man in a colourful shirt standing at a mic with a pop filter, singing. Singing

Considerations Before Hiring a Session Singer

What Should Be Considered Before Hiring a Session Singer?

Every producer or creative director can attest to the juggling act that can come with creating rich content—content with audio or audio/visual elements.

They make it look so simple, though, don’t they? A sign of an awesome project manager and production team is the end product looking awesome, seemingly simple, and producing the intended results. But as many can speak from experience, the process is rarely linear and almost always resembles a roller coaster track instead. 

To help make one more component of the production process smoother, we gathered some tips on how best to work with a session singer for your project. Learning from the experience of others, consider these tips before you hire a session singer!

Complete Your Music Before Hiring a Session Singer

Be Ready to Communicate Your Needs to the Session Singer You Hire

Create a Budget That Will Allow You to Hire the Session Singer Right for the Job

Determine the Priority Characteristics You’re Looking for in a Singer

Create Deadlines Before Hiring a Session Singer

Complete Your Music Before Hiring a Session Singer

The juggling act we’re so used to working with makes it seem like bringing the session singer in somewhere around the end—and not at the very end—would be a decent process! 

We’d recommend completing the instrumental recording before hiring. This will give your team the pause needed to fine-tune the expectations of what the singing will add to the project. Doing it this way also helps to keep things running efficiently after bringing the singer in to make the most of everyone’s time and keep production costs within budget and on schedule. 

Do Your Homework—And be Ready to Communicate Your Needs to the Session Singer You Hire

While we recommend you hold off bringing in the session singer to record until the very end, it’s helpful to peruse session singers’ profiles to begin narrowing down the vocal qualities you think would make the perfect addition to your project. Many producers have an idea of the kind of voice they’re looking for. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to examine several session singers for research purposes. You might discover a session singer who brings a flair you hadn’t considered before. You may even end up with a short list of session singers you wish to invite to audition for the job!

Similar to working with a voice actor, you’ll get the best out of a session singer if you clearly define what you need. That communication takes a level of pre-planning on your part that sets the session singer up for success when working with you. Christian Velitchkov, Co-Founder of Twiz LLC and Nadav Peleg, CEO of SoundCampaign both weighed in about communication with a session singer:

“Often, producers or agencies do not communicate well with the session singers before signing the contract and getting the entire project started. In those cases, it gives rise to miscommunication and mismanagement, resulting in a devastating experience. It is always recommended to communicate well about the technicalities, the vision, and everything that you expect from the session singer.”  – Christian Velitchkov

“Brief your session singer with the project thoroughly. Don’t wait until your first face-to-face meeting to info-dump about your production. You can have a portfolio and specific notes ready to help them understand your project’s context and tone. Ease them in so they can focus on their expertise.” – Nadav Peleg

Create a Budget That Will Allow You to Hire the Session Singer Right for the Job

Budgeting your job is an essential part of the preparation process. Knowing how much you can spend will drive many of your decisions. Are you hiring a session singer through an online marketplace? Through a talent agent? Somewhere else? Some other considerations that come from your budget:

  • Is your budget in line with the length of the spot you’re hoping to have recorded?
  • Is your budget going to support the usage rights of the recording?
  • Will you attract quality talent with your budget?
  • Do you need more than one singer?

Keep in mind the payment scale varies depending on the duties of the session singer. A session singer who will do vocals for the entire music will require higher payment than somebody who will just do the harmonies. 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that sourcing a sessions singer from an online marketplace—like Voices— gives you access to singers who set their own quotes and you can select the singer who brings the quality of singing you want within your budget range, which typically include a full buy-out on the media so considerations around usage are a nonissue. 

The best option is to create a price range and make a shortlist of people whose fees are within your price range.

Determine the Priority Characteristics of the Singer

A session singer must have many qualities, but there are a few things that the ideal singer must possess. Generally, the type of project will determine the characteristics of the session singer. For instance, you may need a celebrity-soundalike vocalist to do the job. On the other hand, your budget may require that you hire an online singer. The most important thing is that the chosen session singer must be compatible with your music project. That said…

Try to be Flexible When Directing a Session Singer

When heading into the session, remember that you’ve hired a professional singer who can take feedback, but who also has a knack for session singing. Nadav Peleg, CEO of SoundCampaign brought us this reminder:

“Many producers make the mistake of knowing exactly how they want the singer to sound and then trying to shoehorn them into that mould. The problem is, that then translates in the music; you can hear it.” Navad adds, “The more you can let them do what they do, the way they do it, the more natural it will sound.”

Create Deadlines 

The process of hiring a session singer must happen within a specified period. The duration will depend on how soon you want to release the project. For example, if you’re going to release the spot in two or three weeks, you will need to take about two or three days to hire a session singer. 

At the same time, a session singer likely doesn’t want to spend weeks being interviewed for one gig. They want the hiring process to be fairly quick so that they can either begin working on the project or look for another job.  

Having deadlines established before hiring a session singer ensures you’re entering conversations with them at a time that makes sense for everyone—rather than many weeks too early, for instance.

Getting Started

The success of your project will depend on the session singer that you hire. And the session singer you select is a direct result of the planning your team did to prepare for the singing stage of the process. 

Finish your pre planning and find your session singer on Voices and today! 

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