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Why high quality song demos are crucial to placing your hit songs with major artists

By Mary Woodcock on 09 Jun 2015

Rosina “Soaky” Russell under the account name 80sixmusic took the time to speak with us about the importance of having high quality demo recordings when pitching for songwriting deals, on and offline Music Gateway. Having the appropriate producers and vocalists that compliment your musical work is essential to catching the attention that you may deserve.

 Rosina and producer D’Mile successfully pitched their song “Take Your Time” to  Asian artist Anda and her team through Music Gateway. They loved the track and with some minor adjustments, the song was released as a single renamed “Touch”.

Charlie Ahn, CEO at Kdigital Media even states “We are very impressed with the speed and quality of songs submitted to us […] We have high hopes for this single and it’s all thanks to Music Gateway for bringing us together.” We spoke to Rosina about the importance of getting your demo up to scratch before showcasing it to industry A&R’s.

How long have you been in the songwriting business and what have you learnt so far about the industry?

I’ve been in the business for nearly 5 years.

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is that your network is a more valuable resource than your talent. In LA alone, there are scores of talented writers, producers etc., the ones who succeed are those who establish and maintain the right relationships.

Why is it worth investing in the quality of your song demos?

A&Rs, managers and publishers are inundated with music everyday; they have a ton of records being pitched to them. You don’t want to hurt your chances by submitting a great song that’s poorly mixed. Moreover, you don’t want to ruin a great song with a lackluster vocal performance. You want whoever is listening to your record to ‘get it’ on the first listen, therefore it’s worth going the extra mile to nail the demo.

In your opinion, how do you keep an A&R guys interest in your song when they’re listening to a whole range of demos?

Before pitching a song, I find out as much background on the project as possible. If you understand the direction of a project, you know what to pitch.

I know that they’re listening to bunch of demos so I avoid doing the obvious.  I try to pick song titles that stand out and compel people to listen. As far as the lyric and melody, I strive for simple and catchy.

How important is having a good vocalist on your song demos?

EXTREMELY important. You have to sell the song.

I dare to say that having the right vocalist is more important than having a good vocalist. There are lots of great vocalists but I’d rather have a record demoed by someone who delivers the attitude and emotion than by someone who is technically a better singer. I can always fix pitch issues, I can’t do anything if the emotion and energy isn’t there.

 Why work with an experienced producer for song demos?

Writing a dope song is only half the battle. After a top line is nailed, an experienced producer knows how to turn that great song into a great record. They tweak and tweak until the drums hit harder, they choose the right sounds, they bring in the best musicians to enhance the production.  An experienced producer understands what it takes to make record sound more polished.

What’s next for you?

I recently signed with Prescription Songs and my publisher and manager are doing a great job at keeping me busy! Fortunately, I get to work on some pretty exciting projects so the goal is to keep it that way. Some of the artists I’ve been collaborating with include Sean Kingston, Natalie la Rose, BoB and Rita Ora.

What is essential to remember is that how your music is exhibited is a direct representation of you. This is in terms of what you are like to work with, if you are a perfectionist, your reliability and various other traits that potential clients will want to know. However, most importantly, it may defect how good the songwriting is, which can often be clouded by poor sound quality. This is why we encourage you to team up and find producers and vocalists/musicians at a high standards that can push it to its maximum potential.

If you have that demo sitting at home that needs a decent vocalist or the mix is not quite up to scratch you can enlist the right help through Music Gateway. We aim to make it as efficient as possible for you to create a project that can find you the extra hands to aid its success:

Create a “Hire a Vocalist” project – Add the perfect vocals and emotion to your track.

Create a “Hire a Producer” project – Just need a better mix? Get that mixing up to scratch and don’t let bad mixing cloud over your song.

Create a “Collaboration” project and team up with a producer – Want to create a bunch of new demo songs and split the profits on future song deals? Form a strong ongoing partnership with a producer through Music Gateway!

Want to hear the song Rosina secured with Anda? Here’s “Touch” below!