Tag Archives: Music Producton

Get Outta Da Way!

gearslutz

 

In My Worldview, I Truly Believe That God Downloads SongsRight Into Our Spirits, Complete with Melody, Harmonies, Rhythm, Time Signature and Counterpoint and we have the Privilege of Labeling this Process Songwriting. I’m of the Philosophy that in Every Composition, the Piece Itself Dictates what It Needs. Music & Lyrics Guide Us through their Verses, Chorus and Bridge to its Conclusion. Beats & Notes Fall from the Sky while sitting at My Keyboard, Bass or Drum Kit and Sometimes while racing around 680 South enroute to the bakery, forcing me to hum & grunt into my phone to preserve the concept.

The Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned as a Composer/Producer/Musician is to Shut Up and Get Out of The Way. In Many Ways I’m Only an Observer; in others, a Mere Participant – Never Demanding or Micromanaging the Moment. There’s an Art to Waiting for the Score to Let You In on its Desires and sometimes it could make you wait for months. Patience is a Virtue.

In Every Session I Produce, I Invite Each Musician & Vocalist to Perform their Own Narrative for Takes at a Time, without providing a single instruction. It’s Their Interpretation I’m Most Interested in Capturing. Their Voice, Their Heart, Their Imagination. I’m In the Room Foremost as an Eyewitness and Secondly to Facilitate the Best Possible Outcome of Their Expressions. The Song Always Alerts Us as to What Does & Does Not Work.

The Best Producers, In My Opinion, are those who as Quincy Jones once stated, “Always leave space for God to walk through the room…”      There are far too many tunes (again, in my opinion) that bear the Fingerprint of the Producer, while Ignoring the Original Intent of the Composer and the Purity of the Artist – unless, of course, they are one and the same. Ahmet Ertegun, Stewart Levine, Nile RodgersArif Mardin and the legendary Norman Whitfield all are/were Patriarchs rather than Dictators. This Approach Allowed Them to Auspiciously Produce Artists Across Multiple Genres, without Dogging the Groove. Of course there are many Producers who Thrive on a “Signature Sound” that made their records work Beyond Various Platforms, but when the ‘sound’ faded, so did their opportunities.

Creatively, The Producer’s Ultimate Role is to Allow the Session to Simmer; Creating an Atmosphere of Freedom & Collaborative Communication, where Each Member becomes Adept at Paying Complete Homage to the Every Aspect of the Song.

Get Out of The Way! 

I Was Listening to Jeff Lorber Fusion’s “Water Sign” on Vinyl while Writing this Blog.

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The ONE Thing…

number 1

Much Love and Many Prayers to the Victims and Families who Lost Loved Ones in the Senseless Las Vegas Tragedy. My Heart Goes Out to All.

During September, we discussed Four Avenues EntreMusicians are able to Journey and Advance through simply by Applying Ourselves and Owning the Occasion. Just BE!

My Focus Today is to Zero In on the Truth that the Most Successful EMs, once Defining & Honing their Niche, Strengthen their Artistry by Building a Brand on One Singular Component. Just because we possess the capacity to perform 20 tasks simultaneously does not mean we should. Nor should we attempt to be known for more than One Great Consistency (think Michael Jordan in Pro Baseball), unless our Multifarious Talent IS The Brand (Think Prince).

Develop & Grow Your Specific with Eagle Eye Precision & Dedication as It will be that One Thing that People will Remember You for after you’ve left Our Planet. If for some reason folk should Remember You for Two or More Qualities, it’s most likely because they are corresponding, like “Husband & Father,” “Scientist & Researcher” or…”Multi-Instrumentalist.”

I Constantly Ask Myself if I Am a Composer // Music Producer // Drummer // Booking Agent // Manager // Actor // Event Coordinator // Publisher,  all the while maintaining my identity as Jesus Follower // Lori’s Husband // Father of Three Daughters // Pastor // Bible Teacher.

