How to Produce Music with Amos Teo
By Nina Syahira
March 3, 2016
Amos Teo, teaching music the modern way at Hark Music since 1999
As part of the winning prize for SAFRA The Ultimate Voice 2016, champions from the solo and group category each get to record an original music single to be released on radio.
Ever wondered how your favourite song is produced before it hits the radio?
For this, we caught up with Amos Teo, founder of Hark Music. With 20 years of experience in the music scene, Amos is also able to provide valuable insights on what it's like to be a music producer and mentor to budding artistes, as well as helpful tips for recording in the studio. Besides being one of the judges for SAFRA The Ultimate Voice (TUV) 2016, Amos also produced the songs for the past TUV champions.
Check out SAFRA's exclusive interview with Amos Teo!
L-R: Jia FM DJ Robin, Amos Teo, James Rainier (TUV Winner of English Solo category) and DJ Kai Ying
How excited are you to see this year's new crop of talents at SAFRA's The Ultimate Voice?
As a TUV judge for the 6th time, it never fails to warm my heart to see the contestants, regardless of their music proficiency, doing their best for something they are passionate about.
How different is singing for a studio recording to singing live on stage?
You need to take care of all the fine details in the sensitive recording environment. When you are listening through the headphones as you sing, you may find it difficult to control your voice if you are not used to it. However, when you are singing on stage, you hear your voice from the monitor speakers on a wider spectrum. You'll feel more comfortable as some impurities are already filtered out by the time it reaches your ears.
Nowadays, some professional singers use in-ear monitors during stage performance to ensure that they have full control of their singing.
Another difference would be that a song can be recorded in parts and as many times as you want to in a studio, whereas on stage you only have one chance to present your best.
An infographic guide on how to write a song.
Music production starts with writing the song first then recording a demo. How do you get inspiration for the lyrics and finding the right melody?
The guideline I've set is that the song must send a positive message and tell the singer's life story and aspirations. This way, they'll find it easier to sing from their heart. Once I come up with the song title, I will create a hook with it for the chorus.
In terms of the music genre, I will select one that fits their singing style and generate the melody based on a formula. For the lyrics, I may write based on the story they provided, or get the singers or a lyricist to contribute.
Amos Teo performing live on air
When working with new artistes in the recording studio, how do you ensure they perform their best for the production?
1) Have enough energy, don't come with an empty stomach and eat 1 hour in advance.
2) Have enough vocal warm-ups, but make sure not to strain their vocal cords.
3) Must be very familiar with the lyrics so that they can focus on the emotions.
What happens after recording the basic tracks? How does a song become a finished product?
The instruments and vocal tracks will go through a mixing process to fine-tune elements like volume and equalising, reverbs, panning, etc.
The song will then be finalised through the mastering process to achieve the optimum volume that is as loud as possible without compromising the clarity.
What's your favourite part of the song-making process and why?
My favourite part is the first practice with the singer to try out the written song. I will always feel a sense of excitement and satisfaction when I hear how the song is sung for the very first time. It's like seeing how a building starts to form its shape after all the architectural planning.
What words of encouragement can you give to those who wish to pursue a career in music?
Passion without desire may not get you far in your career. If you want to be successful in something you are passionate about, find out what is it that really drives you to have constant improvement.
There are many things you can do in the music industry. Get more exposure and learn as much as you can (performing, teaching, songwriting, music arrangement, audio engineering, etc.) but be really good and specialise in 1 or 2 of them. Doors of opportunities will always be open for you when you have the right attitude and high competency level in your chosen field.
*All photos are courtesy of Hark Music
Check out some of Amos Teo's latest music productions!
Read our interviews with some of the past TUV champions to find out what they've been up to since winning the competition!
With SAFRA's The Ultimate Voice 2016 already underway, come down to the venue to show your support!
At the same time, why not enjoy a meal at 15% off total bill at nearby J65 (Hotel Jen Tanglin) before or after the event?
Warm up those vocal cords with these 5 Ways to Achieve a Golden Voice!