Tottenville High School students cover Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody

After watching the video, check out SILive.com’s feature article!

 

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Cover Dos and Don’ts: 3 Ways to Make Your Cover (Song) Stand Out


A great way to grab the attention of your potential listeners as a singer or original artist is to cover songs that are hits. Beyoncé and Imagine Dragons already have a fan base that loves their music — and those fans will probably love your sound if you match theirs (or Adele’s or Shawn Mendez’s…you get the idea). 
So let’s talk about how to capitalize on a market that already exists, while making you stand out as an artist too!
My three main pieces of advice are:

  • Don’t be a copycat. If you are unable to sing it better or different, then pick a different song! My biggest pet peeve is when an artist sings a song EXACTLY like the original. A trick for females is to choose a male song, and vice versa for males. If you are in the early stages of recording and learning, then this isn’t as important. But once you’ve had some experience and made the decision to be an ARTIST, this is a MUST in order to carve your own path in this business. (See “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 or “Wild Horses” by Alicia Keys for examples.)
  • Understand the lyrics. It’s your job as a singer and performer to tell the story. It’s surprising to find out how many singers actually don’t understand the words or message they are singing about. Rewrite the lyrics in your own handwriting, or retype them and print them out. Grab a marker and highlight what you think are the main emotional words or phrases of the song. Listen to the song while reading the lyrics. Live and breathe the song as if you wrote it yourself. 
  • Match the genre, not the artist. If someone tells you that you sound like Bruno Mars, DO NOT pick a Bruno Mars song. Sure you can use this as inspiration and a guideline, but in order to be recognized for your own unique sound, it’s important to choose a song that is not like an artist with a similar tonality as you. You’ll want to choose a song in the genre of Bruno Mars. But if I can’t tell the difference between you and Mr. Mars on your cover of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”, that’s probably not the right fit. Perhaps an Usher cover would work better for you. 

For inspiration to choose a cover, visit Billboard.com’s chart page: http://www.billboard.com/charts#id-chart-category-pop. This link takes you to the pop charts, but you can choose other genres when you get there. 
Until next time, 

Xo, 

Laura. 

Tottenville HS Performs Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” at ET Studios

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On Tuesday, Oct. 25th, Tottenville HS’s media students visited ET Studios for a tour and a special recording session.

Led by their instructor Ms. Nolemi, the talented group performed “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen’s most famous anthem. We recorded the students in our largest room at ET Studios and were absolutely blown away by their voices!

We’re excited to welcome Tottenville HS to the ET Family!

Check out some more pics of Ms. Nolemi’s students at our studio below:

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ET Studios’ Production 101 Workshop – Coming This November

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Are you interested in producing your own music, right from your own laptop or desktop computer?

ET Studios’ Joey Martino will be leading his Production 101 Workshop on Saturdays this November, from 12 pm to 3 pm. Take a peek at what the workshop has to offer you:

WEEK 1: Linear (Analog) & Nonlinear (Digital) Recording
What is a DAW and which should I use?
How to set up a home studio for music production and audio recording
Inputs vs Outputs and how do I connect my studio gear together correctly

WEEK 2: Creating beats and loops
Working with MIDI
Recording Instruments and Vocals

WEEK 3: Editing your tracks
Time stretching and pitch correction of recorded tracks

WEEK 4: Basic mixing and mastering techniques

REQUIREMENTS: A laptop/desktop computer with internet connection and Pro Tools First (free download). Workshop classes do not require you to bring a computer but you are welcome to do so and perform tasks along with your instructor. Hands on experience will be given to all that attend!

With digital recording and your own imagination, there is no limit to what kind of music YOU can create. There are a limited number of seats for the workshop, so contact Laura at laura@etstudioproductions.com today to register!

Heading into the Recording Studio? 5 Ways Your Microphone Defines Your Vocal Sound

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I’ve often been asked by vocalists that I work with in the studio, “Can you make me sound like [fill in the blank with amazing singer]?”

Firstly, the singer should have great technique, which is something you should take care of long before you enter the studio. Second, the microphone you use will make all the difference. It would be nice if you could walk into any studio and sound the same — and great! But that isn’t the case. Let’s take a look at why.

