After all, GarageBand comes on every Mac. Shouldn’t anybody be able to produce their own recording?
I wish I could say, “yes” …but I’d be lying.
I know what you’re thinking. “But what about Bon Iver? He recorded his debut album alone in a cabin. And Nirvana made their first record for 600 bucks. And David Gray made White Ladder in his home.”
These are the exceptions. Not the rule.
Most of your favorite recordings had producers at the helm and cost a lot more. Including all of the other records made by the artists listed above.
If you’re skeptical. I know how you feel.
In fact, I felt the same way when I was in college, so I went ahead and produced and recorded myself.
Then I found that
Trying To Produce Yourself Is A Waste Of Time.
I’m not going to dissuade you, by all means, rent a cabin and buy some cheap gear. You might just get lucky…
Here’s what I see more often than not when people try to produce and record themselves. I’ve dubbed them…
The 8 Steps To Musical Obscurity
- Read home recording equipment reviews and online forums.
- Save up money.
- Buy some equipment.
- Hole up in your room and try to record yourself.
- Get frustrated.
- Buy more gear in hopes that it will solve your problems.
- Become even more frustrated over the lack of anything to show for your money, time, and effort.
At this point, your options are:
- Start over.
- Move on to Step 8: Convince yourself that what you made is “good enough” and release it anyway.
You’ll have to tell yourself, “Well I only spent ‘x’ on it and I recorded it in my bedroom, people can’t expect it to be good, can they?”
They can and they do.
Listeners Don’t Care How You Made It.
They Either Like It Or They Don’t.
And here’s the worst part if you choose to follow the above process. While you’re combing through user forums, manuals and YouTube videos in an attempt to keep your acoustic guitar from sounding like it was recorded underneath a pillow, the artist who invested in himself and hired a producer:
- already has a record out.
- is making money and building a career
- is landing the opening gigs that you want
- is assembling a team of managers and booking agents (the ones that won’t give you the time of day)
That Artist Is Building A Relationship
With YOUR Potential Fans.
It’s worth mentioning here that the odds of having a successful career decrease rapidly at age 28.
Yet, I often see artists spending their 20s fiddling with home recording equipment. Then they “wake up” in their early 30s, still working a day job, and unable to launch their music career.
My good friend and client Jarrod Dickenson made one homespun demo in high school and promptly realized that recording wasn’t his unique ability. Writing songs and performing is. Of course he’s had to wear lots of hats over the course of his career but the reason he just released his major-label debut on Decca UK is this: He’s talented AND relentless. He works hard but he also works smart. A big part of working smart is delegating tasks that fall outside of your unique abilities. If you try to do it all and D.I.Y. your way to the top, you’ll never get there…
Here’s what Jarrod has to say about working with me:
“Chris is a talented guy in a lot of ways but the thing that sets him apart is: He has some of the best ears and ideas in the business! Plus, he makes an artist feel at ease and welcome in a studio environment.”— Decca Recording Artist: Jarrod Dickenson (Nashville, TN)