I like stand-out voices. There are lots of amazing singers with beautiful nightingale voices, but that's usually not my cup of tea. I prefer the different, the stranger and the more outspoken vocalists. This is not always the way some record labels like it, but middle-of-the-road was never my thing. Its probably why I own zero private jets, but who needs those anyway?!
Looking back over the last decade I've been blessed to work with some really scarily talented vocalists. From Roisin Murphy to (Run) DMC, and from Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes) to Stefflon Don and Jocelyn Brown. People that gifted make you wanna work even harder to be worth their time. It goes without saying I'm not only chasing the big names, but also work with a lot of more unknown vocalists over time that are just great. For example 'Dance Shake Move' on Skint Records I worked with The Melody Men, with Solid Gold the lead singer was a girl from here in Holland called Pien Feith.
For "Reminders Of You" I reached out to Alex Clare, as he is one of those vocalists with a really fresh and one-of-a-kind sound. The idea was to give this pretty serious jackin' house track I made a cotton-field / chain gang song kinda vocal. We're happy with how it turned out, and those folks at a little boutique imprint called Spinnin' Records are releasing it this month.
I usually have a few different instrumental ideas where I'm looking for certain type of vocals for. With the help of my team (manager, publisher, labels) we reach out to the people that have that voice I'm looking for a particular track. Sometimes it means aiming high and never hearing back. But also enough examples of people that I thought would never even read my email, who all of a sudden were up for it. At the end, music speaks for itself luckily, so if people dig your stuff a lot of things are possible. Ideally, I try to be in the same room with an artist to record a vocal - whether that's in my own studio or somewhere else - so you can vibe a bit and get the vocal exactly the way you like it. But the schedules of some of them can be quite tricky affairs, so sometimes you end up sending vocal ideas back and forth over the interweb. Technology has made contacting and recording with artists so much easier thankfully.