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Solo Challenges = Advantages Part 1: Musicians

Perhaps the biggest challenge solo artists face when recording is the expense and time of finding musicians. Here, bands have it easy. They can rehearse together, work out all their parts and arrangements. Then they can lay down everything faster... saving money... and they have multiple people to split the costs as well. Solo performers need to find everyone, pay the musicians, and have less (if any) of an idea as to what the final product will sound like. What's the advantage? You can sound like anything you want without being limited to the skills of your bandmates. That band that has it so "easy"... maybe their drummer really doesn't keep solid time, the guitarist has a certain "style" to playing everything, the bass player really doesn't hit the notes solid, they keyboardist is stuck in a certain "era" for his sounds and playing... everyone feels like they must be used at all times and when it comes to mixing, everyone feels they must be *louder* Congratulations! You don't have to deal with all this!

Your palate for how you sound is open wide, and if you choose everyone correctly, on average, you should come out with a better, more polished recording than the average band.

Maybe this band was a bit limited by their abilities! httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPln2_yZ8wQ

Ahh… but how do you choose. This is where a great producer comes in. If you find the right producer, you’re only looking for one person… not 3-6 (or more!). Producers who specialize in solo artists should have access to a wide range of musicians able to handle any style, and musicians who excel in one style, and know who is going to be right to bring in for the project. They should have a working history so they can realistically know how long it will take to work out the parts and lay them down, so you can get an accurate picture of the budget.

If you play an instrument yourself… say keys or guitar… it can save a lot of time and $$$ in the studio, as you may be laying down the most definitive musical track… but if you are a singer who doesn’t play (or doesn’t play well), don’t despair… while costs could be a little more, you have one less musician who’s “weaknesses” you have to worry about, and you can have the best players front to back giving you your own sound.

As a solo artist, one of the top questions you should be asking a producer is: Do you know the right musicians to handle my project? Don’t let them get away with a simple “sure”… prod them for details… How fast do they work? What do they charge? How adaptable are they? The answers aren’t as important as the producer’s reply. If he stumbles, watch out… if he is ready to talk clearly about this major need of yours, you may have found the guy who makes your recording vision a reality!

And if your producer really is the right guy, you save money on the musicians. They will quote better rates, and possibly even work on a flat fee per song when they already know how the producer works and enjoy working with him!

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