KARRA on founding and running her own vocal label

Splice is proud to announce KARRA Presents, a unique upcoming vocal label from vocalist, songwriter, and producer KARRA.

KARRA recently released “KARRA for Serum,” a versatile preset pack created in collaboration with Reid Stefan that fuses her own vocals and synthesis. She’s now about to take the next step in her career with the imminent launch of KARRA Presents, her own label that’s dedicated to showcasing the talents of other vocalists. Keep an eye out for the first KARRA Presents sample pack, which will be released on Splice Sounds on January 8th, 2020.

Below, we had the opportunity sit down with KARRA to discuss her experience of founding and running her own vocal label.

Why did you decide to start your own vocal label?

After the unexpected success of my first and second sample packs on Splice, I felt as though the only natural progression for my sample pack career was to start my own label. There are so many incredible artists and vocalists that I work with on a daily basis that deserve to be heard, and to be able to share this platform with them is such an honor. I believe Splice users can benefit so much from having access to different voices, tones, songwriting, and stories that all still have a consistency in quality (through my vocal production).

How did you go about building this label? Did you have any prior experience doing something like this? If not, how did you learn to do it?

After years of working with Reid Stefan on vocal production, mixing, songwriting, and production, I was able to combine my expertise with his to create this label. We’ve never done anything like this before, but we both have extensive experience in the industry; we took what worked for us in various scenarios and implemented those learnings, so that we could create the best work in the least amount of time. We like to spend only two days recording samples with an artist — the rest of the work is up to us! From there, I edit all of the Pro Tools sessions, Reid mixes them, I label all of the samples and bring them into Ableton to even out their start and end times, and we’re done!

The first pack we made had a lot of trial-and-error. For example, our mixdowns were too heavy, and our samples didn’t all start at the same time. These were details that we had to chip away at through communication with Splice’s team, but it was a necessary step in finding the best system that worked for us!

What’s the hardest thing about running a vocal label?

I would say the patience that’s required to complete projects of this nature. Sample packs are extremely detailed projects that tend to be very tedious, especially when it comes to vocals. Hundreds of samples are being tended to, and each one needs to be tuned, edited, mixed, and bounced correctly to enhance the user’s experience. Making sure the vocals are as clean as possible with no headphone bleed, pops, or clicks is also extremely important. Patience is key in creating products that have this many moving parts.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running a vocal label?

I think the most rewarding thing is to be giving back to the music community in such a unique way. I’m able to open doors for both vocalists and producers, by giving vocalists a platform to build a foundation financially, and by providing complete vocal stems to producers so that they can create a finished song for release.

How do you find new artists for your label?

It’s simple; I just hit up my talented friends who are artists, EDM topliners, songwriters, or all of the above to see if they’re interested. So far, it has been easy finding candidates for this project, since I’ve had five years of writing in LA and working with hundreds of talented people!

What draws you to a particular vocalist?

The most important aspects I look out for are tone and a positive attitude. I’m really looking for a unique tone that’s easy to point out in a crowd, and I also want the vocalist I’m working with to be a team player. I need people who are excited to be offering their voice to the masses in such a free-flowing way.

What advice do you have for new artists who are looking to get noticed by someone like you?

My best advice is to take control of your talents and build a name for yourself, no matter how big or small, before reaching out. It’s very obvious when your passion and work ethic shine through, so take the initiative and make something happen!

How do your previous experiences influence how you develop vocalists?

While being the one who was vocal produced by others for many years, I took note of the techniques that helped me progress, and the ones that didn’t. I’ve tweaked the systems so that they’re uniquely my own, and so far I’ve received great responses. I like to take a more relaxed approach by only guiding the vocalist, not overpowering them. It’s my job to get the best out of the vocalist, not to get the best of them. Leaving room for them to experiment and grow on their own is the most important part of development.

What advice would you give someone who’s looking to build their own vocal label?

I would start by simply listening to vocal sample packs of all kinds that are sold across different platforms. Study them and pay attention to the details: How do they sound? How are they edited? How loud are they? What type of lyrics are being sung? From there, I would start recording your own and comparing the quality with your favorite samples. You only learn by doing, so take initiative and just start doing it!

The first KARRA Presents sample pack will be released on January 8th, 2020. In the meantime, get a taste of KARRA’s sonic signature via her preset pack, “KARRA for Serum.”

December 18, 2019