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#460637 - 03/05/18 10:21 AM [Songwriting] Pitching a song
cliftond Offline
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Registered: 12/23/17
Posts: 393
Loc: Alabama
Well, the folks in Nashville would and I suppose still do, get a pro singer to record demo's of songs that they would pitch to artists, and, I think that is a good idea. A great song sang by a poor vocalist will be a poor song, mostly, on the other hand a great vocalist can bring a poor song some hope. Fact, vocals make or break a song most of the time. BIAB hasnt started singing yet, so, I do the best that I can with my vocals. It does make a difference.

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#460711 - 03/05/18 04:59 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
Samuel Davis Offline
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Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 420
Loc: Florida
I totally agree. Actually on last week's TAXI TV they mentioned how bad vocals can kill a really good song and ruin your chances of getting your songs placed in TV or movies.

The thing is, you don't have to hire a professional to sing your songs. Just network with other musicians, listen to their music and when you find someone who you would like to sing your song ask them if they would do it for you. They may do it just to get their name out there or maybe you can barter with them. Maybe they have a song idea that they need music for and you can provide that service for them in return for them singing on your song.


Edited by Samuel Davis (03/05/18 05:09 PM)
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#460718 - 03/05/18 05:55 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
90 dB Offline
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Professional Demo singers are a lot cheaper than you can imagine. For a song you intend to shop to publishers, it's money well spent.


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#460914 - 03/06/18 04:05 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2366
Loc: Sacramento, California
Originally Posted By: cliftond
BIAB hasnt started singing yet, so, I do the best that I can with my vocals.

Actually, it has. There's an integrated option to send notated lyrics to the web-based Sinsy vocal synthesis program and receive a .wav file of the sung lyrics.

Not that you'd want to use it for your demos, even if it didn't have a strong Japanese accent. But if you have no other options... it's an option.
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Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#460979 - 03/07/18 07:51 AM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
Originally Posted By: cliftond
Well, the folks in Nashville would and I suppose still do, get a pro singer to record demo's of songs that they would pitch to artists, and, I think that is a good idea. A great song sang by a poor vocalist will be a poor song, mostly, on the other hand a great vocalist can bring a poor song some hope. Fact, vocals make or break a song most of the time. BIAB hasnt started singing yet, so, I do the best that I can with my vocals. It does make a difference.


You might think so, but nope.... not true.

Having a good vocalist is true. Yes, it helps to have a singer who sounds like the artist you're trying to pitch for. Or at least one that sounds pro and not your cousin who sings in the choir once a week.

Often, a great song will shine through the quality of the recording or the production.

However, a great singer, no matter how good they are CAN NOT sing well enough to make a poorly written song sound like a hit. You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.

The best advice I would offer is that BEFORE you spend the money on a "good singer".... work on the song. If it's a first draft and you think this is the next big hit for some super star artist.... pause and get some other opinions. DOn't ask your friends or the folks on internet music site forums. Most of them don't know what a good song is from the writing point of view. Get with some writer specific places.... forums where song writers with a track record hang out, and get feedback from there. Submit your rough version of the song, with a note that it's a work in progress to places like the TAXI forum (it's free to join the forum)..... or join and submit to the screeners. They do evaluations if you ask for it. Or another place is the Nashville Songwriter's Association International. They claim to have staff to evaluate your music who have written the hits you have heard.

Only when you get positive feedback from them .... understanding that each person who listens as an evaluator will have a different opinion..... would you possibly think about hiring a pro to sing it. If you hire a pro right up front and then realize that the song has serious musical or lyrical issues, you have to rehire the pro to sing it again.

And yeah... you can get demo singers cheap (relatively speaking) who are working the demo circuit in Nashville waiting on their big break. Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks both worked as demo singers in Nashville before their big break.

First... get your song right.
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#460996 - 03/07/18 09:53 AM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
Ember - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 1053
Loc: Victoria, BC
It's always such an interesting topic! Good vocals versus the strength of the writing for the song. As a listener, what is being said and the story behind the lyrics can matter a whole lot more to me, but sometimes, more minimal lyrics with a really great vocal and overall catchy sound can be all it takes for me to want to keep listening to a song and add it to my favourite's list.

I think it really depends on the song itself, or the artist and their personal flare and style, but I also think that a well written song can go pretty far even if the vocalist is not quite on the same level as the actual song writing.

I think at the end of the day pitching a song, no matter what, is always going to be a difficult and exhausting process, especially in a place like Nashville. But you always have to keep trying! You never know when your chance might come along.


Edited by Ember - PG Music (03/08/18 09:31 AM)
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#461020 - 03/07/18 01:51 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 6110
Loc: GA USA
I think Ember well summed it up in her second paragraph.

