a quick Q&A
Here is a big list of my most commonly asked questions. If something you're wondering is not on this list, feel free to shoot me a DM or email. Happy browsing!
Who are you? What’s your deal, punk?
My name is Anna! I’m a 21 y/o (at the moment I’m writing this), based out of Nova Scotia, Canada (also at the moment). I’ve been singing for years and initially picked up making covers on Youtube as a hobby as an early teen. It was something I never grew bored of. Eventually, it turned from a hobby into a full-fledged, paying job and I am still continuing to do it today. Lucky me!
How many years have you been singing? Are you trained?
I’ve been singing since I was a young child. My parents were quick to notice my love for it and my basic ability to match pitch. They continued to encourage and nurture my passions, involving me in whatever music-themed extra-curricular programs I could get my paws on. This did include private vocal lessons. I’ve had several teachers and coaches over the years but the biggest take away I’ve had from all of them is to stick to your guns and PRACTICE. If singing is something you truly love, keep doing it. Find any excuse you can to keep singing.
I also went to university for a semester (very impressive, I know) before I made the choice to withdraw from studies to pursue music full time. During that time, I was a full-time Vocal Jazz student. This is not a choice I recommend to most people. Stay in school. It’s important.
Where do you record? How do you record? Is it a studio?
The short answer; I use a DAW and my equipment to record in my home.
The long answer; I’ve used lots of different equipment and programs throughout the years. I do record out of my home as it’s totally possible to have a professional sound within most spaces (depending on size and such). Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is a one stop answer for “how” I record or make covers. The most basic answer I can give (which I stated above), is by using a DAW (Digital Audio Workspace -- basically a fancy word for an audio program), importing an instrumental and recording with the equipment I have. There are tons of tutorials and recommendations if you’re wondering where to start. If you’re new to the hobby, consider checking out Audacity, Reaper, and Mixcraft. Those are the programs I’ve found easiest to start with, but that is my personal opinion. Everyone is different and everyone prefers different things.
What equipment do you use?
(Please note, I am not paid by any company to mention these things, they are genuinely what I use on a daily basis)
Microphone: Neumann TLM 102
Interface: Yamaha AG03 3-Channel Mixer
DAW(s): Mixcraft, Reaper, Adobe Audition (even though technically it is not a DAW and I’m transitioning out of it, please don’t yell at me)
Other programs I use: Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere (I subscribe to the whole Adobe Suite, which is crazy expensive and I refuse to recommend it)
Soundproofing: VOMO - Vocal Booth To Go
A side note; Most people typically soundproof their whole recording space but my current set up is a whole room. I still put up some basic foam padding (mattress topper because I couldn’t be bothered to measure and put acoustic foam all throughout that specific room), but the biggest difference I’ve noticed is when using this little booth thing. It’s a bunch of acoustic blankets, rigged up into a sort of tent that you set your mic underneath and record with your head under the cover. It’s fantastic. I thought it was way too pricey and wouldn’t make a difference, but I’ve never heard my vocals sound clearer. It’s one of my proudest impulse purchases.
I also use a PC if that matters to you. It is a decent laptop though (if you are curious about the specs, feel free to DM me).
Where do you get the artwork for your videos? Do you draw them yourself?
I’m afraid singing is the only creative field I have been gifted in and I do not draw. Most times, I’ll either commission the artwork or find fanart and contact the artist directly to ask for permission (with full credit and payment). If you’re interested in drawing for a future cover of mine (a paid gig, of course), send me an email! I have a big list of artists who are interested and contact them as work becomes available.
How is what you do legal? I want to make covers but I’m scared I’ll get sued.
Before I answer this question, please remember I am not a lawyer. Everything I state is simply what I’ve been told, so please use your own discretion and do not blame me if you do happen to get in legal trouble.
In most cases, if you are making covers on YouTube, they will be dealt with by the Content ID system. This system is basically a fancy robot that detects songs within the system. If you post a cover, chances are it will be Content ID claimed. This is not a bad thing! This just means any revenue generated on the video will be sent to the correct content owners (UMG, Disney, etc). If you’re not worried about making money on your videos, it’s no biggie and you should be okay!
There are some events where you could get in trouble, however. It’s only happened to me a couple of times, those times being when I used instrumentals from a particular karaoke company. They were very particular about their usage policy, and although I bought the tracks, I did not have a license for their use on YouTube. They did strike those (if you get a certain number of strikes within a certain period of time, your channel will be removed), and they were taken down. If you plan on making covers, either using “official instrumentals” or custom recreated instrumentals should help you avoid that.
Nowadays, I use mostly recreated instrumentals. I have a small group of creators whom I work with to make instrumentals for my covers. This allows me to post both the videos onto YouTube and streaming sites (Spotify, apple music, etc) without issue.
Why isn’t _____ on Spotify? Why can’t I stream it?
Like I mentioned in the previous comment, in order for me to legally monetize covers, I have to have 100% ownership over the content in said cover as well as a license. Most of my old covers were created with instrumentals that are not mine, or that I do not have permission to use. For the covers people really want, I’m working on updating and recreating with the proper instrumental.
“Dear Miss Anna (or I assume you say), I want to be a better singer, what do I do?”
You practice, and when you think you’ve practiced enough, you practice more. Obviously, don’t overwork yourself but there is no quick fix to becoming “better”. Just like art or any other skill, everything takes time. You have to dedicate the time to improve. If you’re really serious about upping your game, maybe consider working with a vocal coach (if that’s possible for you). Be kind to yourself. Everyone starts somewhere and the fact that you’re taking the first steps is something that should be celebrated.
What is your favorite song? Genres?
I genuinely enjoy the types of songs I cover on my channel, though they aren’t typically what I listen to in my car (unless I’m trying to learn it). I try to keep the songs I cover separate from my pass time listening or else I will get totally sick of them. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. My music tastes are always changing, but generally, it’s safe to say I have the tastes of a 45 y/o dad with a daughter in musical theatre. That is to say, lots of ’70s/80’s pop (ABBA, Looking Glass, Phil Collins, Elton John, anything that fades out at the end, etc), musical theatre (a very specific niche of theatre that I’ll probably never cover because I don’t have that sort of a range or I like the song too much and would like to preserve that -- 35mm, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Count Of Monte Cristo, Anastasia, etc) and folky-pop stuff (Skipinnish, so much Skipinnish and a sprinkle of Ed Sheeran but only Galway Girl and Nancy Mulligan).
"Cool cover! Can I use it in content of my own?"
Although I love the idea of people using my covers, because they are covers, I cannot legally give consent or clearance for you to use them (even if they are not monetized). Even though my covers are available for streaming and distribution on certain platforms, that license does include any other outside usage (videos, videogames, streams, etc).