Here are some points we talked about:
- Fela changed her career interest in 8th grade from musician to sound engineering ... spurred by a career placement test. We talked about the importance of nurturing the budding interests of children.
- We talked about why singers and engineers need to understand each other's issues.
- She explained audio engineering for live stage work, front-of-house and monitor engineers.
- I asked her about the mistakes she's seen performers make, and how we can avoid them. I found out I frequently made one of those mistakes.
- Fela stressed the importance of practicing with in-ear monitors to get used to the sound before using them in performance.
- She is an expert in wireless mics and keeps current with the technology, and we discussed whether or not to trust them.
- Fela talked about combining forces with another engineer to create their NYC studio 23dB Productions. She listed some of the mics she likes.
- We discussed when & where to do mic shootouts... and the benefits of buying your own mic.
- We agreed that artists and engineers should be cautious with degrees of digital editing for tuning and rhythm; hence the importance of being prepared before the vocal session. I loved it when she said 'There is no grid for emotion'!
- I asked Fela about working with Christian McBride on the road. Yes, she's on the bus!
- We chatted about the qualities of good engineers.
- She worked in other cities including Miami before coming to New York, and had to pay her dues working with all kinds of good and bad acts. We agreed...everyone has to pay dues and should use every show to get better at what they do!
- She said we need to use reverb for in-ears, but limit reverb in wedge monitors to avoid feedback.
- Speakers need to project with rich resonance. She says because of what she can do if she has the appropriate tools, popping with lapel mics don't present much of a problem.
- People hire her for work from finding her on the internet... specifically her Linkedin profile!
- She described the SoundGirls organization which was formed by two top female audio engineers who work with major artists. She described how helpful it has been to be a part of all that networking, friendship and mutual support.
- She gave some great tips for singers who want to learn audio engineering.
So what about you? Has learning about audio engineering helped you be a better performer? Leave a comment - we'd love to hear your thoughts.