Achieve That Modern Vocal Sound – Grammy-Nominated Producer John Hill
As a youngster, after learning the ropes in his uncle's recording studio and getting to grips with the MPC3000 and SP1200, it wasn't long before John Hill landed an internship at New York's Sony Music Studios before going on to work with some of the biggest names in modern pop.
But how does he achieve the modern vocal sound of Florence And The Machine or Rhianna? We sat down with the Grammy-nominated producer to ask him about his experience, vocal production techniques such as aligning doubles and backing vocals and why Revoice Pro is such a vital tool in his workflow.
"A lot of people still associate me with the work I did with Eminem and Florence And The Machine. Working with them really got my name out there. I did a song with Emile Haynie and SIA, and then Emile presented it to Eminem as they have a history of working together. With Florence, I was brought in by Kid Harpoon who had worked with her in the past. We worked on a few songs and we wrote 'What Kind Of Man' in the last half hour of the session."
Hill's learnt a lot by doing things differently. He realises that there are a hundred ways to finish a song, but finding the best snare or biggest kick drum isn't the most important ingredient.
"It's good to be uncomfortable and recently working with really great artists such as Banks, Sleepy Jackson, Vince Staples, AlunaGeorge, Portugal. The Man, Foster The People, Miguel and many more, has kept things fresh and exciting for me. Ultimately, if it sounds all wrong to the artist, I will pick it apart piece by piece to pinpoint what it is that they don't like and fix it, as opposed to letting my ego get involved."
"A lot of people still associate me with the work I did with Eminem and Florence And The Machine. Working with them really got my name out there."
When it comes to vocal production, Hill used to manually tune and align each double to the main lead for every stack. Not anymore.
"In some songs, we could have 20-30 vocal tracks and to keep everything feeling tight and sounding big, we tend to stack quite a few vocal tracks on top of each other. It used to be such a time consuming process, editing each of them one-by-one but these days, we use Revoice Pro to align all the doubles and background vocals to a lead vocal which we've already spent quite a bit of time comping and tuning. But not only does Revoice Pro align doubles to a guide track, it also matches the pitch. So we can achieve the same workload in a fraction of the time!"
”We use Revoice Pro to align all the doubles and background vocals to a lead vocal which we've already spent quite a bit of time comping and tuning. But not only does Revoice Pro align doubles to a guide track, it also matches the pitch."
He concludes with some valuable advice when working with artists.
"I always try to really listen to people, understand their vision, and make them feel comfortable. It's not my album, and I don't have to tour it for two years when it's done. I feel like it's always a different process and I try to be patient with it."
Find out more about John Hill here.
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