Expert Advice: Get a Producer Who Makes Your Songs Count

It is too easy to buy a recording software and record your own music. But is it any good? Have you learned production from a seasoned pro? I learned a lot over the years. I worked with songwriter-musician-producer Al Kooper and Lynyrd Skynyrd for many years and their members.

We were in the studio working on “Second Helping.” We were playing with a song the band’s Gary Rossington wrote called “Sweet Home Alabama.” The song was pretty bland. Gary had a guitar lick he had been playing around with and had no idea what to do with it. We were not sure if we were going to put it on the album or not. Al heard that lick and said, “That’s It, that’s the song.”

Audio-Technica’s “Basic Recording Techniques: Acoustic Guitar,” showing the Artist Elite® AE5100 large diaphragm cardioid condenser instrument microphone in use.

Without the vision of a great producer like Al Kooper there would probably be no song called “Sweet Home Alabama.” The state of Alabama would have no official song. Producers know what goes where. It’s not what you play, but when and where you play it. Al knew when and where to play that infamous lick. That part you loved to hear and waited for and anticipated to hear again. Producers know about anticipatory parts. This is a rift or a part you get teased with and anticipate hearing again. A part that keeps you listening.

I learned the 10 second rule from producer Barry Beckett. Barry taught me that people’s attention span is about 10 seconds. He taught me to bring a part like a bass or guitar up in volume. Or create a unique sound within the mix that grabs people’s attention and keeps them into the song. A part that wakes them up.

Most artists who act as their own producer tend to equalize the sound across the board. Everything in the mix is equal all the way through the song. Using anticipatory parts and the 10 second rule will keep people listening all the way through your song.

Producers are utilized for a reason. They are seasoned listeners, and they hear things you do not. They know what a hit is. They create hits.

Stephen Wrench is president of Musik and Film and has worked on 54 Gold and Platinum records to date. The Musik and Film team collectively has worked on almost 200 Gold and Platinum records to date. musikandfilm.com/producers




Contributing Editor musicconnection.com