Tips for Recording Vocals
Dee Uluirewa is a beloved vocalist on our team, and one of our most qualified vocal producers! She’s a professional vocalist, and loves bringing her gift to serve the Church. She has an incredible voice, a big heart, and has helped to raise up a new generation of vocalists in our team. Here she shares some of her thoughts behind producing the vocals on our No Other Name album.
1 Corinthians 12:19-20 (MSG)
…But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of.
I love that what I am a part of is bigger than the part I play. The best thing about this album is really two-fold: we have the honour and privilege of making His praise glorious, and we get to share with the greater Church what we as a team do week in and week out.
As a part of the vocal production team, here are a few key questions we constantly ask ourselves to keep us focused on the right things…
1. How do we set the team up for a win?
Once the worship leaders for each song have been chosen, we build a vocal team around them. A few key things we try to look for (apart from the obvious) is the ability to stay on pitch, harmonise with a group, and blend well tonally. This helps ensure that there is both strong vocal support and everyone is carrying the load of leading the church in worship.
2. How can we best ‘journey’ this song?
A vocalist is an instrument who gives voice, lyrically, to the notes being played musically. Therefore, as vocalists, we need to compliment what is happening musically and not let it detract or be a distraction. My team and I were mindful of this, and here’s an example of how we would do it in some songs: to keep the melody strong, you will notice the first chorus is usually in unison. From there, we continue to maintain the melody, but begin to add layers to the song by adding harmonies in the 2nd verse or chorus, etc., until the end.
Dynamics are also a key factor in helping to journey the song. These dynamics determine whether or not we stayed in unison and created space, or added a harmony to compliment what was happening musically/stylistically. For example, in Broken Vessels and Calvary, we inverted vocal harmonies in order to lift it musically. Dynamics also help remind us where we are in the song (ie. second chorus or bridge, etc).
3. How can we help the church sing?
The vocal team has an important role to play in helping the church sing. We support the worship leader. For example, there are key moments when the instruments pull back, and the worship leader asks the church to sing; e.g. All Things New (bridge), This I Believe (chorus #2), Heaven & Earth (bridge)… In these drop-down moments where much of the instruments pull back, the vocalists stayed on mic and kept singing in unison with one voice. The choir was especially crucial in these moments and enabled us to maintain momentum in the song – it really helped the church to be comfortable singing out!
These are a few things that helped shape and map out some of our vocal ideas.