If a vocal has soul then I'm in - for multiple genres. I could listen to some vocalists sing the proverbial telephone book and enjoy it. FWIW I tend to pay attention to the lyric only after a few bars of hearing what's happening with the vocal. If the heart/soul is there I can listen to a very average (but not "pitchy")singer and still enjoy it.

As far as pitching goes the only way we even approximate that is to throw some songs out at Songtradr and Crucial Music. Material that we've done because, well, it's what we want to do. If somebody else likes it or, heaven forbid, wanted to license it that's icing on the already fun cake. In reference to Herb's post I agree and so do a host of others that if you are "pitching" your material needs to be at the highest level of production that you can do or afford to outsource. Heck, just submitting a song that is several db's below today's "new normal" could cause a listener to hit the skip button rather than raising the volume.

And a huge two cents.

Bud
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#461031 - 03/07/18 03:24 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: Janice & Bud]
cliftond Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/23/17
Posts: 393
Loc: Alabama
All of you guys have great takes on this, giving so many good points of view. I tend to agree with A&R people who will say they can tell a good song within the first couple of bars. Pretty much true, if it doesn't hook me pretty quick it aint going to happen and I am thru listening to it. On to the next.

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#461040 - 03/07/18 05:13 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
HearToLearn Offline
Expert

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 1598
Loc: Midwest
Pitching a song is an interesting subject to me. It's typically talked about in a vague way. Pitching to who?

If you are pitching to or for a specific artist, your song better sound like that artist. A great song that's wrong for an artist, just isn't going to happen.

If you are pitching to more of a group of possibilities, you would still want it to sound like what they are going TO BE, not so much where they've been already. THAT can be a fine line.

Of course, you can pitch to projects, or reps. Just many different opportunities. My point is, it's good to know what opportunity you are going for.

I've heard it said, many times, that they can "hear" how good of a song it is without you putting much into it. No need to hire a singer, or have the music produced. If you hear that from someone, I would question how old that advice is. Of course, there are exceptions, and everyone has a story of those situations, HOWEVER, right now, most companies are trying to do as little as possible. Sometimes, taking out the demo singers vocals and replacing ONLY that vocal with the artists vocal. All music, instruments and backing vox, are used AS IS.

As far as a demo singer, it is NOT necessary. I will give you perspective from a conversation I overhead in the studio.

"Listen to this. They guy didn't even get a decent singer. I mean, come on! You can't spend a little money to make your product stand out and sound great, but that's what you're asking me to do? PASS! If you don't believe in it; why the hell should I?"

He picked the next song from the PILE he had to listen to.

I know not everyone is that way; but some are. I've never heard someone say "They really should have gone with a worse singer. This one is sounds good, unfortunately."

My point is this. Make it sound the best it can WITHIN your budget...whatever that is. Do NOT let that hold you back though. Just don't be lazy. Don't cut corners. They can tell. Have confidence and competence in what you do. What you lack; work hard at and develop. It takes time; but it's worth it.

There has been some GREAT advice given in this thread. More is given if asked. So keep asking questions. I know for a FACT there are some people that know their...I'll say, "stuff" on this forum. Reach out to them IF you are serious. Be open to learning.

It's rare that you are able to (and I hope they don't mind me saying this) listen to a song by someone like Floyd or Tom or many others...and study them. THEN IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS CAN ASK THEM! What?!?! Honestly, that's crazy cool!

I'll stop rambling now; but I could go on for a while. smile

Another great topic by the OP. Thanks for opening the discussion.
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#461046 - 03/07/18 06:05 PM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: HearToLearn]
Jim Fogle Offline
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Registered: 08/20/11
Posts: 4047
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Hear To Learn,

Thank you for adding your thoughts based on real world experience. There are a lot of gems inside your post.

This thread has been a conversation that I've enjoyed reading. Way to go, everyone!
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#461119 - 03/08/18 06:57 AM [Songwriting] Re: Pitching a song [Re: cliftond]
Guitarhacker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
To add a bit to HTL's post.... yep, I had the opportunity to hear the "demo" version of a country song that was a #1 hit for a band back in 2008 or so. The demo version could have easily been on the radio and everything about it was copied by the artist/band who charted it to #1. Even the introduction and fills, and the singer on the demo was a talented singer.

Indeed, you have 15 seconds to grab a screener's ear. They don't have all day to listen to the full song. Hence the advice to keep intro's short and get to the chorus before 60 seconds. If your intro is over 15 seconds, there's a good chance the screener hits the fast forward to the next song. You literally have to have them captivated within that time of 15 seconds or so if you expect them to hang with the song long enough to get to the chorus. And when they hit the chorus they have to think to themselves it was worth the wait.
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