> home page

> more producers/engineers


Oliver Leiber



Producer and songwriter Oliver Leiber's first big success came when he produced Paula Abdul's first album, "Forever Your Girl." Selling between ten and twelve million copies worldwide, Leiber's songwriting prowess, demonstrated by writing the hit singles "Opposites Attract" "It's Just The Way That You Love Me" and "Forever Your Girl"
factored highly into that album's mainstream popular appeal. Leiber's nascent Pop music sensibilities next surfaced in his collaboration with little-known Irish singing group, the Corrs. As with so many of Leiber's projects, their multi-platinum "Talk On Corners" Atlantic Records album started as a song writing collaboration that blossomed into Leiber co-writing five songs and producing seven songs total including a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" that launched the Corrs to worldwide stardom with more than seven million units sold.

Leiber's next move was unexpected as he eschewed the comforts of his Hollywood Hills, California manse and world-class recording studio to go on the road with veteran rocker Rod Stewart. Playing guitar in Stewart's band rekindle Leiber's love of harder Rock/Pop and eventually led to playing on Rod's Warner Brothers opus "When We Were The New Boys." While in England with Rod, Leiber was introduced to a Liverpool trio called BB Mak who later came to L.A. to work on songs for their first album on Hollywood Records. The album, "Sooner Or Later" propelled by the hit single "Back Here" went on to sell over a million copies. Projects along the way include Beth Hart and her critically acclaimed "L.A. Song" and the current hit, "Leave The Light On" as well as Jennifer Paige's single "These Days."

"With Silvertide and now Antigone Rising, I'm making much harder sounding records than I've been known for in the past. Believe it or not this has heightened my awareness of the sounds of the individual components of the recording chain-all starting with the mic," states Leiber. On advice from his engineer, Leiber purchase two Soundelux ELUX 251 microphones just before starting Antigone Rising. Leiber explains: "The very first day in the studio we did a vocal mic shootout with Cassidy, lead
singer from Antigone. We put up an ELUX 251, a very good condition vintage Telefunken ELAM 251, and a Neumann M 49 all using the same Neve 1081 input module. The thing about the Soundelux was that is was just really natural and open. The Tele 251 had this 'spikey' quality that worried me. I didn't know if I'd cut a whole record with it. The Tele might have worked on some songs where Cassidy wasn't belting out and not in her upper register but I was really concerned on the rock songs where she is pushing and I knew the sound would be piercing with the Tele. The Soundelux had all the warmth and openness we wanted but it didn't have that spike and it wasn't dull either. It has plenty of top end.
When recording, I am looking for transparency and naturalness. If I close my eyes I have to feel like that instrument or that singer is in front of me in as pure form as possible and I've discovered the ELUX 251 gives me just that," Leiber says. The ELUX 251 also was used for all of Chynna Phillips' vocals, as well as with her background parts. "Once again, on these demos, it was smooth sailing with this mic. Even stacking up loads of vocal backing tracks, I never had a stridency problem. It always sounded 'right!'" relates Leiber.

Hearing and knowing when it's 'right or wrong' is the experiential side of record producing and Leiber reckons he takes after his famous father, Jerry Leiber, one half the famous songwriting/producing team Leiber/Stoller. Oliver goes on to say: "I guess I'm a lot like my father in that respect since he is not at all technical but just knows when the sound quality of the drums, horns or vocals - all the separate parts that make up a record - sound wrong or right together. My dad knew how those things were just one
part of the total 'vibe' that he worked hard to nurture during a session so musicians and singers could achieve that 'magic take.'"

Leiber continues: "For acoustic guitar, we just set it up in cardioid ten to fourteen inches in front of the soundhole and it was unbelievably woody. You could hear the warmth and feel the flesh on the strings - WOW! Myself, my engineer and my Pro Tools operator all immediately agreed: Now that sounds like a record.


Current Credits:  Recently Leiber just finished a new album by the Blues-rock band Silvertide for Clive Davis' J Records and he's currently at work with an all-girl group from New Jersey called Antigone Rising for Lava Record's Jason Flom. Always keeping busy, Leiber has also been writing new songs with Chynna Phillips in development of the next Wilson/Phillips CD.


Contact:   Alia Fahlborg at Nettwerk 310 855-0668


copyright 2003 studioexpresso