PROVO, Utah -- The recording industry has been undergoing a tremendous change in recent years, and that change has been driven by technology. But the music itself is returning to some of the same principles that produced mega-hits in the ‘80s.
Jason Scheff of the band Chicago is among those showing people how it’s done, and he's offering a new vocal training program called 80s Radio Ready Vocals.
In 1985, at the age of 24, Jason Scheff said he got the opportunity of a lifetime--taking over as lead singer of the legendary band Chicago.
He said: "People have asked me over the years, many times: ‘How did you get the sound? How did you get the vocal sound for hits like "Will you still love me", "What kind of man would I be", "We can last forever’” the Chicago hits that I sang."
Scheff lives with his family in Utah, and he has been putting together an online training program for vocalists. He held a webcast last Monday introducing the program from Rock Canyon Studios in Provo.
"’80s Radio Ready Vocals: Here is the moment of truth, what this has all come to,” he said.
Scheff said he wants to restore something music has been missing.
"I'm basically going to show people how to get world-class vocals, because I think it's a, I know it's a lost art,” he said.
He said his program is meant to show would-be world-class singers how that sound that was so celebrated was achieved.
He explained: "Like I said earlier, it made me go from a guy who was thinking, 'OK, I like to sing, and I’ve heard my voice sound decent on recordings' to, 'You are a world-class singer.' And it's really a sound."
Chicago has changed the way they record their music, using portable gear and cutting tracks while on the road instead of recording everything in a studio.
They call their portable gear "the rig”, and it was pioneered by trumpet player Lee Lougnane.
"And we cut a lot of stuff,” Scheff said of their process. “They cut all the horns out there in hotel rooms and ballrooms of hotels, and some of it was done on the back of the bus. We did the vocals in my hotel room on this little universal audio piece that I have, so I had my own little thing to add to Lee's rig, yeah."
Scheff is excited about the music, and about this training program. And now with 80s Radio Ready Vocals, he looks forward to leaving bridges along the way for others behind him on the path.
"I'd love to be the guy that shows them that they can do something that they didn't think they could do,” he said.
Scheff said he learned all of this from recording industry producers David Foster, Keith Olsen and Phil Ramone. He said this new training program is meant for those who want to produce world-class vocals, or anyone else who just wants to know how it's done. For more information, visit his website.