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Finding a producer and getting a deal

#1 User is offline   Duke Icon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 03:41 PM

Say I have a song I want to produce so that i can perform it live with a backing track and backing vocals, and I have no record deal or anything I have all the chords and stuff figured out, I just need someone to produce it for me. How should I go on to do that? I would want it to sound professional. Until i've gotten a record deal, should I just perform my songs acoustically? and If I meet with publishers and stuff, should I just sing with the piano?

#2 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 03:57 PM

Whew! Thatís a lot of questions.

1. Say I have a song I want to produce so that I can perform it live with a backing track and backing vocals

You just need a musician who can record the tracks for you. People here do it all the time. There are also professional demo recording studios who will produce your track for a fee. I recommend Galen Breen at the Gator Hole. Prices range from $100 for a simple guitar/piano track for $300 + for a full band track.

That can get a little expensive if you want to record a whole night's worth of music. Your best bet would be to get a computer recording program and record the tracks yourself. You can do this with simple programs like Garage Band or Band in the Box, or you can get more complicated programs like Logic Pro.

2. Should I just perform my songs acoustically?

Sing them in a manner that shows them in their best light. Lots of singer songwriters just go out there with one instrument. I'm starting more and more to introduce sequenced tracks because I like the full sound.

3: And If I meet with publishers and stuff, should I just sing with the piano?

Don't worry, you won't meet with publishers and stuff... at least not to perform in front of. The music business doesn't work that way. Right now you should take things one step at a time: First, write great songs. Second, polish your live act and perform like a professional. Third, build your backing tracks and start adding them to your performance. Fourth, become famous.

Neal
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#3 User is offline   Duke Icon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:08 PM

thank you for the reply :D
What i'm thinking about doing, is perform at open mic nights and play acoustically, maybe get someone to produce for me or produce myself and start playing songs electronically, try and meet with a lot of people in the business and get contacts, then get a deal and a professional producer, then start playing in really crappy clubs all over the world until I'M A STAR!!!!

#4 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 07:07 PM

Try not to plan too much around "getting a deal". As DIY distribution and self-propelled guerilla marketing becomes easier and easier, you'll find a lot more success just getting out there and doing your thing. Get your YouTube rocking, get your Facebook and Twitter feeds going, jump on Tumblr even (though my Tumblr has become a bit too smutty for use as a marketing tool). Don't expect record labels to come knocking unless you show them the door first. Even then, you can get just as much done without them (on a smaller scale).

If you're waiting for a record deal before you get your songs produced you're going to be waiting a while. If your songs can't stand up acoustically, regardless of genre, no record label will be sniffing your butt. Neal gave you the best advice...focus on writing the very best songs you can. Then see where they can take you when you market yourself to the world. Remember, the Biebs was a YouTuber before Usher signed him. You never know what can happen but do it for yourself, no label will come find you because you can write a good tune.
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#5 User is offline   zmulls Icon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 10:06 PM

Reading your post again carefully, I am seeing that you want to have someone record this song that you hear in your head, so that you can perform it live with this fully-produced backing track?

I don't know of any music venues -- no serious ones, that is -- that allow people to sing with backing tracks. Am I right to assume you don't play an instrument yourself?

If not, you either need to learn, or to hire musicians to play with you. That's not unheard of, but you need to have some idea of how to work with them.

Maybe if you gave us a better idea of your level of accomplishment -- performing and playing -- and we can give you more specific advice?
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#6 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 10:23 PM

View Postzmulls, on 09 October 2011 - 08:06 PM, said:

I don't know of any music venues -- no serious ones, that is -- that allow people to sing with backing tracks.


Z, you need to get away from the Big Cities. There are dozens of venues in my small town that won't hire you unless you have backing tracks.

I believe the use of sequenced tracks is the wave of the future for bands, duos and solo acts.

There will always be a place in the best venues for live musicians... but the economic reality is that you just can't bring a full band into a small venue and make any money at it.

My wife and I are doing lounges, weddings, dances and everything with sequenced tracks now.

Neal

P.S. I'm doing some business in Allentown over the next few months. Do you live anywhere near there? Send me a PM.
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#7 User is offline   Duke Icon

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 02:25 AM

I do play the piano.

#8 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:20 AM

Duke, if you can play a keyboard, I'd suggest you use midi to build your own supporting instrumentation and explore the world of sequencers and DAWs - a lot can be triggered from midi (or you could just generate your own backing and play along with it). It's pretty easy to plug a laptop into a PA and the controls are all at your fingertips.

However, I don't know how experienced you are at playing live. If the answer is, "Not very", I'd keep it simple to start with. Just play the piano/keyboard (either take your own keyboard or - if they have one - use the venue's). The rest can come later.
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#9 User is offline   zmulls Icon

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:51 AM

Neal, I stand corrected. Yes, I guess I'm used to the "big cities" (Philly, NYC, LA, Nashville) where there are a lot of venues and a good concentration of musicians. And while I've never looked for a venue that allows backing tracks, the idea seems very strange to me based on where I've been and what I've seen. But I can see how in a sparsely populated area you'd have to provide your own virtual 'band.'

(And the people I know who *do* travel and gig wrestle with the equation of keeping it small vs. wanting to use more musicians but not be able to afford it)

So, getting back to the original poster, it depends on where he is and what the market would bear. If he's near a music center (decent-sized city) he should concentrate on his keyboard and playing live. If he's in the hinterlands, perhaps getting a good backing track would work.

As for who to go to, Nashville is the most cost-effective locus because of the great number of musicians *and* studios -- it's part of the culture to hack out demos and tracks with amazing rapidity. But because so many people do it (which drives the price down) it's hard to know who are the conscientious ones, and who do a quickie job while taking your money. I've heard great things about Gator Hole as well (they used to be in Nashville but I'm pretty sure they relocated -- but still produce, from what I hear, a quality product).

I've worked with John Heinrich at Lilac Moon in Nashville, and they did a great job for me. (I got to meet Judy Whiting before she sadly passed last year; John continues the studio work -- if you wind up talking to them, tell them Z. sent you).

But then this whole discussion comes back to your game plan after that. So you get backing tracks (if appropriate) and head into venues and sing your songs to small crowds. Then you want to visit a music center and try to get noticed -- at that point you will need to be playing an instrument. You only get noticed by performing, and you don't get noticed quickly, or by anyone important right away. You will not be invited, or allowed, in to see any producer or publisher of note, just by asking. You will need to be friends with someone who introduces you to someone else, to yet someone else, etc., until, *if you're lucky* you manage to meet up with someone who can really do something for you and might be willing to listen to the first 30 seconds of a song.

The advice you'll hear over and over, is that the days of getting noticed and recognized, of getting a deal and having someone take over promoting you and producing your records -- is over. It's a Do It Yourself world now, and if you're not going to learn it all and manage it all, there are plenty of folks out there who are, and even they are struggling.

Love your music, do what you can do, and are willing to do, because you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it for its own sake, there will be a lot of frustration.
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#10 User is offline   Duke Icon

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 02:39 PM

thank you for the great answer!

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