Why doesn't my recording sound
like my artistic vision?
The most powerful tool an artist has when communicating their vision of the sound of their project with the recording, mixing and mastering engineer is the A/B comparison. This simple method of playing a high-quality recording that you like, is relevant to your project, works with current playlists and comparing it to the new recording will take you closer to your goals.
In practice play your example track in the control room so you and the engineer can agree on the sound before recording a single note. After recording a sample of your first song, A/B the example track with the new recording and make sure you've got the sound you are looking for. Your example track should be a WAV file and not an mp3. This method also applies to mixing. After the first test mix use the A/B comparison again...the only thing that should be missing from the mix is level.