Recording in todays music industry is more than just pressing the record button and playing sounds over other sounds and adding voice. Recording requires proficiency and mastery to achieve industry standard results. Recording takes years of training and in person learning to navigate a great recording experience.
Step 1: Pre-Production
Before doing anything, you'll first need to make sure all of your assets are working as they should. This is the part you will lay your foundation and find your melody. Once you start pre-production, you will start a list of idea's. This list will include ANY idea's you have for a song. You will include its genre, lyrics, melodies, instruments, sound effects, topic of the song, title, etc. You can listen to similar music to get accustomed to the sound you like. Remember inspiration is key! However, don't copyright infringe on other songs. They are inspiration only not your foundation of your song. Listen to other songs and see what makes them unique and stand out. After you get all of your inspiration start your melody and chords and gradually add in kicks, snares and bass. The beat or composition itself will be the foundation of the song, however remember this is pre-production and the overall sound will sound different when the song is finished and completed.
Step 2: Recording
Now that your done with pre-production you will move into the recording stage. This is where you will create the perfect sound. If your working with a producer, make sure to come up with multiple tracks and choose different parts to display. For example, you could take a snare from one song and bass line from another song. Show them to your producer, they know what to do and how to create a unique snare and bass out of the inspired tracks. Trust your producer! Don't hinder their creativity! After all they are the professional at it. The producer will create an entirely new track based off of your inspired tracks. Remember it won't be the same as your inspirational tracks as that would be copyright infringement. After all this is done and the producer has combined all the moving parts it will be time to start editing the song.
Step 3: Editing
After you have laid the foundation and all the working parts of the song, its time to access the outline and see how well it will work with the lyrics. When editing you will try to find inconsistencies and fix them. This means aligning your song with the chosen bpm and making sure they match. Inconsistencies often can ruin a good beat, however if your working with a producer they will be able to easily spot this. They will also edit in any special effects, sounds and sweeps. If you can visualize the whole song at this point, you'll know its turning out well and the rest of the song is not to far out of reach. Completing editing will take you into the vocal stage.
Step 4: Vocals
Even though vocals are added to the song last, they are still very important to the stages of production. Listeners tend to focus primarily on vocals the most. If vocals are weak, the listeners will not remember the song and having a memorable song is one of the most important assets to your career as an artist. Your lyrics and vocal style should match your melody. So for example if you have a slow beat with a elongated melody, your vocals should sound sad and down. Due to listeners having short attention spans you will need to quickly show your song is GOOD! However not just good, GREAT! You will want to capture the listeners attention at the beginning of the song. This is frequently done by capturing lyrics filled with emotion and meaning. After you have all your vocals recorded, the producer will edit the voice by using compression, tuning, and other editing techniques. Once vocals are done you will move onto mixing & mastering.
Step 5: Mixing & Mastering
Your song is now approaching the finish line. However, theres one last thing that should be done. Mixing! Mixing is often the producer's job, this includes bouncing the song into digital formats such as a .WAV and or .MP3. Also cutting different frequencies and equalizing the song will be essential to make it sound whole and complete. If you look at the song before the mixing stage it might appear and sound more bland before this stage.
Mastering is the final stage in this process. Songs are often sent to independent mastering producers in order to make sure the song is at its highest possible quality. Also remember you will get what you pay for when it comes to hiring a mastering producer. In mastering the mastering producer will focus on compressions, saturations, equalizations and more to perfect the overall sound. Once this is completed your song is done!!!