Now that we kickstarted our project to record the rest of The exile somgs and got it back on track, we have to face the problems. The biggest problem in this project will be to find enough vocalists to sing our songs.
For The exile, the concept album recording, I chose specific vocalists based on some restrictions, e.g. I hade to make sure that I have one vocalist per character and that vocalist had to sing all the tracks where that character was required. I also choose the timber and the sound of each voice carefully to it the written vocal ranges and to ensure that the characters for Tyler and Melissa sound younger than the other characters.
For the rest of this project, I will not restrict myself in the same ways. The only requirements are that the vocalist must preferably be a a specific gender and the vocalist can do the required voice range. I will not try to match voices to characters. This approach may sound strange for a musical, but the idea is not to end up with a cast recording, but rather something that will sound like a compilation or concert recording.
There are not many sources for finding vocalists. First possible source is friends. That means I must have friends, or at least ones that can sing. Failing that, I can try to make friends. That is a long and hard process, and assumed that I frequent the places to find them and the ability to befriend them. Failing those avenues, I can hire local musicians. For the concept album recording, that was also not so easy. It is a slow process and they charge standard union session fees. Each vocalist wants to be paid a session fee for rehearsing and recording the song. Recording of chorus lines or backup vocals require the same, multiplied by at least 3 musicians. I will also have to be present at all sessions, requiring me to take leave from work. All that then need to happen in a studio that cranks up studio time. All and all, it works out to about R10,000 per song (about $1,00), plus my own time and cost of leave (yes, we buy our leave).
For the concept album recording I opted for Studio Pros. Each vocalist now charged $150, and that includes a lead vocal and one backing vocal track. That has brought the costs down to about $300, or R3,000 per song. Studio Pros includes all studio time and everything was mixed in my home studio. That is still pretty expensive going at about R30,000, or $3,000 fot the whole project, but for a final album that can be sold, that is a possibility we may wish to keep in mind. Another advantage of this route is the time saving. Turnaround times for Studio Pros are usually a few days. Even a large project like the concept album recording was finished within three weeks. And best of all, it needs very little time from my side to revord the vocals after I upload the files.
However, we first want to see if we can get away for free. There only a few places you can get people who are happy to sing for free, and most of them I have not found yet. The one place I have used before is Indaba music. I had a huge successful recording of Ghost town there. So, I will try Indaba again.
Progress is sure to be slower than what I planned for, as I will rely on volunteers only, but let's give it a chance and review our strategy as we go along.