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Choosing a Producer
Will Griffin

    If you've never recorded before, it is best to hire a seasoned producer for your first session, so that you can learn how to make excellent recordings the right way that capture the groove and mood of the song, rather than waste a lot of time, money, efforts, and songs on productions that are flawed with many errors.  

    Even if you are spending your own money and have your own ideas, if you've never recorded before, or you have limited recording experience, you need to hire a producer who has the contacts to the songwriters, musicians, background singers and studios that you will need to have for the best chance for a successful project.

    The producer is responsible for "producing" a recording. The producer delivers the recording to the client. He or she is the person whose job it is to see to it that the recording is made. The producerís name appears on a union contract.

    There are many styles of producers. Some rely on the artist and the band to do "what they do best," while this type of producer concentrates on the sound recording of the performance. Another type of producer will be actively involved in the music, collaborating with the musicians in the creative process.

    Some producers are "vocal" producers, who concentrate on the vocal recordings; some are more "instrumental" producers.

    All of these, and many other types of producers, have delivered successful recordings.

    All final decisions are usually left to the producer. Anyone else with the power of final decision is also "producing" the recording. An arrangement like this should be worked out in advance. Their name should also appear on a union contract.

    You want to choose a producer with a proven track record with artists and material similar to yours, who will take the lead and the responsibilities to see things through from pre-production to the delivery of a mastered product, and who has you and your project as their primary concern.

    The producer makes the arrangements to chose and hire the session leader and the other musicians on the session.  The producer will or should know the engineer and the recording studio well.  However, they must work closely with the funding source and the artist for a comprehensive and customized feel. 

    Choose a producer who has produced similar artists or projects to yours.  The producer should work very closely with you or whoever is to be the artist and this should occur in the pre-production phase.  You producer should work with you on how you sing and interpret the song.  

    If you need more material, or stronger material, the producer should help you to locate songs from publishers and provide these to you, so that you can listen to them and find those songs which seem more natural for you to sing.  If the producer demands you sing their songs, or songs written by their closest friends, then it is time to get a new producer, because you are not then their primary motivation and concern.

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