Lately in my life I have been reflecting about a bunch of the choices I have been making and trying to see where they will get me in the long run. I love music and I am highly intrigued by the people who make it. In the process of reflecting back on my life, I have also been getting inspired by watching tons of youtube videos of producers who’ve broke into where they want to be. Producers like, 88-keys, J-Dilla, Kanye West, Dj Premier, RZA, Dj Khalil, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Pharrell, Timbaland, Dj Shadow, and many others. I would really like to be a great producer. I feel that in order to be a great producer I would have to find information on people who are already established at being masters of their craft. In the process of doing that I have taken their collective advice, knowledge, and work ethic and combined it into 5 elements I kept seeing in their videos.
Set realistic goals/vision for yourself
This is a step I have noticed that a lot of up and coming producers overlook. I am truly serious about becoming an established producer in the future. I have realized that I can’t make the hottest record over night and that it takes time to develop my ear for good music. Even if I do make a nice pop record and get my 15 mins of fame, what else will I be worth for?
Realistically looking at my life, two years ago I wasn’t on the path to developing my musical skills. I was stuck working a full time job with tons of over time and I never had time or energy to get on my keyboard to make a beat. In my battle for the top of the corporate ladder, my inner conscious kicked in and reminded me of what was realistically going on. The conflict: my investment into my job vs my goal of becoming a producer. The time spent working at my job took away from what I really wanted. I needed to change the direction of where my life was going because my soul was being split apart. I ended up putting in my two weeks and re-enrolling into school full time.
I feel that the more knowledge you know, the more someone else can’t take advantage of you or push you around. The goal of re-enrolling into school was to get my mind out of survival mode (working to get money and hoping for the best) and into a more inquisitive mode (questioning everything). Out of doing that I expect to build a good foundation for the things I do in the future and have a lasting impact in the field I passionately care about.
My goal is to become an established producer. What I mean by “established” is that as time progresses I hope to learn new things in music and keep updating my formulas for making good music. A good example is the transformation of Timbaland. He has stood the test of time and kept updating his formulas to stay current.
Develop the skills you’ll need to reach your dream/goal
Pete Rock and Dj Shadow have dedicated their whole lives to find good music in rugged basements, record shops, garage sales, etc. all for the love of what they do. They didn’t realize that their habit of finding good music would eventually lead them into reviving classic sounds for people to nod their heads to.
Other producers work on learning the basics of sound, rhythm, melody, and notes so that they can put what they hear in their head into a song.
I am working on developing my skills with learning how to play the piano and learning how to recognize different pitches. I would also like to have a better understanding of how chords and keys work so that I will be able to recognize why I like certain samples or songs and why I don’t like others. Another skill I need to develop is how to better chop up samples from a record and re-create something better. I feel that if I build up these basic skills, they will help set a good foundation for the future things I will learn in music.
Emulate a style of music you like.
Very few producers mentioned this in their interviews, because they might have established the habit of naturally doing it all the time. I think this is an important step into learning about new things on production and art.
I feel a deep need to break down my favorite songs and figure out how the producer put the track together. Every time I reflect back on my favorite songs, there has always been some type of element that drew me to liking the song. Once I break apart the song I have a greater appreciation and understanding of the song and the producers style.
The next step is going into the studio and trying to re-create the elements that captured me. After doing that, it gives me a greater perspective in the music I like to make.
Explore new genres of music.
I feel this is what will separate the average producer from great producers. I used to be one of those people who would mention “I like all types of music…except for country.” I think I said it because of peer pressure and the fact that I was too scared to explore other genres of music.
Music is one of the most universal unspoken languages around the world. A song made by someone in the United States can have a great impact in someone else’s life in another part of the world. Good music is in every corner and ghetto in the world. My goal of exploring and listening to new genres of music will open my mind to new sound experiences and it will help me with songs I produce in the future.
This last and crucial human behavior is what will make someone stand out amongst all the madness. The industry is full of people who are out to make a quick buck off of someone else’s hard work. Some people will say anything in order to fulfill their paper chase.
My feelings are that being honest to myself and to everyone around me will create a good environment for the people I do business with. I feel that honesty will attract other hard working people who have similar goals and integrity about their work. Thus creating a strong bond with talented individuals for future projects. Honesty can go a long way in any area and will make someone stand out above and beyond many individuals in the same field.
I am an up and coming producer and I feel that by sharing my insights and goals it will be able to inspire other people to follow their passion and dreams. If we dream big and keep in check with where our life is going, we can create our future successes.
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