Before

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.

Do I need to provide a lead sheet?

No. In most forms of contemporary music, studio musicians and singers use their extremely developed ears to learn the chords and melody from your rough recording. If a rough recording simply isn’t possible but you have a lead sheet, you’re certainly welcome to send it along.

How do I format a lyric sheet?

Type out all your lyrics, EXACTLY as you’d like them sung, single-spaced, in a word processing document like MS Word or Pages. 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 so you can take notes on it during the recording session. This way you can tell us exactly what and where you’d like the singers/players to adjust.

Do I need a lyric sheet?

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

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

There are a variety of relatively simple ways to make a rough guitar/vocal or piano/vocal recording of your song.

Here are the most popular options:

  1. The “Voice Memos” app on the iPhone (or any smart phone for that matter) allows you to record directly into your phone and email the mp3 from within the app itself.
  2. 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.
  3. On your Mac, the Garage Band application allows you to play and sing directly into the computer and then export your recording as an mp3 as well.

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.

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.

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.

During

What kind of equipment will I need for the session?

All you’ll need is a computer with either a built-in or attached microphone, a high-speed internet connection and a good set of earphones/headphones.

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 and review our roster of musicians, click here.

Which musicians will be playing on my song?

Due to Cliff’s over 25 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.

How do I choose the vocalist?

Based on your song, Cliff will be happy recommend a singer who has the sound you’re looking for. This site also provides audio examples for each of our singers.

Click here to listen to the audio examples and feel free to suggest the singer you’d like when you book your project.

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

It has everything to do with the goals you have for your finished recording, We generally recommend starting small given that you can always add additional instruments later for only the incremental cost.

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 performances up to the individual players.

These players are remarkable in their ability to know exactly what to play in order to bring your song to life.

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. We do this all the time and truly appreciate your trust.

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 and listen live to the session via the Google Chrome Browser.
Also, you will have instant message and voice contact with us so if you have any questions or requests of the players and/or singers, it’s as simple as asking.

Do I need any additional software?

No. Simply a computer running the latest version of the Google Chrome Browser.

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

The best way to check is to click here and then click the “BEGIN TEST” button to do an onscreen speed test. When you consult with us just tell us the upload and download speed numbers (as reported by the test) and we’ll be able to confirm it for you.

After

Does Cliff pitch songs?

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

  • Songwriting organizations like BMI, ASCAP, Taxi.com and the Nashville Songwriter’s Association (NSAI) provide information, classes and opportunities to get your songs heard.
  • Pitch Sheets are publications that (for a price) inform songwriters which artists and record companies are looking for songs. RowFax.com is a great one for what Nashville is up to.
  • Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about pitching your songs, click here to take a look at my “Pitch Perfectly” video course.

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.

If you’re interested in learning more about pitching, click here to take a peek at my “Pitch Perfectly” video course.

How do I get a CD of my song?

The high resolution files (.wav) I’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.

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 obtain my finished song?

Once you’re happy with the mix of your song and payment has been completed, we’ll transfer your mix files to you via a download link in an email.

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

We want to make sure you’re happy so a free remix opportunity is included in the fee for your recording.  After you have listened to the mix, you’ll have the opportunity to provide notes/feedback about volume levels, effects, EQ, etc.

However, any requests to modify the song’s structure, tempo or pitch after the recording is completed will be done at an hourly fee. And remix requests after the complimentary remix will also be done at Cliff’s hourly fee.

Who mixes the song?

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

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.

If you’re interested in learning more about what goes on in the studio, click here to find out about Cliff’s “Studio Standout” video course.

Do I get to approve my song?

Of course! You’ll be listening in – in real time and full fidelity – to the studio session and we’ll make sure you’re thrilled with the players’ and singers’ performances before we end the live session.

However, it’s important to note that once you’ve approved the musicians’ and vocalist’s performances, any subsequent requests for additional sessions will be billed as separate projects.

More Questions?

Contact Cliff