Demo Dollars

Dear Lis,
My 12 year old daughter is writing songs and singing them. She’s got a lot of talent and she’s really cute. There is a producer who wants to record one of her songs and will charge us $2000. Is that a reasonable amount for one song?

Dear Aimee,
It depends on how credible he is. Has he worked with other artists who have gotten record deals or TV shows as a result of the recordings he’s made with them? Does he have good contacts in the business? What is included in the deal: full band, studio time, mixing and mastering? Does he also want points or some consideration if she gets signed. The amount isn’t outrageous – the range for a song demo is huge from $500 to $20,000. He should have some pretty good results from previous demos for that price. As always, see an entertainment attorney before you commit to anything.

Speaking of Attorneys

Dear Lis,
I’m in a girl group that has been put together by a producer. He wants us to all use the same attorney and the same manager so it won’t be so complicated getting contracts signed. But some of the girls want to use different people.

Dear Jill,
In the end you have to be confident that the manager and the attorney are the right ones for you, especially since the manager will be a long-term commitment. I can see why the producer would want it to be the same person for all of you, but that isn’t his decision to make.

Bringing In The House

Dear Lis,
I do a great live show but can’t seem to get a good vibe going in the studio. Should I bring in an audience?

Dear Ken,
I haven’t ever seen that work although it certainly has been tried. It seems to make the singer more insecure about making mistakes. In a live show there’s the energy of the band, the lights and stage and the audience’s feedback that all combine to help you feel free to be emotional. In the studio every pitch and warble is dissected making you feel like you are under the microscope. That kills the freedom. Rather than bring people in, I’d take people out. Make it just you and the producer. Turn out the lights and wail. Remember you can fix pitch problems with the recording equipment but you can’t punch in the emotion.

Down Home

Dear Lis,
I’m a pop singer but I just got into a country band. How do I sound more country?

Dear Elyse, Each style has it’s own conventions. Country tends to have a bit more vibrato and slides but not many runs. Immerse yourself in the style of music you are going to be singing. Take note of where vibrato is used and how much. When do they slide into or out of notes. Listen to the accent. Notice how they play with timing and how they ad lib.

Lis Lewis is a vocal coach in Los Angeles. Her website has all the information a pop singer needs to further their career. Her clients include Rihanna, the Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Jack Black, Jimmy Eat World, and the All-American Rejects.

Originally posted 2009-04-11 21:47:32.