Finding vocalists is always a hard task, and I’ve already given you 4 tips on how to find vocalists last year, but it’s time to focus on how to find them without having to pay for it upfront, or ‘free’. It’s important to mention that Vocalists are never free and they deserve their pay, and you’ll eventually pay them somehow: Royalties or Fees. However, especially when you’re beginning, finding a deal that doesn’t require you to pay upfront could be ideal, and here are some thoughts on how to find these vocalists:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Clearly understand what kind of vocalist you are looking for before you search for one. Are you looking for a vocalist with a more ethereal voice? Or, are you looking for someone with a more ‘slapped’ kind of vocal, proper for house music? Before you even begin, listen to vocal songs in your genre and understand the kind of vocals that you’re looking for. Now, try to find pop songs that have the kind of vocals you’re looking for and look for them on youtube (pop songs are always better since there are more covers of them). Then, try to find covers that you like the vocalist and how he/she sings since, for example, an amazing house vocalist could be the wrong choice for a trance song. When you find someone, listen to other tracks of him/hers and try to spot anything that could be a problem. If you don’t hear any problems, it’s time to email them! This research will avoid any future frustration with that singer for not being able to sing what and how you want them to sing, or needing to later ask for multiple revisions, which will make the process easier and better for you.
2. Search for cover songs on Youtube and find GOOD vocalists with only a few subscribers/plays. Since we’re aiming for royalty deals, any vocalist that has millions of plays in a video, too many subscribers, or mentions that they are signed to a label are normally off-limits since they normally require fees. You have to find good vocalists that are unsigned and/or have only a few plays since they are more willing to collab on the song (normally). Therefore, especially when looking for famous song covers, scroll a bit further and try to find good vocalists that don’t have many plays, and there are TONS of them on Youtube. For example, I searched for Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush and found this vocalist with 3k subs and 18 views on this video. Sometimes it takes time to find them, but there are TONS of amazing vocalists willing to collab.
3. Ask your friends if they know anyone that sings, or even in forums, and you’ll be able to find vocalists looking for work. When I was writing my track Find My Own, I asked a friend if he knew any vocalists and he sent me a WhatsApp audio of his friend singing just like Billie Eilish and I loved it. She had the skills and she had what I was looking for, so I asked him for her contact, and bam, I was in a collab. What if you don’t have friends? Well, I’ve recently stumbled upon this forum on Reddit (/NeedVocals) that has tons of producers asking for vocals, and lots of vocalists answer, so even if you don’t have any friends who are vocalists, you can still try to find them in forums like this. Always make sure that these vocalists that are interested in your song can sing the way you want them to, as mentioned in point #1.
4. Ask the label you’ve been working with to pay for the vocalist of your next track. This option requires you to be working with a label, but I’ve had three labels paying for my vocals in the past. If you’ve been working with a label, or have a good relationship with them, ask them directly if they could pay for the vocal on one of your tracks. Send them the instrumental and, if they like it and you ask for help with vocals, sometimes they will offer you a budget to work with vocalists. Just to be clear, once they offer to pay for your vocal, you can’t send the song elsewhere and you will have to sign to them. However, all you gotta do to try this method is ask a label and sometimes they will help you out with vocals.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
When talking about a ‘free’ vocalist, you do know that you’ll have other costs related to this vocal as well, right?
1. Time: Finding a royalty-based vocalist requires you to search a lot on youtube, and this takes time. Not only this, but after finding a vocalist, you have to find a vocalist that accepts your offer and your song.
2. Work: when working with royalty-based vocalists, I don’t expect them to edit and FX their vocal. This will require skills from you to be able to edit these vocals properly.
3. Royalties: If a vocalist asks for a 50/50% deal and the song makes 3 thousand USD, 1.5k would go to the vocalist. Therefore, the vocalist was not ‘free’, and sometimes getting 100% of the royalties and paying upfront for a vocalist will be cheaper than a ‘free’ royalty-based vocalist.
If you want to read more about how to find vocalists, check this post on how to find amazing vocalists.