register with BMI, ASCAP or SESAC (we usually go with BMI). These are the organizations which collect royalties on your behalf whenever your song is used commercially.
You'll also want to file a copyright with the government, which we can help with as well. Although your song is technically copyrighted from the time you write it, it's not defensible in court if someone should ever use it and you never filed the paperwork.