So the word on the street is that you want to be a music producer?
Throwing TV’s out a window and screaming like a man who has had the night of his life, It’s the rock star lifestyle. lets call the guy “Jack” for this example.
Jack loves his bourbon and drinks it heavy into the night. He’s known for being the “Ladies Man” in the band, occasionally getting comatose’d on substances that stretch further than what should be spoken about here. Like we said, It’s the rock and roll lifestyle. It’s what everyone thinks happens.
I hate to say it. But it’s not really what happens. Not with the “behind the scenes” people anyway.
Music producers, engineers and songwriters stand up.
You know the guy in the office who is very clean cut in his clothes but has facial shadow and messy hair?, well the musical trio (Engineers, producers and songwriters) is much like that guy, mostly clean with some rock on the side.
So where is everyone going wrong when trying to break into the business and lifestyle?
Luckily for you we have the answers.
Let’s get you going on your journey and give you the five steps to becoming a music producer.
1 – Specialize later on
For now I want you to do everything. Yep, you heard me I want you to engineer, produce, shake hands and even call yourself Ken to get going. As you’re on this site I’m sure you are multi-dimensional. If that’s correct then you’ll have no trouble with branching out into other areas in the music industry and picking up jobs. The music industry is competitive and crowded, the more you are known and the longer your résumé the better you’ll be. That may suck to hear but “An producer wasn’t built in a day”.
2 – Research genres
When you work with artists you get to know their music. But what happens when you don’t know a certain genre, or you are thrown in without a clue on a multiple of genres? Well you don’t get the job.
Research the artist you are working with. Usually artists will supply you with an influence list of theirs. Listen to and discover a link between their music and their influences. It will make or break your relationship.
The wider you know a topic the less in a box you’ll be and no one wants to be in a box now do they? Unless you’re a Mime, then that’s fine. (We love to rhyme!)
3 – Hand some tea out
Here’s a cliché one, but its shown to be a common trend and something many people simply do not expect. Hand out Tea. Yep that thing that us British people love oh so much. we love to make it and we love to drink it.
What am I getting at with this? Simply do the little jobs that feel small at the time, but, they lead to bigger opportunities. Use it as your ladder and use the hell out of that kettle. Trust me, soon, bigger and better things will come you’re way.
4 – Learn how to engineer
Producers always focus on the music. The overall sound. You would do yourself and everyone who works with you a huge favour if you learnt how to engineer a studio. Why?
Well it saves space, only you and the band are needed. Because of this it saves money, as less space and less people are needed. Also it’s just plain fun. You can record whenever you like for a multitude of projects.
Plus it’s always nice to not have to rely on other people. If the engineer you so desperately need for recording fails to show, well you’re stumped. Recording over. If you know how to engineer the studio, however, the show goes on.
5 – Learn to communicate with your artist’s
Warmth. Smooth. Rigid. Bright.
Me and the other members of the team at Music Lifeline hate these terms. We think they belong in the glossary of other portentous music industry terms.
Everyone loves to throw these around and so will the band members. Get on the same page with terms. The last thing you want is to be asked “can i have a warm vocal sound?” and you provide something different to what the band expected.
Learn about the band, what bands they like, who they want to sound like?, do they want a hit? etc. This will help you get clearer in your communication and will get you known as the guy who “Just Gets/Knows” the artist. That’s a representation you can like.
There you have it, 5 ways to help you break into your field. You may not be an expert just yet, but with these tips people will think you are and you’ll be on your way to becoming one. Being a music creator is so rewarding and hearing yours and the artists finished product is amazing. You’ll find out what I mean soon enough.
Did you enjoy the tips? Do you think doing the small jobs is a big part in starting out? Let me know in the comments below.
Guest Post: Andrew Smith is a writer for Music Lifeline where he specializes in engineering, production and wizardry. Him and the team have also put together a recording cheat sheet, to grab it just click here.
First reaction: “Who has been street talking about me?” haha 🙂 This would be awesome for someone that wants to become a Music Producer!!! It is funny too, and I Love a sense of humor!!! Great writing skills Andrew Smith!! I will pour tea, make sandwiches, and even bake a danged pie, to have someone put my lyrics to music, and then sing them 🙂 Freaks me out how many songwriters are out there!! Bums me out a bit that almost every one of them can play instruments as well..haha 🙂 I will just keep writing and posting them until someone sees one they really like, and says “Hey! I want to sing that!! ” 🙂 It will happen, and I am pretty patient! ……( My Ex Hubs aren’t on the street are they?) hahaha Thank You for the good read!!!
Some good tips. A must see for any aspiring music producer would be The Language Of Music on Tom Dowd: http://www.thelanguageofmusic.com/. Tom Dowd produced and engineered timeless records for artists including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Cream, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, Dusty Springfield and countless other celebrated musicians.