Here’s a weird thing; I’m one of those singers that would prefer to be in the background. Singing with a few backup singers? That’s my happy place. Singing in a background choir? Even more of a happy place for me. I love the harmonies and fullness that background and group singing can bring to a song, often more than the lead part or solo. Here are the 3 types of backing vocals I use when it comes to recording background vocals.
Harmonizing is when you layer a note above or below the lead part with a different pitch that will perfectly fit the chord progression of the song. My absolute favorite part of background singing is when I get to harmonize. Listen, harmonizing is probably my favorite part of music, period! I get a really nerdy smile any day I’m in the studio laying down some beautifully layered harmonies. The more complex, the better.
Ever since I was raised in the church, I always had a knack for harmonizing and holding down my harmony part. If I was in a choir and I heard that one of the parts was not coming out loud enough or not coming out at all, I was soon switching my part to the harmony that needed me.
As you can see from this example below where I think I did my best arrangement of anything ever, harmonies are my thing.
Related Post: Here are some of the best songs to harmonize along with!
I always get excited in my session singing day job when I get to the part where the verses are laid, the hook vocals are all in, the bridge is complete with climactic harmonies and everything, and then I get to adlib. I always save my adlibs for last, since I adlib based on every other part that was previous recorded.
You may ask, what is an ad-lib? Why are you spelling it as all one word? Well, adlibbing is also known as improvising. It’s the beautiful part that you hear a good singer freestyling right in the background of the repeated hooks. Sometimes the intro and outro can be considered ad-lib if you’re literally just winging it!
Dubbing your vocals is the process of doubling the lead part of a song. Whether you are adding dubbed vocals to key phrases in a verse or to highlight a whole section like the hook, dubbed phrases are a must, especially in mainstream genres like pop and r&b.
Related Post: How To Write Lyrics To A Beat
In my early stages of songwriting and recording dubbed vocals, I missed out on so many opportunities to make certain parts of my song really pop. I would only dub a hook, or only certain sections of a hook, instead of really adding fullness to parts of the verses and bridge that could have really used it to shine and sounded a little duller without it. It’s important to note that dubbing doesn’t necessarily work with styles of songs. Simplistic singer-songwriter songs for example won’t need the extra layers and it may even take away from the vibes.
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This blog was written by singer, songwriter and producer Yona Marie. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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