Abi Asks: Josh Florez

Abi Asks: Josh Florez

Howdy Safari Blog People!

Being a new producer is definitely an existence filled to the brim with learning curves (so many!! all day!! everywhere!! 24/7 365!!!). Vocal recording and production is a topic that I have felt very compelled to cover on the blog, as it’s an area of production that I don’t feel so confident in and am yet to slay. For me, the biggest issue with my vocal recordings thus far has been the consistency of tone in the artist's vocals (why won’t the vocals vocal for the love of mics?!). However, I am very determined to improve my vocal game, and as the wise philosopher Miley Cyrus once said: I gotta be strong, just keep pushing on”.
To learn more about the art of slaying vocal recording and production I spoke to Producer, Mix Engineer, and Songwriter: Josh Florez (Zendaya, Jordin Sparks, Khalid- to name a few).

I asked him: What to you is key in getting a great, consistent sounding vocal recording? Do you have any methods that help you achieve that when you record an artist?”

He said: 

“Abi, thanks for having me. I love chatting about this type of stuff!

And that’s a really great question. 

To me, vocal production is the most important, and sometimes overlooked, part to capturing a great recording. When I’m vocal producing an artist I’m focused on capturing the right tone, emotion and dictation of the performance. And this process can feel a bit vulnerable so it’s important for the studio to feel like a safe place to sing an off note, forget a lyric and share emotions. I like to have snacks close by, lights to set the vibe and a candle. Every session tends to start with an easy conversation, catching up or getting to know who you’re working with. Often times we’re not even talking about music.

Once an artist is comfortable and ready to start working I like to start by having them sing the song from top to bottom while I set preamp and compressor levels. Then we start recording the song line by line. I’ll have an artist sing the first line back to back 5-10 times

while giving notes along the way. Once we capture the first line of the song I’ll put the best take on a new track and we move onto the next line of the song. This process continues until we capture the whole song. I’m always listening for vocal tone, and emotion to give the proper vibe of the record. Once the lead vocal is captured I like to jump into background vocals. The arrangement of bgv’s varies from song to song. You have to listen to what the song is calling for. When you’re starting out it’s easy to get caught up in gear and the technical side of things but those things shouldn’t hold you back from making great music! Work with what you have, and let the music guide the way. Music first.”

Josh’s insightful answer really opened my eyes to the importance of a few things:

  1.  Creating a safe and inspiring place for the artist to feel comfortable singing in.

  2. Recording line by line, to ensure the nuances, emotion, and vibe are there and that the take is solid tone wise. 
  1. Not getting caught up too much on the gear and technical side- and to let the music guide the way.
I’m so pumped to implement these takeaways from Josh’s answer into my next vocal session- and will definitely bring a snack and vibey candle! (a wonderful reason to spend more money on Bath and Body Works scented candles!!! so amazing!! so legit!!)
Thank you Josh for your insightful answer!
Catch y’all next week!
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