While vocalists have never been more in demand by producers, vying for vocal placements in the dance music industry is still fiercely competitive.
And if you are an up-and-coming singer, or even an established one looking for more paid gigs and opportunities, you can never have enough advice from the pros on how to land amazing placements and features for yourself.
lau.ra is one such vocalist who has been doing the work for many years now, slowly chipping away at her discography and list and features. Each song has built upon the last as she works her way through the industry by collaborating with top-tier producers and talent. And with the latest release, a collaboration track with the legendary dance music pioneer Sasha, we wanted to pick her brain for the best pieces of advice she has to offer.
Stream ‘Burnt Letters’ By lau.ra Below
In true Sasha fashion, the track is a club roller that is as delicate as it is impactful. The subtle ambiance lau.ra’s vocals bring to the track elevates the song to new heights, as the repetitious keening doubles down on the reproachful aesthetic of the track.
The dark and ominous groove establishes a somber foundation for the bright cymbals to wash over, all the while the vocals keep the interest and add a new level of syncopation to the record. All in all, the masterfully crafted track is a testament to what raw talent and dedication can bring you in an industry such as this.
1. Be a good singer
But you’d be surprised how many people are trying to get by with bad ideas and lashings of autotune. Establish a signature style both sonically, lyrically, and melodically so people know who to come to when they want that sound.
As a versatile vocalist, it can feel like you’re limiting yourself, but I’ve found bringing this kind of focus to my vocal sound and output has brought about more successful collaborations because everyone starts with the same expectation of what they might get.
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2. Be able to record and produce your own vocals professionally
When I send demo vocals to producers I mix them into the track like I am producing my own finished record. I run it through Ozone to do a quick master so the mix is loud and impactful and it makes the best impression it can.
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Poorly recorded vocals can disguise a great idea so find a way to present yourself in the best way possible. Remember that the producer or mix engineer can always reprocess the vocals once they’ve committed to the project, but you’ll rarely get them excited to work with you if the vocals you send them to sound like scratch recordings.
3. Be flexible
You want the producer/artist to fall in love with the finished track and release it, so be flexible if they want to make changes to the vocal, or they chop the shit out of it and just end up using a small sample of the bigger idea you sent them. Don’t take it personally, you still get your % and the track is likely better off for it.
This lesson alone is worth its weight in gold while working in the music industry. You will get exponentially more placements and work than other singers vying for those same opportunities if you are simply easy to work with and do a good job. It sounds so easy, but you’d be shocked at how many people take these qualities for granted.
4. Ask for a demo fee
So many vocal topline requests come to nothing but you’ve still set aside your time, energy, and creative ideas to do the work. So sometimes a demo fee can soften the blow when a track doesn’t get the green light.
On the flipside too, it often forced the producer to have a bit more skin in the game. If they’ve already invested a bit of money into you as an artist, they are far more likely to see the song through to the end – thus increasing your chances of having your name on the track!
5. Always ask for final approval
It’s your voice, you need to hear how it sounds in its final form before it gets released into the world.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if there are mix tweaks you want to be made to the vocal. At the end of the day, the music you release will be as close a thing to a resume as you are like to find in the music industry and you want to have some input on what the world will know about your work.
Just be sure to be reasonable, polite, and professional.