|2011 ASCAP EXPO|
I just got back from Ascap's 2011 "I Create Music" EXPO. I had the opportunity to be in the presence of 1000's of driven music industry professionals, and make connections with many of them. They had informative panels from major industry leaders like Jermaine Dupri, Pharrell and Fergie and nothing but good came out of the trip. They organized 1-on-1 interviews with panelists, and even a round table luncheon for attendees to get advice from and connect with the conference panelists. One key thing I appreciated was when Jermaine Dupri spoke of the differences between beat makers and music producers. He said that a beat-maker will just make a bunch of instrumentals and send them off so someone else can record to them, and that's the extent of the relationship. This may be causing the disconnect and chemistry that artists and producers one had. Many panelists made several references to the great Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, and how the chemistry from them working one on one and forming a relationship was heard and FELT on their records. I've always felt like I was more than an engineer and more than a beat-maker. I work closely with the artists that I produce, even down to co-writing and making sure their music is an extension of their personalities. Sometimes this involves me pushing them past their limits, and taking them outside of their comfort zone as an artist. Many of us can relate to living bi-curiously through another person; we find fulfillment in reading and hearing about others' lives who are more daring and adventurous than our own. Many times I can read those extremes off of an artist and create a sound for them that satisfies that part of them (even IF they've never made music in that particular direction or genre). I correct notes during the recording process. I assist in vocal backgrounds and harmonies; feeling when an artist has done too much or too little in replicating the emotion that was written in the lyrics. I create a near-perfect balance in letting the producer shine as well as the artist. Most of the artists I work with never work with another engineer; and it's not because I have the best studio in town. I care about bringing the best out of every artist I work with, regardless what level they are at. I'm looking forward to where these ASCAP connections may lead me. I have something to offer this industry. I can fill shoes that most beat-makers can't. No beat-maker is competition to me, but instead, great collaborators once they can respect my position. Sometimes I make the beat, sometimes I write the songs, sometimes I just produce the vocals. Either way, I play a significant part in making a good idea great, and a great idea into a classic. So did I learn much? I'm not sure, but I know I had confirmation. That's enough for me.