Mixing Noah and Billy Ray Cyrus for Colbert Live

A lot of the work that I'm doing right now, due to the COVID crisis, is touching up at-home performances to be sent to broadcast. I was approached to mix a song for Noah Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus that was scheduled to air on Stephen Colbert. Due to the quarantine and all of the necessary restrictions and social distancing, this had some logistical challenges that need to be solved but ultimately it was a beautifully executed performance. Links to the full performance at the bottom of this post.

Noah was set up with a keyboard and a vocal mic. There was a camera there to capture her video and they captured the live vocal and keyboard parts. Then I was sent all of the material. The keyboard part was only captured in mono so if I was going to achieve proper separation between her vocal and keys, I had to figure out a way to create a stereo image with the keys. I created a duplicate track and hard panned each to the left and right. Then I chose different EQ's and subsequent EQ settings to try and create a Hi & Lo sound from those channels. Also, my go to remedy is to create an Aux send and return in Protools and run the signal through a Soundtoys Microshift. I also ran it through a Waves H-Verb for some added depth. Then I Ran Noah's Vocal through a UAD Precision De Esser, UAD LA2A, UAD Maag EQ, and finally a UAD Distressor. For Noah's effects I used and UAD EMT 140 Plate Reverb, UAD EMT 250 Reverb, Soundtoys MicroShift, and Soundtoys Echoboy. Then blended those all in. 

Now the tricky part was to get Billy Ray to get blended in. So I sent a stereo mix of Noah over to her dad's camp in Nashville. Then they recorded him playing his guitar and singing along with the mix. Then sent me back the parts to add into the session I had been working on. For his guitar I ran it through a UAD API Vision Channel Strip and then into a UAD LA2A. Then for effects I ran through the same MicroShift and BX20 Reverb. For Billy Ray's vocals, I used the same plug in chain as Noah but since they recorded on such wildly different microphone, I had to equalize as best as I could to get them to match as closely as possible. Then ran them through the same effects. 

Link to the performance here via Rolling Stone.


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