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Category: Demos/Recording
  1. When you make a Demo tape does it have to be with you singing your own song or can you sing along to one of your favourite artists songs?
  2. I'm currently writing my songs and is considering to make it as an artist, however, I don't know which gigs I should do and where to start. I've already made 11 songs and considering to keep that as an album and use it as a demo, do you have any advice an
  3. When recording a demo, is it better to record it to CD or tape? Are people more relunctant to listen to CD's? Also, do the upcoming artists who play an instrument have an advantage over those who don't?
  4. Hey, I would like to play at several open mic nights but I don't know which one's I should go to and which ones have music industry professionals watching. Could you give me a list on which ones music executives are more likely to go and do talent scoutin
  5. Hey Tracey, I would like to ask you what studios would you recommend I go to? I'm in London and I would like a studio which is cheap yet has adequate equipment and professionals working, I would like to make a decent demo but 60 an hour isn't exactly wit
  6. When preparing a demo, what should consist of it and how should I make it look presentable? Maybe design a cover or something?
  7. I'm considering sending a demo to record companies of three or four of my songs. At the moment, they're just guitars and vocals but ideally I would like extra production (strings etc). Would record companies be satisfied with these bare tracks if they cou
  8. Where can I make my own cd and then send it to a music producer ?



  1. When you make a Demo tape does it have to be with you singing your own song or can you sing along to one of your favourite artists songs?
    Ideally you need to think about what your aiming for. If you want a solo singer/songwriting career then original songs are a must. Whatever area you want to work in albeit covers or original, cabaret, theater, festivals or the solo/duo/band pub/club circuit then the demo should be a compilation of your interpretation of the type of songs you will be performing (i.e., blues, country, rock, heavy metal) for your potential audience. Basically you need to tailor your demo tape/cd to the market you are aiming to perform for. For a working musician this would be the style of music you feel comfortable playing with competance regardless of wether it is a cover version of a favourite song or artist or your own work. The the demo has to show your capabilities and potential so aim to produce something that will appeal to your potential booker/agent/manager/record company to show off your talents and gain their interest. Demo's should be made up of three or four 30 sec to 1 minute snippets of a variety of material rather than full songs and never send anyone an original song without copyrighting it first!! 1 fast, 1 slow & 1 mid tempo song is the average but with 'snippets' you can get away with 5 tracks, with the last track a full song (you can use a song that is included in an earlier 'snippet' - if they are interested they may want to hear more so do 2 demo tapes - one with 'snippets' to send out and one with 3 good full songs for serious follow up enquiries. If your singing along to one of your favourite artists songs make sure it is a 'backing track' and does not have the original artist singing - some people have made this mistake and it sounds really unprofessional - if you want to be taken seriously then you must have a professional attitude even as an amateur!! Don't send out demos without contacting the management/record company first for an idea of what they are looking for as some only deal with bands or songwriters and many managers will not consider artists who perform 'covers' of their favourite artists. Managers will not do anything for you until you have done a certain amount for yourself, you will be expected to audition or be seen working so make sure that what you put on the demo tape/cd is material you perform well and can reproduce in an audition or at a gig even if its to a backing track. There will be more on this subject added to the site soon. ;-)
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  2. I'm currently writing my songs and is considering to make it as an artist, however, I don't know which gigs I should do and where to start. I've already made 11 songs and considering to keep that as an album and use it as a demo, do you have any advice an
    Start off with local open mic nights - that will help you guage audience reaction and start to build a fan base, approach venues who support original musicians to play support for another band/act. If you haven't already done so - make sure your songs are copyrighted before performing or distributing them. Choose the 3 best tracks to use as a demo - if a label or publisher is interested they'll ask to hear more material, at which time you can send them the album which of course you should sell or give away at your gigs. You really need to have at least 2 albums worth of strong solid material before approaching a label for an album deal. Your better off going for a singles deal but don't just send your stuff out to anyone as most unsolicited material is junked. Research the record companies to find the labels that specialise in your area of music and send them an introduction letter - best of all if your a musicians union member, have a chat with them - they often recommend labels to approach and will occassionally recommend a member to A & R people. There are links and information to songwriters resources like BASCA - British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors who host regular showcases for songwriters that are attended by industry personnel like producers http://www.showcaselondon.co.uk/inform.htm The 12bar Club and Kashmir Klub in London are both recognised for showcasing and promoting new acts/artists as is the Bug Bar in Brixton. Plus there are some great companies which help artists get signed - Tonos has regular opporunities and an A & R drop box whilst Taxi run a job listings & connection service, you can read more about them in the songwriting and record deal section and many of their listings can be found in the musicians job listings page. Also read the sections on publishing & record deals at Vocalist.org.uk - I'm in the process of re-designing the site which should make it easier to navigate and find various sections/articles - I'm hoping to get it finished and uploaded within the next couple of weeks. Regarding the mucas - I'm not a doctor and it's certainly worth having a check up but mucas is a natural lubricant, which is thickened or aggravated by various things i.e., smoking or dehydration (8 pints of water a day is recommended). Avoid coughing - the harshness of the action can cause the body to produce more mucas. Hope this helps Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  3. When recording a demo, is it better to record it to CD or tape? Are people more relunctant to listen to CD's? Also, do the upcoming artists who play an instrument have an advantage over those who don't?
