Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What does a recording studio producer, vocal producer, vocal consultant, vocal arranger, music director DO?

I was asked to clarify what a vocal producer did recently, and did it mean the same thing as a vocal arranger. Here are some services available for recording projects and live performances that may interest you and help you define, find and hire what you really need: RECORDING STUDIO PRODUCER Like a commander-in-chief, this is the over-all point person you choose to get your project recorded. You will negotiate a flat fee, an hourly fee and/or for "percentage points" of the sale of your project. Among the duties this person assumes are -
  • Consulting with you about what you want in a final product, as well as helping you understand the process and the costs involved in the kind of project you choose.
  • Assessing who you are as an artist, what your current vocal and songwriting ability is and whether or not you need to increase your abilities with a vocal coach and/or do some co-writing before recording to give you the results you need for your goals.
  • Choosing or helping you choose the best songs for your project and obtaining any necessary licenses for those final songs.
  • Doing pre-production such as: discovering best keys, tempos, instruments and background vocals (bgv's)
  • Choosing and booking dates for the studio, engineers, musicians & bgvs.
  • Producing the instrumental tracking and the vocals for the songs, or enlisting the services of a vocal producer or consultant.
VOCAL PRODUCER: This is a member of the production team, who may or may not also produce the instrumental tracks. The vocal producer's job is to get the very best recorded vocal of which a person is capable. This involves not only helping the vocalist sing with good technique but also deliver the song in the most authentic and emotionally compelling way possible, so as to cause an emotional response in the listener. Most of the time, the vocal producer will produce several vocal tracks of the singer and then with the engineer, will "comp", or choose the best of, the tracks for the master lead vocal. VOCAL CONSULTANT: This is an in-studio vocal coach who is present to coach the recording artist with any problem areas he or she is having with what the producer is asking. In this case, the vocal consultant is not the active producer at the talkback switch - just standing by ready to help when problems occur. BACKGROUND VOCALIST or "BGV": Also known as "BACKING VOCALIST", this person sings a vocal arrangement behind the lead singer. It is a specialty field in professional singing which requires absolute excellence in blending, intonation, subtle tonal color changes and the ability to exactly mimic the recording or live singer's articulation, style and tone. Sometimes an artist does his or her own background vocals if they are good enough at hearing "parts" to do it, but even then it is best to decide if that same voice is what is needed or if a different voice would add necessary texture to the resulting sound. VOCAL ARRANGER: This service is most often associated with background vocals. Unless the project is very complicated, a vocal arranger can usually quickly create the arrangement at the recording session, and is in fact usually the VOCAL CONTRACTOR who suggests and calls the background singer(s) after consulting with the producer. MUSICAL DIRECTOR: This service is for live performances, including musical theater productions. This person is not only in charge directing not only vocal but also instrumental performances.



  • At June 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM , Anonymous Sound Base Megastore said...

    I think people will appreciate the clarification of these roles. Often it is easy to question and misunderstand a role and so those that do, will find this very helpful. All play an important role in the success of the end product and bring a unique angle to a song.


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