My Personal Identity aside, I Am Foremost a Music Producer. As an EntreMusician, this is the One Area I Continue to Maturate. Constantly Working with Extremely Talented Songwriters, Arrangers, Vocalists, Musicians, Artists, DJs, Engineers and Technicians Provide Me Exceptional Outlets to Experiment & Improve My Game. Interestingly, I Live & Think as a Music Producer in Every Area of My Life, especially as a Pastor – but that’s another blog…

What About You? What’s the ONE THING You Work At Harder than Any Other and Wouldn’t Mind Being Remembered For?

I was listening to Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour‘s Exceptional “Harlequin” on Vinyl while composing this post.    

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7 Legendary Music Producers Who Continue to Teach Me Everything I Know…

With the untimely passing of Super Producer Kashif Saleem and the sudden sad news of Ultra-Compsoer Rod Temperton‘s death, I’ve been in Reflective Mode, remembering those who’ve most influenced me as a producer and in whose muse I most rely on when I am trying to make the best musical decision on a project.

As I explored my vast vinyl collection (one benefit of age), I began to notice a common theme among my favorites. For One, the Best Producers simply ‘stayed out of the way of the artist’ – even if they were the composer. Secondly, The Best are equally adept in multiple styles of music. I was often surprised to find their MusicPrints on a variety of different genre.

For that reason, I have NOT Included L.A. & Babyface or their predecessors Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis or even Teddy Riley, all of whom I highly respect and admire. But these teams ushered in an era of the Superstar Producer whose stature overshadowed both The Song and The Artist. Additionally, although they worked with Musical Acts outside of their immediate genre, the production itself never ‘dissolved’ into the style they were attempting.

I also stayed away from My  Absolute Heroes, each now deceased George Duke, Maurice White & Prince.  Since Motown is it’s own genre, I left them out (for now, but look out for a future blog). And I Did Not The Master Maestro, Stevie Wonder for Extremely Obvious Reasons!

It is extremely difficult to present a “countdown” as if  One Producer is/was Better than the other, irregardless of the number of Grammys, Albums or Artists they produced. In fact, I’ve gone a little out of my way to honor several producers who are not necessarily ‘household names,’ but set standards of experimentation and truth many modern producers obey like the Ten Commandments.

So, Let’s Get Started:

My Personal Homage to Q is his ability to create an experience inside each song. He doesn’t look for the  easiest way to the bridge and allows a chorus to build until it percolates, all the while leaving room for God to walk in the room (his words).

I tried to utilize this approach on “Meant2B

My Personal Homage to Arif is Chaka‘s “What Cha Gonna Do For Me” album. It’s the Statement of the Century and clearly the reason she rose up the ranks from Funk Queen to True Diva. The Songs, The Musicians, The Arrangements, The Sound he created around her voice is probably the reason I most often seek female vocalists to sing my songs.

Nohoour” is such an example

  • Russ Titleman – Russ’ work is hidden in the liner notes of some of your favorite albums. From the first Graham Central Station disc to James Taylor, Eric Clapton and On & On, this Brother’s Production Chops are among the greatest chart toppers out there. His Productions are Clean, Crisp & Clear.

My Personal Homage to Russ is his total transparency in all of the work I have listened to. The Artist is center stage and Titleman simply gives them wings to fly and gets out of the way.

I learned this lesson on “Source

  • Tommy LiPuma – I was 17 when I opened up the First YellowJackets Album and discovered the Magic of Mr. LiPuma. This Man is the Definition of a Music Producer and Everyone from Barbara Streisand to George Benson has called upon him to make their projects soar.  Tommy’s projects sound like a Groove Machine inside a Butter Factory; Rich & Warm and Simultaneously Slick.

My Personal Homage to Mr. Lipuma is rooted in the Casino Lights Album, arguably one of the best Live Albums I own. The Set features the aforementioned YellowJackets, Al Jarreau, Randy Crawford, David Sanborn and Neil Larsen & Buzzy Feiten. The album did what a great production should and made me a fan of each artist!

