Where can you find Amazing VOCALS for your songs?

I’m always asked about how I find the vocals that I use in my songs. So, in today’s post, you’ll learn the four places I normally look for vocalists, and some of them are even “free”…

4 THOUGHTS FROM ME

1. Find vocalists on YouTube while looking for covers. My preferred way to find new vocalists is by looking for covers of famous songs and I’ve found some amazing vocalists I’ve worked with in the past, as you can listen here and here, like this. What I love about this is that you can find vocalists who have never worked with electronic music before, which can bring some uniqueness to your song, and, most importantly, if your budget is limited, can lead you to find an amazing vocalist who is willing to do royalty splits with your songs instead of asking for an upfront payment. For this to work, you must look for a couple of things in the vocalists: (1) Look for the right tone of voice as you can find amazing vocalists who may not have the right sound to fit with your song; (2) Find the right pop song to look for covers as they are more widely covered than electronic songs, for example; (3) After you find a vocalist that you like, look for original songs and analyze the songwriting of that vocalist to understand if they’re a good songwriter for making the lyrics if you need them written; (4) Find their email on youtube or Instagram, message them and negotiate the terms of the agreement. This is the way I’ve gotten some amazing vocalists to agree to royalty-split deals, which was a lot more interesting to me as a producer without a big budget. Now, for this process to be more effective: (1) Look for artists with a low subscriber count (below 30k). The more subscribers he/she has, the harder it is to reach out to them; (2) Look for unsigned artists as signed artists will likely ask you for a budget; (3) Email one singer at a time to avoid having to say no if two people say yes; (4) After sending the first email, follow up once and, if there’s no response, move on to the next one. Lastly, if you want to read a more in-depth guide about this method, check it over here.

2. If you’re more time-sensitive and your budget is bigger, look for vocalists on Soundbetter to get a more refined list of vocalists. What I like about Soundbetter is how easy it is to find amazing vocalists in almost no time. Not only this, but Soundbetter, Voclio or Vocalfy vocals will come with all the tuning and processing already done (normally), so you’re not only paying for the voice, but also for the experience that this vocalist has with processing his/her vocals. For example, I found this vocalist in less than 1 minute looking for singers that sound like Ben Böhmer. As in topic #1, you still need to (1) discover what kind of vocalist are you looking for or what artist you want it sound like as this will be what you’ll type on the search bar and (2) discover if the vocalist you select has songwriting skills by listening to what they display in their page, and also ask for more while talking to the vocalist directly. In a way, take advantage of the direct contact you have with the vocalist as this is something you can’t do on Youtube. On the other hand, the main ‘issue’ with this method is that it may cost you some money, and some producers are not willing to invest that much in a vocal or prefer to invest more of their budget in promotion and marketing. To avoid investing in something you’re not fully sure about, always ask if you can get a demo before actually ordering these vocals, which some vocalists may accept doing. If they don’t, then pick acapellas that are close to your desired vocalist and try them in your songs so you can then get a hint of how this desired vocalist may sound in your song before ordering them. Lastly, ask for some of their previous songs and, if you like everything, just go for it.

3. Use vocal samples when you don’t need/want a full vocal for your song. Sometimes, all you need in your songs to get that vocal feeling in it is a few words, apply some FX and you’re good to go. For example, big artists like Yotto have added just a few words to their songs, like what you can hear in ‘Yotto – Just Over’, and that’s when using vocals from sample packs can come in handy. For example, here are a few things that you can do with samples: (1) Create vocal chops by picking a sample, chopping some parts of it, and creating a melody out of the chops; (2) Use plugins like MAutoPitch (free) or Little Alterboy (my favorite) to change the tone of the vocal with formant shifting; (3) Create a different melody for your vocal sample by using a vocoder; (4) Use it as a background element by washing it out with a lot of reverb and delay. In any case, vocal samples can be an amazing way to add a vocal feeling to your songs, but also to test if your song needs a vocal or not. However, what I don’t recommend is to use the vocal sample “as is” and without any processing since it sounds a bit too ‘obvious’ and can be easily replicated by others. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do that since Shane Codd’s song Get Outta My Head used a vocal from a pack as is and has 120 Million plays, so why can’t you as well, right? If you liked this idea and want to learn more about how to properly use vocal samples, you can watch our recent video over here.

4. Create your vocal samples and use them in your songs. In the song ‘Lost In You’ by Marsh, he recorded his voice as the vocals and added them to his songs, and they sound amazing, and you can see him showing this in this tutorial. With your own vocals, you will need to process and tune them, and you need a little experience with singing to make a melodic vocal, but that is not the only solution. If you’re not a good singer, write a speech and record it to use in your songs, just like what Frost did in his song Overtones, which you can listen to over here. But, if you don’t want a speech, pick your friends’ audio messages to you and include them in your songs, which is something that Fred Again is doing a lot in his songs, including Delilah (120 MM plays on Spotify) and Marea (278 MM plays on Spotify). In any case, adding your vocals to your tracks will give you a lot of creative freedom since you can test multiple takes and different wording, in addition to being free and keeping all your rights, which can be something really interesting to make your songs more unique.

1 QUESTION FOR YOU

What do you ALWAYS have to look for when searching for a vocalist or vocal sample?
1. Tone of voice: Look for a vocalist, or sample, who can achieve the vocal nuances that you’re looking for in your song. The best way to check this is by listening to the vocalist’s previous songs and checking if you find what you’re looking for when listening to these songs/covers.
2. An adequate deal: Always negotiate with vocalists according to your budget and timing. Make sure to expose your desired terms right at the beginning of the discussion to avoid any frustration when the song is already done.
3. Experience: If you don’t know how to properly process vocals, finding a vocalist who can properly process their vocals is crucial. This can guarantee a better result for your track by reaching better quality and giving you more options (doubles, harmonies, etc).

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Leo Lauretti

Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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