Singing in the studio is difficult! Most singers experience anxiety when tracking vocals. You can feel like your performance is being examined under a microscope, and the whole situation can feel sterile. Here's three things you can do to improve the chances of getting a great performance.
1. Ditch the headphones.
For some reason, it can be difficult to find the right pitch and delivery when singing with headphones on. It might be the fact that you're used to hearing your voice in the air within a room, or it might be the fact that finding a tonal and volume balance between the voice and the mix is easier in a space.
Try singing while monitoring off the speakers. Make sure to mute or turn down your vocals to eliminate feedback.
2. Use a hand-held dynamic microphone.
As you can see in the photo above, Bono is using an SM58 and not wearing headphones. Dynamic microphones tend to have better off-axis rejection, so there will be less bleed. Give this a try. Holding the mic in your hand puts you at ease, and it's easy to adjust your distance from the mic without having to step away. You also eliminate the pop filter. It's just you and the microphone.
Recommended hand-held vocal mics:
3. Record a guide track with piano or synth.
If you're having a difficult time finding the pitch or hitting the notes, record the melody on a keyboard and use it as a guide to sing along with. It can make a big difference.