Question on creative workflow

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  • #34315 Reply

    Greetings Fellow Composers!

    I am in the process of putting together a 10 track vocals led modern pop album for submission to libraries.

    I find the process much different from the usual instrumental cues which I seem to finish in a maximum of 2 days.

    With vocal songs, the process is longer… compose vocal melody, write lyrics, record scratch vocals, produce track around vocals, rerecord final vocals… takes more like 3 to 5 days per song. Sometimes more. This of course, is my metric… I’m sure there are folks who can knock of a full song from scratch to final in 1 day.

    My question is what is your workflow to produce an album of 10 such tracks? Do you first concentrate on getting the vocal melodies and lyrics of all songs? And then start to produce?

    Or does it all work simultaneously on an “as is” basis?

    Is there a system you follow for smoother execution?

    Thank you!

    #34317 Reply
    Art Munson

    To me, it’s all about the song. Write a great song first! Then again, there are no rules.

    #34319 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    I’ve completed many multi song vocal projects for my work in the educational market. My system is to start with the lyrics. Then let the lyrics dictate the melody and rhythm, maybe by staring at them while strumming a guitar or auditioning loops and sounds. Eventually a song forms in my head. I’ll record the melody in on guitar or piano to a click and build my track around it. I do bring in a demo singer so the company I’m working for can hear my ideas. But if I were creating for shopping to libraries I’d just bring in the final vocalist and skip the demo. I like to work with singers who can sight-read notation. You’ll want to have a lyrical theme in mind and some style reference tracks before starting to write.

    When providing a company a quote I tell them to estimate one week per song, but it doesn’t usually take that long.

    #34324 Reply

    Thanks Art and Michael! So you write the lyrics first? With me its usually the melody that pops in first. And I find recording the scratch demo vocals to work around the track makes it easier for me to make creative decisions. I will try working on the lyrics first and see if that speedens things up…

    Its so fascinating to see how different creative workflows are.

    Thanks again!

    #34325 Reply
    Art Munson

    So you write the lyrics first?

    I’ve done it both ways. I seem to recall an interview with Paul Simon where he said he wrote to a track. Music came first and wrote the song to the track. I’ve heard that others do the same. As I mentioned earlier, no rules.

    #34326 Reply

    Hi Art!

    Yes… that’s what I’ve done usually… play some chords… maybe add a beat… come up with a melody… record gibberish place holder melodic vocals … build track… write lyrics… then record final lyrics…

    I’m tying to find alternative approaches in order to save time… as quantity matters almost as much as quality in the library game…. and sometimes I find myself noodling around needlessly… especially when I’m producing vocal tracks.

    Thanks for your valued insight Sir.

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