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What Does a Music Producer Do?


This is a great article contributed to BMI by Cliff Goldmacher:

"A producer is to a recording as a director is to a film."

A producer provides the experience and necessary persepctive to guide a recording from start to finish. Not only must the producer have the experience to work with the studio engineer (often possessing the technical expertise to engineer the project themselves) but a producer must also have the musical understanding to help the artist with everything from song choice, structure and arrangement, to the all-important vocal performances that are vital in giving a recording its personality.

Here are the main areas where most producers do their work:

Pre-production

This includes working with the artist to decide if the songs are as good as they can be and, ultimately, which songs would work best as a group for an album release. It also includes deciding on the overall sound of a recording which involves deciding which session musicians/instruments would be best suited to achieve the sound and feel of a particular song.

Recording and Arrangment

At this point, the producer works with the assembled musicians and helps direct their performances in the studio in order to achieve a cohesive sound for the recording.

Vocals

One of the most important roles of the producer is working with the vocalist to help them give their best and most sincere performance of their material. It's extremely difficult for even the most experienced vocalists to have any perspective on their performance while it's happening. For this reason, a producer is the voice of reason and experience who knows how to encourage a vocalist to do one more vocal pass or helps them realize that it would be better to take a break and come back to fight another day.

How Do I Find a Producer?

For those who are new to the process of recording, whether it’s an album project or even a song demo, it is unclear where to look to find a producer for your project. Generally speaking, word of mouth in your music community serves as the best, most organic way to find a producer right for your project.

Another effective way to find a producer, particularly if you’re interested in doing a whole recording project, would be to look at the liner notes on some of your favorite independent CD projects made in the city where you plan to record. Often, those producers are available for hire and it’s just a matter of getting their contact information, which the CDs usually include.

Thirdly, there’s no rule that says you can’t contact a well-known/successful producer whose work you admire. Maybe they will be too busy or too expensive to work with, but you never know. If you’re respectful in your request, there’s no reason not to try.

If you are a gifted musician in need of a producer, click here to contact Jordan O'Leary Productions today!

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