How do I know if my song is finished and ready to record professionally?

When you are happy and confident with your melody and lyric, you are ready to record. Don’t worry if you are unsure of the arrangement, that’s where we come in.

Tip: Making a rough recording and listening back is a great way to decide if your song is finished. Sometimes all it takes is listening back to your song to actually hear what needs tweaking.

What is a rough recording and why do I need one?

A rough recording is a version of your song made with a single instrument (usually guitar or piano) and a vocal. We need this so the musicians can learn the chords to your song and the singers can learn your melody and lyric phrasing.

What if I don’t play an instrument?

Singing an a cappella version of your melody and lyric works just fine. Ideally, you would do this using a metronome/click track so that your tempo is consistent.

How do I create an mp3 of the rough recording of my song?

There are many ways. Here are the most popular options:

1. On your PC, you can use a piece of software called Audacity to record right into your laptop using its built-in microphone and then create an mp3.
2. The Garage Band application on your Mac allows you to play and sing directly into the computer and then export your recording as an MP3.
3. The “Voice Memos” app on the iPhone (or any smart phone for that matter) allows you to record directly to your phone and email the mp3 from within the app itself.

Do I need a lyric sheet?

Yes. The singer will use your lyric sheet to learn the song and, during the session, the producer will use your lyric sheet to make certain the singer is singing the proper words.

How do I format a lyric sheet?

Type out all your lyrics, single-spaced, in MS Word. Every word should be captured here, even if they repeat. Indent the choruses so they’re easily identified.
Tip: Keep a copy of your lyric sheet in front of you during the session to take notes on during the performance. This way you can tell us exactly what and where you’d like the singers/players to adjust.

Do I need to provide a lead sheet?

No. Our musicians and singers use their extremely developed ears to learn the chords and melody from your rough recording.

Do I need to provide a chord chart?

If you have one, feel free to send it. If not, don’t worry. We’ll create a chart of your song for you. We’ll also provide you with a copy of the chart after the session.

What is an arrangement and do I need to know the arrangement for my song?

An arrangement is the instrumentation used in the production of a song and what parts those individual instruments will play.
Cliff will consult with you in advance in order to determine the optimal approach to arranging your song. Once the players/instruments have been decided upon, we tend to leave the parts up to the individual players.
These players are remarkable in their ability to know exactly what to play to bring your song to life.

How do I know if I need a full-band recording or a scaled-down guitar/vocal or piano/vocal?

Based on your goals for your finished recording, Cliff can help you decide.

How do I choose the vocalist?

Based on your song, Cliff will recommend a singer who has the sound you’re looking for and the site also provides audio examples for each singer.
Click here to listen to audio examples of some of our singers.

Which musicians will be playing on my song?

Due to Cliff’s over 20 years experience in studio recording, he has relationships with a tremendous number of A-list session players. He’ll discuss with you in advance the session musicians he thinks would be best for your song.
To see the credentials of some of our musicians, click here.

What is an A-List session player/singer?

Quite simply, these are the musicians and singers that record on many of the songs you’re hearing on the radio right now. It’s not unusual to have the drummer for Taylor Swift or the guitarist who plays on Bonnie Raitt’s recordings playing on your song. When it comes to singers, many of the vocalists we use go on to their own multi-platinum artist careers in their own right. To hear what our singers can do, click here.

What kind of equipment will I need for the session?

All you need is a home computer, a high-speed internet connection and a good set of earphones/headphones.

How do I know if I have a high-speed internet connection?

The best way to check is to click here and do the onscreen speed test. When you consult with us just tell us the upload and download speeds and we’ll be able to confirm it for you.

Do I need any additional software?

Yes. Download and set up the free Skype software from Skype.
Tip: Test Skype before the session to make sure it’s working properly.

You’ll also need iTunes. Click here to download the software if you don’t have it on your computer already.

How Do I Participate During the Session?

On the day of the session, Cliff will provide you with a private link that you will use to log in to the session.
Also, you will have instant message and voice contact with us at all times through Skype so if you have any questions or requests of the players and/or singers, it’s as simple as asking.

What if I don’t want to participate during the session?

That’s absolutely fine. Many of our clients simply prefer to listen in, enjoy the process and leave the rest to us.

Do I get to approve my song?

Of course! We’ll make sure you’re thrilled with the players’ and singers’ performances before we end the live session.

What does “mixing a song” mean?

Because all the musicians’ parts are recorded separately, mixing is the process of bringing all the parts together into a final, polished recording where each instrument and all vocals are blended to bring out the best in all the performances. A good mix can truly bring a song to life.

Who mixes the song?

Cliff does. After the session, he’ll mix the song and provide you with your own private web page to listen to your mix and approve it.

What if I’m not satisfied with the mix of my song?

We want to make sure you’re happy. After you have listened to the mix, you’ll have the opportunity to provide us feedback and a free remix of the song is included in the cost.

How do I obtain my finished song?

Once you’re thrilled with the mix of your song and payment has been completed, we’ll transfer your mix files to you via email.

What format/formats will my song files be in?

We’ll provide mix versions in both high resolution files (.wav) as well as high-quality encoded mp3 files for email pitches and web sites.

How do I get a CD of my song?

The high resolution files (.wav) we’ll provide you are suitable for burning CDs on your home computer (or with a CD duplicating company if you’re doing more than a few copies) with no loss in sound quality.

I’ve got my finished song. Now what?

Enjoy! You’ve just made a top of the line, professional recording of your song that you can feel confident pitching at the highest levels of the music industry.

Does Cliff pitch songs?

No, but take a look at some of the resources below to help you on your way.

1. Songwriting organizations like BMI, ASCAP, Taxi.com and the Nashville Songwriter’s Association (NSAI) provide information, classes and opportunities to get your songs heard.

2. Pitch Sheets are publications that (for a price) inform songwriters which artists and record companies are looking for songs. Two to consider are “RowFax.com” & “SongQuarters.com.”

3. Finally, click the following link for a free download of Cliff’s article, The DIY Guide to Submitting Your Songs.

More Questions?

Contact Cliff