You sing it in your unique style…I’ll holistically tighten the pitch and rhythm by hand to make it shine.
I’ve worked as a record producer and engineer for over 30 years, and over 20 years as a vocal specialist crafting tracks on hundreds of releases. I will make your vocals sound as good as they possibly can and ready to be heard by your fans and the music industry.
It takes experience and a musician’s ear to know what to adjust and what to leave alone. My approach organically supports the song so that every note reinforces the lyric, hand-adjusting pitch and timing by just the right amount to perfect the feel while retaining every ounce of emotion from the vocal. The end result sounds completely natural and transparent.
I’ve worked in Detroit and Nashville and now operate Saga Recording in Vancouver, BC. My productions have been heard worldwide, and I’ve produced vocals in other languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, and Persian.
Vocal Tuning — from natural to supertight
Vocal Timing — optimizing rhythm between vocal and track
Vocal Alignment — doubles, backgrounds, stacks
Vocal Comping — the ideal track from multiple takes
Vocal Track Cleanup — pops, sibilance, and noise
Vocal Premixing — processing for consistent tone and level, great if you’re mixing yourself
Mixing/Mastering — stems or 2-track
Vocal Production — via videoconference
Song Feedback — make your song stronger
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Interview with Saga Recording
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I produced and mixed several songs from the debut album by Mozhdah (known as the Oprah of Afghanistan). One song called “Afghan Girl,” which is about the struggle Afghani women face in their country, was recognized internationally for its advocacy for human rights and Mozhdah performed the song at the White House for President Obama.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Yes! Digital can do things that are impossible to achieve in the analog realm, especially with processors that intelligently adjust in real time to address problem frequencies, and the ability to exactly recall sessions days or years later is crucial. But analog has it’s own euphonic mojo, which is why I use both processes in a hybrid approach.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To put all my heart and energy into making their music the best it can be. I sweat the little details, because they add up and make a difference.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Some people think “vocal tuning” means running a vocal through AutoTune at 100% so every note is rigidly locked to a pitch grid. Some artists choose to do that, which is valid because they want a particular sound, but it isn’t the right approach for all styles in all situations. To me, vocal tuning means tightening pitches that are wider than what the singer intended so the finished vocal sounds like the perfect version they pictured in their head.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What five artists could you see yourself being with on a playlist? What made you write the song(s) we’ll be working on? What’s your goal, artistic expression or platinum records? Or both?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Give some thought towards your identity as an artist and who your audience is (or who you want it to be). Make sure the person working on your vocals understands those things so that the end results are true to who you are.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If you don’t feel the emotion of the song when you’re singing it, then nobody listening to it will feel it either.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started writing and recording while in high school in Detroit. I earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Oakland University on a guitar scholarship, spent time working in studios and playing live with The Shy, then moved to Nashville where I wrote and produced for five years. I moved to Vancouver in 2003, where I now own and operate a recording studio. That’s over 30 years and still going strong.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I’ve always been a fan of Kathleen Edwards, she creates such expressive art.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Artist-centric. Instead of trying to impose my own personal aesthetic I do whatever serves the client best.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: The majority of my clients are solo singer/songwriters doing acoustic-based music, but I’ve worked in all genres including pop, rock, soul, gospel, roots, classical and worldbeat.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Finding and eliminating any impediments that get in the way of what an artist is trying to communicate through their music.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Discerning ears, a musician’s sensitivity, and decades of experience.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: For vocal work on parts that are already recorded, I communicate with the client to learn about their artistic vision. Once they send all the files, I optimize the vocals and send back an approval version to listen to. If there are any adjustments needed I make corrections and send back another approval. This process continues until the client is totally satisfied, although it’s very rare to need more than one round of revisions.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a dedicated recording studio in Vancouver. It was designed by master acoustician Russ Berger, which makes it an ideal space to record, mix and master. It’s a hybrid setup utilizing the best tools in the analog and digital domains.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Artists hire me to make their vocals sound as compelling and professional as possible. I do this by compiling the best takes into a single track, adjusting pitch and timing by hand to enhance the emotional impact of the performance, and mixing the the vocals with the track in a way that supports and showcases the artist’s voice.