4 answers

How do I become a good music producer ?

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I am in 11th grade and taking IT at my vocational school. I am interested in working with technology and music. #technology #music #music-production #producer #rap

4 answers

Jaleel’s Answer

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Hey, Omar! This is a great question. If I remember, correctly, we may have discussed a topic similar to this while I attended your school last week.

Before I begin, I want to tell you a little about myself and why I have an expertise in this field. I have written and recorded a full album of hip-hop songs, directed, written, and produced music videos, produced instrumentals, etc. I have experienced the music industry business, managed artists, and created my own independent record label that still runs today. I have played the role of artist, music producer, executive producer, director, creative director, ghost writer, manager, and the list goes on.

Now, to answer your question, excelling in the music industry as a record producer comes with a balance of mastering technology; immersion into the past, present, and future culture of music; and learning to leverage your talents in a team setting.

Let's start with the technology piece: The music industry is fully invested in the power of technology. Learning how to use the technology to refine your style of music is important. Originality is key, and it can come from the MIDI keyboard, the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation. Some examples: Logic, FruityLoops, Ableton, etc), the sound packs you invest in, the type of microphone you use, the console the studio has for mixing, etc. So learn about the technology. Find a way to get into a recording studio, and learn how to use the technology. I'd recommend finding a local recording studio and offering to intern. Russell Simmons' book "Do You! The 12 Laws to Access the Power in you to Achieve Happiness and Success is great, and, at one point, he talks about showing up to a studio and offering to run coffee, sweep the floor, run the mail, whatever. Just get into the studio and watch, learn, and grow.

The second piece is the music: listen to it. Draw inspiration from the greatest and the not so well known. Kanye's entire success comes from his ability to sample classic soul records. He brought gospel music and soul hits into hiphop. Allow music to inspire you and inform your sound. Know the history of the music industry. Find a producer in the music industry and idolize them. How did Dr. Dre become Dr. Dre? How did Pharrell become Pharrell? Listen to everything: rock, country, hiphop, underground anything and everything, mainstream and otherwise. It's all important. Jay Z says music is beautiful because it connects cultures. It crosses cultural divides and allows us to share our stories. Your success as a record producer will come tomorrow, so don't focus on trying to be today's sound. Today's sound will be gone tomorrow, so be tomorrow's sound today.

The last piece of this is learning to work with a team: don't try to do everything alone. Network. Find producers to help with the piano chords while you work on the percussion arrangement. Ask your friend in the choir to sing the hook for you. Always collaborate. Even J. Cole, who produces and records his own stuff, always has a team of people in the studio making things happen with him. It's the nature of the game. It's a very collaborative industry. Not to mention, the recording producer is usually the visionary and the director of the project. So, delegating tasks and managing groups of people is something you'll do as you continue to expand and grow your career.

I know the most popular story of a record producer is the self-made one, but there are schools which offer a degree in Music Industry and Music Business. If you think that's something that may interest you, start looking into the college requirements for those schools. Here's an example in California:

https://music.usc.edu/departments/industry/

I hope I've answer your question thoroughly. I am more than happy to give you more information, so feel free to comment on my response if you have any more questions.

Best,

Jaleel

Adam’s Answer

Updated

Hi Omar, great questions. I am a record producer/ film and tv composer in Los Angeles. Like anything in this world, to become good at anything takes, passion and hard work. My question to you is this..why become a good producer when you can become great! Know what I mean? It is a long way from good to great. There are so many people that are really good at music but the ones that succeed are the ones that are great. Asking questions like this is a great place to start. Always keep your mind open and keep learning. I been blessed to work with many great producers such as Don Was, Tony Visconti, JR Rotem, all who do something very different but they each are gifted and strive to be great in there style. You are unique and have your own gifts so embrace who you are and what makes you different. Follow you heart and make the kind of music that you love. If you have to work on music that you don't, try to make it the best that you can. Find producers that are successful or that you admire and seek and internship with them to learn from them. Be kind to everyone and learn studio etiquette. I was signed to Quincy Jones's label Qwest records years ago and I always go back to him as a reference as to what a great producer is. He knows and loves music and people equally. He knows how to get the best from and artist. He is the epitome of a great producer. Don't just be a "beat maker" type of producer. Learn to appreciate many styles of music. Learn at least enough basic knowledge of chords, major and minor ect. And have faith and never give up! Most important. The music business is in bad shape these days. If you can find a way to pay your bills working and honest job while trying to achieve your dreams you have already succeeded in so many ways!

Jonas L.’s Answer

Updated

Buy fruityloops beat making program. Find a few producers to be a mentor. Immersion is always the best method. You have to be willing to work hard and invest in your passion.

Michael’s Answer

Updated

Whats up Omar! I like your questions. After graduating from Berklee (in your hometown of Boston!), I began producing Hip Hop and R&B artists. I loved it and learned a lot in the process. After a few years of that, I got a job at the Hit Factory Criteria in Miami and continued my productions and well as mix engineering career. A short time later I was lucky enough to make a few connections in the TV and Film world where I still do most of my work today. The reason I'm telling you all of this is so you understand that I do have experience in both worlds and can advise you both ways. First off, If you want to produce songs/artists, you should start by just doing that all the time. Constantly write and find others to produce and work with. Work on your craft constantly! You could also find a an entry level job at a major studio to get your foot in the door as I did at The Hit Factory. That's a tough road, but if you stick it out, it'll pay off. Even if you decide to do that, you STILL have to constantly work on your craft of writing/producing. That's the most important thing. In the end the money can be huge, but very hard to come by.

As far as the mix engineering thing goes, I would say read up on anything you can (books, mags, online articles), watch online videos - Into THe Lair on Pensados Place is THE BEST! DAve Pensado is a genius! The website is http://www.pensadosplace.tv/category/into-the-lair/. And most importantly just MIX MIX MIX! Mix your projects, mix your friends projects. Do it all for free to start just so you can learn. When you're mixing your own stuff, put on your producer hat to write and produce the song, then wear a completely different Mix engineer hat to mix. Here are a few great things to read:

Sound On Sound magazine Mix magazine The Mixing Engineers Handbook by Owsinski

If you have any other questions, feel free to hit me up. Hope that helped!

Mike