  1. Wide frequency range. You want a microphone that has a wide frequency range allowing low, mid, and high frequencies in your voice to be heard. Try singing the letter “e.” Now sing the word “oh.” Notice where the sound is coming from in each situation: “e” is nasal and “oh” comes from within your chest. Those sounds fall into different frequencies, and you want a microphone that is going to capture those — and everything in between.
  1. Dynamic range. Trying singing the first line of the chorus to “I Can’t Make You Love Me”: I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You had to belt that, right? Now sing the line from The Beatles’ “Yesterday”: Oh I believe, in yesterday. It should be sung quietly, with reserve. You want a microphone that will capture both the softest whispers to the loudest soaring notes of your performance. Otherwise your belting will be distorted, and your more subtle notes won’t be captured on tape at all.
  1. Low noise and low distortion. Have you ever recorded yourself using some low-tech device and heard a hissing sound? That’s what we call “noise.” Have you ever heard a recording of someone where the voice sounds like it’s crackling or fuzzy? That’s “distortion” — when audio signal is too strong. We want neither of these things to happen when recording vocals in the studio, so we want to use a microphone with low noise and low distortion to preserve clarity in your voice.
  1. Natural tone. You want your listeners to hear your voice on tape the way it sounds live, in a room, with you right in front of an audience. You want to capture YOU, and the quality of the microphone you use makes all the difference. (Note: For certain genres of music, altering your voice with effects may be desired, but that doesn’t come from the microphone itself.)
  1. Detail. You will never sound exactly like Adele — and that’s a good thing! You want to sound like you, and you want a microphone that will pick up all the unique tonal nuances of your voice. You may be the same type of singer as Adele, but your voice cracks in different places, and it’s raspier depending on the words you’re singing. They are small details, but they make all the difference in making you sound like YOU.

There are a lot more hardware and software that add to what makes a great vocal recording, and we’ll get more into those in future blog posts. If you like what you’ve read, and would like to be updated when future articles are posted, don’t forget to sign up for our blog!

Talk soon,

Joey.

Nailing That Performance: 7 Ways to Improve Your Stage Game

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Lessons and practice are certainly important as an artist. You want to get to a point where you’re not even thinking — you’re just in the “zone” and the music takes over.

So how can you increase your odds of having this kind of mind blowing performance? Make these seven tips part of your pre-show routine and you’ll begin to see a difference — both for yourself and for your audience.

  1. Relax the day of show. We have all experienced pre-show jitters, sometimes so much so that it affects the quality of our voices. To steady your voice, try humming, feeling that breath on your lips, in your cheeks, even in your eye sockets. It’s a soothing feeling, even if you’re not about to perform. 
  1. Keep your stomach (somewhat) full. An empty stomach could send you onto the stage with a dizzy feeling, leading to poor vocal quality and forgetting important techniques you’ve spent weeks rehearsing. Try eating a banana before you perform. It will lower that empty or nauseous feeling in your stomach, but won’t make you feel too full either. 
  1. Stretch! Some people hold tension in their arms, their legs, even their faces! Stretching various parts of your body is great way to reduce the tension in your body. Even try puffing your cheeks to loosen your facial muscles or wiggling your toes to remind yourself that you’re rooted in the ground — and remember, you got this!! 
  1. Avoid Caffeine. This should be a huge “duh” for any singer. Caffeine is a HUGE no-no. Caffeine can not only make you more anxious, it will dry out your system which is just plain being mean to your vocal chords. Now, if you’re a caffeine addict, this isn’t the time to try to quit. (The withdrawal can cause shaking, headaches, or even vomiting!) Just don’t have extra caffeine on the day of the performance. You may think that it will make you perform with more energy, but it will actually make you feel more nervous and jittery. 
  1. Get adequate sleep the night before. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and late night parties once you’ve been exposed to the spotlight. But I cannot stress enough how important it is to sleep at least 8-9 hours a night, especially before a performance. Your body is actually preparing for the show as you sleep, through repairing and replenishing itself in your comfy pj’s! Don’t deprive it of this oh-so-important part of the preparation process. 
  1. Confidence is everything. Lets face it, confidence is everything in this business. If you believe you are good enough, the audience will too. Confidence comes from within, so get your meditation on and focus on how amazing you’re going to be on stage. You will exude positive energy that will become infectious, and the audience will be able to do little but explode with applause!! 
  1. Bring real-life experiences to the stage. This is a tough one, but it might be the most important. Imagine saying “I love you” to someone you care about while doing something unrelated —  maybe cooking dinner, reading the newspaper, or just simply not paying attention. Would that person really feel that you truly love them? Probably not. When performing, you need to be in the moment and allow yourself to feel real feelings. Believe me, the listener will relate to you so much more. Try thinking back to that time when your heart was broken. Or, if you’ve been so lucky to not have your heart broken, think of a movie or a book that touched you, or a friend or family member. It’s important you humble yourself and remain vulnerable and open. Your audience will not only hear and see you, but even more importantly, they’ll feel you.

You might notice that these seven tips not only apply to performing, but to life in general. But that’s what music is — it’s life! We’re performing every day, sharing our gifts with each other. Make these part of your everyday living, so much so that they become habits. Little by little, you will begin to build your story and help define the person you are to become!

Until next time.

Xo,

Laura.