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The easiest way to get the best performance out of a singer is to make the environment comfortable. Sometimes even a seasoned pro can't do her best unless the conditions are just right. So consider some of the following suggestions before entering a vocal session. Ask the vocalist what kind of lighting they prefer. Most singers prefer the lights lower in the studio when performing, but ask them first. A comfortable temperature is important to a good performance. Ask them if they like it raised or lowered. Try lowering the lights in the control room, so they can't see you.
Some people think that you're in there judging them when you might be talking about something completely different. Make sure they have something to drink. Ask them whether they prefer warm water, hot tea, or something else before the session begins. Keep talking with the vocalist between takes, leave the talkback on if possible. Long periods of silence from the control room are a mood killer. If the take wasn't good for whatever reason, explain what was wrong in a kind and gentle way, something like that was really good, but I think you can do it even better.
The pitch was a little sharp, this goes for just about any overdub, since players generally like to know what was wrong with the take, rather than be given a to do it again, blanket statement. Always keep smiling, it helps to keep the vocalist calm and at ease.
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