How to Get Backup Singers and Instrumentalists for your Track

badass guitarists

As a guitarist, you may be tempted to just want to focus on being the most awesome guitarist you can be.

However, gone are the days of easy music money from the major labels. Nowadays the artist must really be an entrepreneur and a producer at the same time. This doesn’t mean that you need to be completely business savvy, it just means that like most successful people in any business, you will need learn to leverage other people’s expertise as well as your own success to create your masterpiece.

And to top it all off, you’ll still need to be a jack of all trades and wear many hats in your endeavors to see a project to its successful completion, without losing your mind completely in the process, like in this video.

As an artist, you should always be working on your masterpiece. For me that’s my current song, and when it’s done, it’s my next song. If I’m working on 2 songs at once, then I don’t even think about a masterpiece, I just focus on the songs themselves and let go of the pressure. But I leave the door open to any one of them becoming a masterpiece and strive for that outcome.

Learning to share the creation of the song will free up your time, multiply the creativity and talent factor by bringing in others on the project, and take away the stress and incorrect assumption that you have to do everything and that only you can do everything yourself. I wish I would have learned this sooner, but with technology available today (which I’ll be revealing here) that wasn’t only 7 years ago, now it’s easier than ever to make big sounding pro songs without ever leaving your living room, or even interfacing with another human, in person.

For this you will still have to overcome your own ego and determine your true strengths and weaknesses, while battling insecurities that hold you back. This means finding other artists to fill in for your weaknesses. It’s great and essential that you believe in yourself and you should, but most bands have at least 4 people. That’s 4x the ability of one person. Maybe a truly exceptional artist is worth 1.75 regular artists, but even Tom Brady can’t win the Super Bowl all by himself.

Of course that also means 4x the problems and attitudes, egos and bullshit (and profit share). That goes for rock bands as well as hip hop artists where there’s multiple rappers on a song, singers, beat makers, and engineers involved.

What this means is learning a bit of leadership and personnel management, and understanding what drives people.

lumbergh

To simplify this, here’s my own personal recipe and today’s production tip.

Production tip:

Understand that other people can’t read your mind. Try to communicate positively and briefly, describing what you’d like to hear, go into a few details of the song’s vision which you have in mind while expressing a desire to hear original ideas as well, then send off with a happy and uplifting no-pressure goodbye and encouragement.

Realize that people are busy and preoccupied with their own lives (like you and me), that they have both complex and simple emotions and feelings, and that they may come back with great work or something that needs adjusting, or terrible work.

Now that you have my basic recipe for 1) creating your masterpiece by multiplying the talent/creativity factor and 2) communicating to the other artists in a way that sets them free to be their best, now we can finally get into the technology of it all, which is really quite exciting.

How I Make Music with Fiverr.com

fiverr.com for music production

This site is basically a gig site. This means that you can go here and find people that will play a bass line on your song, play the drums, sing something, write and/or sing, mix, edit, engineer, master- you name it- they’ll do it for your music.

(You can also sell your services on here too if you want. I never have wanted to do that but it’s supplemental income for anyone. Just don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal, whatever that is.)

Just scroll down the page and select from the options to find what you need. Look at the reviews of the sellers to see what kind of feedback they’re getting. Check to see how many other jobs they’re currently working on (to avoid a cancellation or hurried work).

fiverr.com musician reviews

Using Fiverr.com has greatly expanded my own music toolbox, even though sometimes it is smooth sailing and other times you have to make the best of whatever the artists send back to you, or just cancel and request a refund.

I have gotten some great and unique work from the site, and it’s been much easier getting people who want to make music and produce actual music for money to work than getting people in Los Angeles who want to be famous and have some talent to lift a freaking finger and show up somewhere to actually do something.

Examples of my work using Fiverr.com

pat riot reverbnation

For my track that I produced featuring Ne-Yo, all from Fiverr.com, I got a drummer straight outta Berklee College of Music in Boston to back up my basic electronic drum track I produced, a guy in Croatia to play few guitar riffs and electronic key sounds, and a female vocalist to sing oohs and ahhs. I didn’t have a good idea of the bass line so the bass parts I had requested came back not so great, so I just cancelled and made my own electronic bass line which worked out well. I did the bass line, the guitar, and the electronic piano as well as basic drum track for this track.

For my Snoop Dogg track I had the beat produced from a guy selling his beats online that provided a singer and hook (not from Fiverr.com), a violinist off Fiverr.com living in France who plays live at Elton John concerts, and an audio engineer off Fiverr.com in Florida, USA.

The violinist came back with what I felt was complete crap, at first. It turned out I just hadn’t communicated well enough, and plus a little failed effort up front helps you envision more exactly what you need as a producer (because even you don’t always know what you or the song needs until it becomes clear).

In my most autistic and Dewey Cox way of communicating (like the video above) I was able to finally say what I wanted to hear on the song, and the next time the violinist came back, it was absolutely stunning.

The engineer did a pretty good job but not perfect by any means, then rushed the job at the end. I left a negative review of the transaction and won’t be working with that engineer again.

Power of the consumer and that’s how you keep people who are shady in business accountable- you hit them in their bottom line.

Keep Making Music, with or without Fiverr.com

dr. dre's production techniquesThe first time I learned about using session musicians or creating by collaboration was from reading an article about Dr. Dre. He used to line up a recording studio with 5 – 10 MPC’s (the hardware equivalent of a software sampler/sequencer) for his beats, then bring in instrumentalists and together they’d produce a hit song.

I’ve recorded others songs with session musicians that I met by going to and performing at open mics or people who worked at the same restaurant as me who also played music, but recording in person with people in your studio is a whole ‘nother animal in itself. It can be good, and it can also be bad. It can make everyone be their best, and it can also bring out people’s destructive side and darkly competitive side.

In the end, you’ll want to make the best song possible, whatever that means for you and your style. Maybe you’re better at managing people than me and don’t have to try to get the other members of the band or session musicians to show up when they’re supposed to and happily be their best…

But if not there’s always Fiverr 🙂

Watch this to understand session musicians and technology

Return to Hip Hop Guitarist | Read: the Essential Gear I have in my Home Music Studio

tags: get a vocalist, get a guitarist, find session musicians, session musicians, find instrumentalists, find a producer, find an audio engineer, find a male vocalist, find a guitarist, find a female vocalist

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