When it comes to crafting a new track, there are dozens of technical steps that should be taken before release. While the significant ones include writing and recording, some steps go unnoticed and not shown enough attention. Mixing is one of those steps. It’s one of the most important aspects of creation near the end of such a process that ties that new track together. With it being such a crucial, yet overlooked part of developing a song, many artists are unaware of what mixing is in the first place.

“Mixing” a song makes the track sound much more clear and helps the artist’s voice stand out from the beat, but also keeps it sounding “laid within” the track, rather than just rapping over it. The mixing stage is the element of creation that forces a song to sound “more expensive” to the ear of the listener depending on the time given to the process. If interested in listening to rudimentary differences in mixing, look no further than some of The Weekend’s earlier work, such as ‘House of Balloons’ or ‘Trilogy’, and compare it to his latest project ‘After Hours’ (which has been called his “most expensive” sounding album to date).

Artists can mix a song to their standards while keeping their signature sound if they choose to do so. For example, rapper Westside Gunn, a well-known gritty rapper, maintains a signature sound through “raw” elements that he’s always stuck by. However, as he’s become more well-known over the past few years through his solo music and group Griselda, he’s earned both money and time to invest in mixing. This helps him sound more clear, but also allows him to keep his signature sound that fans have come to him for.

It’s important to ensure that vocals are recorded in a proper area. If vocals are recorded in an improper location with an echo or low recording quality, it can drastically decrease the sound quality. If vocals are recorded without consideration for microphone placement, it can lead to less than stellar results in the end. Many people remember when Nav’s verse on Travis Scott’s track “YOSEMITE” was very quiet compared to the rest of the track, and it came down to a simple error in mixing that was corrected days later.

While this was updated after release, some vocals can only be altered so much depending on where they were recorded. According to Kanye West in a recent interview with GQ, “Twenty percent of Jesus is King was recorded into an iPhone”. While this does help with remembering flows, lines, melodies, and hooks while on the go, it isn’t the highest quality in terms of the sound input.

Filtering the vocals into the track will help you make slight adjustments to the beat and background instruments to make way for the voice. It’s key to find a proper middle ground between losing your voice in the beat beyond comprehension and rapping over it which would lose key elements of the beat. It’s also wise to consider how an artist wants to sound to their audience.

Are they aiming for gritty, as if they’re starting from the bottom? Or, do they want to sound professional and as if they’ve had their fair share of experience in the music industry? Regardless, this is a core component for an artist to keep in mind as they continue to improve and master their work throughout their career. Remembering small parts of the technical process, such as this one, will boost an artist’s chance at making it big in no time!