Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Rafa Payan is a dominican guitarist, arranger and producer. We have been working together since 1997, and we make a great team! ;)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I'm a dominican singer who recently moved to the States, but I've been singing professionally since I was 6 years old, doing jingles and participating in two children's albums. At 16 I became the lead singer of a band called Tribu del Sol, with which I gained recognition both nationally and internationally. More recently I was part of the band Retro Jazz, whose debut album was pre-nominatted for the Latin Grammys. I've recorded with many producers in the Dominican Republic and in Miami, for many different artists, in many different genres (from pop, to jazz, to bachata).
How would you describe your style?
My voice has a certain softness and tenderness, but can also be very powerful... I like doing "bluesy" stuff, but I'm also a sucker for a powerful rock ballad. So it really depends on the song, the style, and the feeling.
Can you share one music production tip?
As a singer, I think letting your emotions show is extremely important, and sometimes we singers can be very hard on ourselves while recording. That's why it has proven to be a very successful tip, to let the singer explore the song and record it a few times on it's entirety. Then the singer can record a new track paying attention to every detail, and redoing if necessary, but having the first few tracks as backup.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Pop, Ballads, Blues, Pop-Rock, Jazz, Latin (Bossa, Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, Cumbia...)
What's your strongest skill?
I believe my strongest skill is my ability to do vocal arrangements. I find it's a very useful and necessary skill when recording any song, both on lead and background vocals.
What do you bring to a song?
Singing is my passion, so I approach every project with love and enthusiasm. I like being creative and bringing new ideas, respecting the essence of the song.
What's your typical work process?
My work process varies depending on what the task. In the case of lead vocals , I like to do three complete takes, and then choose the better portions of each take. Then edit, tune and consolidate into a composite track. For Bkg vocals the process is different. I usually like to reinforce the melody doing two tracks, and then open up with harmonies (as many or as little as needed, depending on the project).
Tell us about your studio setup.
Mac Pro running Mavericks, Apollo Twin interface, Tannoy reference monitors, Neumann U87, AKG 414
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Imogen Heap, Sarah Mclachlan, Adele, Ella Ftzgerald, Esperanza Spalding
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Composition, lead vocals, background vocals, vocal arrangemets, vocal coaching, vocal editing and tuning.