I was pretending to be Tommy when I produced Eric Tyus’ “Stop On By

  • Jerry Wexler  – was slightly before my time of actually making music, but I can remember my ears glued to my step father’s stereo when Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding was on. We ate Cornbread & Buttermilk in those days and that’s exactly what Wexler’s mixes sound like. Biscuits & Gravy, Hog Guts pouring right out of the speakers and onto the living room floor and when I got turned on to Led Zeppelin and Cream as a teenager, I KNEW those White Boys ate Cornbread too.

My Personal Homage to Mr. Wexler’s legacy is his commitment to Down Home SOUL, which is not a geographical location, but in the heart of True Musicians & Singers. Jerry Wexler Captured It and Archived It forever.

I attempted to do the same on “Blues Crossing” 

I began this post by noting the passing of Kashif and Rod Temperton. Both of these men’s music enveloped, encouraged and inspired my formative years. I am deeply indebted to Kashif by dissecting his eponymous debut and equally seductive”Send Me Your Love.” And You & I both know that Every Single R&B Slow Jam since 1977 follows the law laid down by Temperton’s “Always & Forever

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Then When?

Many EntreMusicians are Professional Perpetual Procrastinators. You may practice saying that three times fast!

The Creative Inside Explores Each & Every Rabbit Trail of our Projects. Frequently We Stop/Start/Start Again or Run to the Other Extreme and Binge on One ‘Thang’ or One Specific Aspect of A ‘Thang’ until we have Massaged the Life Out of the Doggone Thang! 

Guilty As Charged.

Deadlines Do No Good when Music is Involved. 

I Must Listen to 9,874 out of 11,023 Cowbell Samples I have. And Don’t Get Me Started on Choosing The Right Kick Drum…

I Completely Obsess Over The Mix. I become too Preoccupied with Reverb & Delay Settings and More Often than Not, I find myself stripping the Song Back to the Bare Bones Time & Again, which provided the Original Inspiration and the Compulsive debacle begins again.

You Too, Huh?

It can get to the place where seasons will fly by and You (and I) are so involved in The Work, we ignore our Ultimate Goal of The Result! Obviously, I am not suggesting we corrupt the Spirit of Excellence or Perform beneath Our Peak. I am talking about our tendency to be so Pessimistic & Critical about the minor details that our Art lacks the Joy and Blessing it was intended to become. Berry Gordy used to say that he loved to leave mistakes in Motown Music (a young Michael Jackson shouting “Just look over your shoulders, honey!” on  ‘I’ll Be There‘) or My Friend & Fellow EM, Ohio Player Billy Beck screaming in the middle of “Love Rollercoaster” and leaving it In The Mix. DJ’s would later begin the rumor that a woman was murdered during the session! Talk About Emotion that produces Gold Records!

The point is to make sure we have captured all that needs to be in a compelling, thought provoking and engaging way and move on. Besides, there is ALWAYS the Remix!

But if you don’t Release It, Ship It, Launch It, Market It or Sell It While It’s Hot, Then When Will You?

The Truth is, There will Never Be Enough Money, or The Right Time or Season or Conditions or Circumstances or _________________________________________! Make The Decision. Get It Out The Door and Begin Again!

What I’ve learned to do is place Human Buffers in my life who have the Undisputed Right to begin Interrogation Procedures if they feel my Obsessive Compusive Behavior  (Note I did not say “Disorder!) is getting the best of me! My Co-Pilot Jerry Thompson, Executive Administrator Michaela Write and/or Beautiful Wife Lori can yell STOP at anytime and listen themselves to determine if I am over the edge. And I trust their ears!

I’d Love To Know Your Tips & Tricks to Getting That Thang Done!

I’d  Also Like to Know where you might be struggling!

Hit Me Up!

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