Even Ariana Grande is no stranger to recording at home. In fact, she lives for it. Like the pro she is, Grande is a recording geek at heart and knows her way around working the board. She recently posted a clip of sections of the vocal session she produced in her home studio for “Stuck With U,” her recent single with Justin Bieber (with net proceeds of sales donated to charity) on Facebook and Instagram.
“This is one of my favorite parts of what I do, comping my vocals and being able to record and produce myself vocally. I don’t really get to talk about this much and I don’t know why,” she said in the 3-minute clip posted on May 15, which now has over 4 million views.
Grande recorded in Pro Tools and comped the vocals, explaining why and where she put certain parts in the track, including ad-libbing, giggling, vocal runs and dogs barking, “because it captures the vibe of being at home.” She also dives into her vocal playlist, detailing splices and comps from the individual takes, and how she created perfect harmony lines by nudging her vocals with Bieber’s. “I love working on timing stuff that’s so satisfying.”
“You pick certain parts of different takes and comp them together to make the performance you like, whether it’s ‘cuz you like the tone more on certain words, or the delivery more or you just sucked on a certain take.”
If you’ve upped your recording sessions and live streaming shows since the stay-at-home orders, why not take the time to focus on learning how to best capture your music? Many manufacturers and schools have thorough videos that can help you learn from the comfort of your home. Here are a few:
Audio-Technica Presents Basic Recording Techniques: Solo Vocals
The legendary microphone manufacturer has a full playlist of recording tips from all instruments. Their Basic Recording Techniques: Solo Vocals video focuses on the human voice: “the most complex and dynamic musical instrument of all.” Popping P’s is a common error inexperienced engineers often make, and this video shows you how to avoid this pitfall.
Slate Digital takes you into their futuristic recording studio setup and gives 5 useful tips that will go a long way to making your sessions easier: mic technique, headphone vocal balance, the correct microphone for a vocalist, getting the right studio environment and, most importantly, creating a good vibe in the studio.
Berklee Online Studio Techniques: 5 Tips for Recording Vocals in Pro Tools | Writing and Producing Music
The noted music school also runs an online course for songwriters, producers, guitarists and more. This in-depth 25-minute primer video walks us through a session with instructor Chrissy Tignor Fisher and vocalist Sitara. Berklee also offers a free music production handbook filled with tips and instruction for those interested.
Sylvia Massy: Producing and Vocal Recording Techniques | MXL990 & SM58 Microphones
Celebrated producer Sylvia Massy (Tool, Prince, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty) walks through a selection of microphones, from top of the line to entry level, and shares her thoughts on what makes each one unique.