    People aren't more reluctant to listen to CD's but more people have audio cassette players than CD players! Although tapes are a better option for their usability, you can always make a reasonably good copy from a CD whereas the sound quality deteriorates when copying from tape to tape. If you take a look at the musicians job listings section you will see that most of the A & R request either format whilst others prefer CD's only. If you are looking to pay a studio and can afford both thats fine if not go for CD, you can always run off a few copies to tape when required using a home stereo, ok so you'll lose a little quality but if its a demo it shouldn't matter too much. Playing an instrument or being competant at creating music using computers and technology gives the Artist an advantage but really makes little difference to the record company as to whether they'll sign them - it depends on the area of music that you are in - dance music artists tend to write using technology and may have no knowledge of how to play an instrument. Few pop singers have any music knowledge at all which allows the record company to manipulate everything they do. A songwriter can write by collaberating with other musicians but is considered a better prospect if they are also a competant musician. Its a bit of a moot point really - there are thousands of excellent musicians and bands who never get signed and several acts whose playing is pretty average but get plenty of work - in fact the Beatles musicianship was pretty naff in the early days but they got a deal through the strength of their songs and efforts from their manager. The advantage is for the artist rather than anyone else - by learning to play an instrument you gain a better understanding of music theory, chord structure etc., it is easier to create your own songs (and work out the chords/music for copyrighting/publishing) plus depending on the instrument you play can perform anywhere. Hope this helps Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  4. Hey, I would like to play at several open mic nights but I don't know which one's I should go to and which ones have music industry professionals watching. Could you give me a list on which ones music executives are more likely to go and do talent scoutin
    Unfortunately there are no guarantees as to which open mic nights/showcases that music industry professionals will turn up to - even ones that are run by the business are not always attended by A&R - they are a breed of their own and its complete pot luck. The best method is to go to as many as possible and see how you get on - you may be lucky and be seen, at the very least it will give you experience. The only open mic nights I can tell you about are those in London - you have to do some research into your own area, read the music press like NME to see which clubs are 'in' at the moment. Nights that are sometimes attended by people in the music industry and are open to acoustic/indie are: http://www.12barclub.com Denmark Place, Denmark Street, London. WC2 http://www.meanfiddler.com (they have two stages one of which is for acoustic artists) Highbury Corner & Holloway Rd, London http://www.kashmirklub.com 6 Nottingham Place, London, W1U 5NA. Tel: 020 7224 2556 The Bug Bar St Matthews Church Brixton Hill, SW2 1st Wednesday of every month 7pm - 1am Tel: 020 7738 3184 / 07930 619 302 http://www.thetalentscout.co.uk Talent Scouts run a regular Wednesday Night Showcase in conjunction with Sound Republic, Leicester Square, London. http://www.showcaselondon.co.uk/inform.htm BASCA songwriting showcases Some of these venues charge you to appear - anything up to 50 and hide it by saying it's a deposit that is returned if you bring along enough people - paying doesn't guarantee they have real A&R there any more than not paying does and many artists have performed at hundreds of these shows before getting signed - not trying to put you off just make you aware that it can be a long hard slog. Hope this helps Good Luck Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  5. Hey Tracey, I would like to ask you what studios would you recommend I go to? I'm in London and I would like a studio which is cheap yet has adequate equipment and professionals working, I would like to make a decent demo but 60 an hour isn't exactly wit
    Hi, I can recommend Scarlet Recording Studio Unit 64 Millmead Industrial Estate, Mill Mead Road Tottenham London N17 Contact Liz or Aine TEL: 0208 365 0800 or 020 8518 1243 The owner Liz is a friend and her husband Wan is an excellent sound engineer - All the artists and bands tracks recorded there that I've heard have been excellently produced and they are musicians and songwriters themselves. Several indie artists and bands have recorded there so they are experienced and responsive to the music. Don't know what their current hourly rate is but they were doing a summer special which I think is still on - think the rate for an 8hr day is approx 100 but you'll need to check as they do various rates for different things. Take a look at their website http://www.scarletrecording.co.uk/ There are a couple of other studios I used many years ago, don't think they have websites and don't have a current telephone number but they were very reasonable and if they are still around they both advertise in NME and Melody Maker Tower Bridge Studios near Tower Bridge (Think its just off Tower Bridge Road) Central London bit dark but good engineer Greenwich Studios Can't remember the road name but it wasn't far from the center of Greenwich, London. small but excellent engineer There are also links to uk recording studios and information in the Electric Blues Club - the studio's section has several pages you may find of use. http://members.lycos.co.uk/vocalist/ebc1/studios.html Sorry I can't be more exact but I haven't used many other studios in years as I have my own set up and use a friends studio in Romford for my stuff now. It will be worth saving up for a small four track recorder and effects unit or get a decent soundcard for your computer - if it's powerful enough you can do demo's straight to harddisk then copy onto a cd using a cd-writer and polish them at a professional recording studio. Cakewalk or Cubase are good programs which many professional studios also use and the best sound hardware/card (in my humble opinion) is Creative's 'Soundblaster Platinum' although you'll need a fast processor and at least 20gb hard disk space for serious recording. Hope this helps Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  6. When preparing a demo, what should consist of it and how should I make it look presentable? Maybe design a cover or something?
    A demo should contain between 1 and 3 tracks of your strongest material. A fast, a medium tempo and a slow song is the norm as it shows the versitility of your music but if you only write fast songs then thats what you need to include. Anything you send out should look presentable! A demo cd or tape with an eye catching or unusual cover design is more likely to be picked up and played than a demo sent without any cover at all. Hope this helps Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  7. I'm considering sending a demo to record companies of three or four of my songs. At the moment, they're just guitars and vocals but ideally I would like extra production (strings etc). Would record companies be satisfied with these bare tracks if they cou
    Hi, It really depends on the A&R person and what the record company are looking for at the time. Most A&R prefer a 'bare' track as it allows them to hear both potential and raw sound - if the voice/song/sound sound good in a bare state then it will sound good in a more produced recording. However, some record companies are not interested in producing the artist further and look for something that is completed which won't cost them any more to produce. If you take a look at the musicians job listings section you'll see there are both types of requests from A&R! In most cases an A&R person is more likely to listen to a track that has heart, emotion and hit potential than one that has great production. My advice is to send out what you have and whilst waiting for responses work on the tracks to produce a more polished sound, if a company shows interest they may want to hear something like this and if they don't then you have the advantage of getting a demo prepared to send to companies who do want a finished product. Either way - you'll probably get tons of rejections before a nibble of interest comes your way - don't be put off by this, about 70% of unsolicited demos never even get a listen! That doesn't mean you shouldn't keep trying either, many bands and artists - including the Beatles, Queen and the Rolling Stones were rejected by major companies before finally signing a deal. Hope this helps & Good Luck Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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  8. Where can I make my own cd and then send it to a music producer ?
    Hi Ashley, There are several ways to make a demo. 1. Do it yourself by using home recording equipment and a computer with a cd-writer. 2. Book time in a recording studio to record your master tape (some also offer cd-mastering and duplication for copies). There is information on recording demos here: http://www.vocalist.org.uk/record_demo.html and listings for UK recording studios here: http://members.lycos.co.uk/vocalist/ebc1/uk_recording_studios.html If your in the US try http://www.1212.com which has worldwide studio and other music company listings Once you have a demo then you can approach producers/a&r - we have some record company listings in both the club and vocalist sites but probably the best places to find contact detals for music producers are: http://www.hitquarters.com/ http://www.recordcompanyaddresses.com/ http://www.mojavemusic.com/ or by joining A&R connection companies like Tonos & Taxi listed in the job opportunities section http://www.vocalist.org.uk/musicians_job_listings.html Hope this helps Tracey Vocalist.org.uk Webmaster
    Category: Demos/Recording
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