By Cari Cole
Record making is an art, a science, a process, an alchemical experience. It should not be thrown together, recorded in a rush, and your vocals should not be recorded all in one day. It won’t help.
Even more, the song selection is critical to the success of the record. Whatever you think you can hide in production, you can’t. A song speaks for itself with just a guitar and a voice. If it doesn’t blow people away then, you don’t have what you need. Don’t fool yourself.
Look, by the time an artist has made 2 or 3 records, or even 5 or 6, they have probably learned a lot of this stuff. But even still, I’ve seen artists put out 10 records and miss it. And they’re good ~ really good. Great voices, great ideas … but —- the songs and production are not.
That’s why I created this list for you (and a course, but you can find out about that at the bottom of this article.)
I hope it helps you blow your next record out of the water and grab yourself a spot on the Billboard charts!
Top 8 Tips to Make an Exceptional Record
1. Raise the Bar Don’t Lower It
Your record is only as good as your songs are. Don’t measure or compare yourself against crap stuff that happens to make noise. New artists have to be better than everyone else to push through ~ especially as an independent without marketing capital. News of great music travels fast.
2. Lock Yourself in a Room and Don’t Come Out Until You Have a Record
This technique has been used by some of our best beloved artists. Hozier did the same to unearth his record that blew up the airwaves. And if you have a day job, then lock yourself in a room at night ~ or vice versa. You need an uninterrupted concentrated period of time to get to the good stuff. Do it.
3. Dig Deeper to Speak Louder
Don’t write about casual stuff. And stop cloaking your insides with outsides. The only way to write a record that will break through is to bare your soul. You’ve got to dig deep to get grab people’s attention. This world doesn’t respond to fluff ~ not really.
4. A Powerful Vision & Concept
An artist needs a clear message ~ a strong voice that will cut through the noise to get heard. Regardless of singles, we are still releasing records. Bodies of work that are a snapshot from the artist’s life. Work on your vision, your concept for your album ~ and make it count.
5. Be Witness
One of the most important perspectives on your music is yours. However, you must gain objectivity to get it. In Buddhism they call it “the witness.” Most people get too close to their songs to be objective and it kills their records. Time helps. An Inner Circle helps (see below.) Putting your songs away for 2 weeks and then relisten. An objective perspective it everything. And then listen to your gut response ~ don’t question your gut.
6. Stay Woke
Stay fast to your vision until the very final mix (and sometimes even after.) Don’t go to sleep. This is your baby, your vision, your piece of art. Make sure it has what it needs to go the distance and stop at nothing to get it. That means, you may have to re-record vocals, or re-mix or recut a track with a different producer. Stop. At. Nothing.
7. Inner Circle of Trust
Build an Inner Circle of Trust with people who radically tell you the truth with love and respect. Choose people whose opinions you trust. Nothing is more valuable. Nothing.
8. Stalk and Hunt Down An Exceptional Team
Do a lot of research to find your production team. Get referrals, listen to their production reels, don’t settle until you find a sound you are looking for. Producers are artists like you. But if you don’t hear YOUR sound in THEIR sound, you won’t get it. No matter what anyone says. And for pete’s sake, find someone who is good at bringing YOU out, not slapping their sound and ego on you.