BACKBEAT

Nathaniel Smith 

A music studio is one of the few places where creativity floods the atmosphere as sound reverberates through a sound system, showcasing music in its most authentic form.

From the dim lighting of the room to the bright lights coming off the monitors, the energy you feel is unmatched. It’s the perfect habitat for a producer or engineer to create those timeless tracks that get replayed for decades. It’s places like these where anyone can pursue their musical journey.

Taking on the job as a producer or engineer means putting yourself behind the artist, while creating the fundamentals of a track. Being the background character is something that can be accepted, but can also come with a risk. Getting good at your craft in music production and engineering takes years as you invest in yourself to achieve a goal. This can mean spending thousands of dollars to learn and purchase equipment for

better results. All of this while trying to land placements for records.

Rich Kidd, a Toronto based producer who has worked with artists like Talib Kweli, Redman, and Sonreal, focused on ways he can connect personally with artists. You need to build with other people to get out in the industry. The more people you know, the bigger your team can be. When you interact with others in the music industry, you expose yourself to more opportunity to succeed. A common approach is to try to collaborate with local artists and producers and build from there while learning new ways to create music. A healthy relationship will always start with finding the right person.

“Find an artist who has the look, style, and music to make it, and then you put all your effort into making that person rise. But, they also need to have the drive, determination, and means for it,” said Rich Kidd. “If you’re not the type to go out and be an extrovert you

better have someone who can do it for you.” In this generation, the producer community is huge, but what does it take to become a successful figure in the industry of sound? A lot more than just pressing a few buttons and smashing a couple of piano keys. Every producer and engineer have their unique approach of how they ended up with all the fame and fortune they obtained but they all had to follow basic principles. This list of principles includes mastering your craft, investing in yourself, branding yourself via marketing, networking, and being committed.
True mastery in music creation is something that takes time and should not be rushed. Slow and steady wins the race, even famous movie star, Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” You should approach any task in producing and engineering the same way even if it’s making beats, mixing, or mastering, because all of these art forms have so much different elements that make up the amazing songs we listen to. So, master the art before you get into the other principles.

Mixedbyms, an audio engineer and producer from Toronto said investing money is one of the most important things someone in the musical business can do.

“Invest, you’re going to go into debt regardless since you’re in the music industry,” Mixedbyms said.

Money is always a scary issue for newcomers in the audio world, and it wouldn’t be as scary if equipment and studio time didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

All it takes is a couple smart investments to get the professional sound that you hear coming out of million-dollar studios, and if you don’t go broke, you’re not doing it right. If you don’t spend money then how would you make any money back. “It’s fun investing even if you don’t make it back since you can risk it all,” Mixedbyms said.

This mindset can pull you away from the pack, since every successful producer or engineer at some point in career had to invest in themselves, even if it meant selling their personal belongings.

Finances are always changing in your life,money comes and goes.

Marketing is a principle that can make or break an aspiring producer or engineer. Just because we don’t see many producers or engineers in the spotlight, doesn’t mean they don’t have to constantly market themselves to build their brand.

The music industry is a business at the end of the day. You always should have a vision

“I QUIT MY JOB. I NEVER CHARGED FOR THAT WHOLE FIRST YEAR. I JUST WORKED AND GRINDED, BUILDING, NETWORKING”

of what your business plan is, because going into the music industry with no plan can be one of the worst decisions that you can make. A successful business can bring in more

people who want to work with you and can help establish yourself in the industry.

“Learn how to run business, I know I had droughts and had to research how to do things like make a website, that website alone brings in more clients,” Mixedbyms said.

A business strategy can help you decide if you want to stay independent or sign to a label. If you go into a label, some of your rights, such as maintaining 100 per cent of your publishing rights, might be signed away.

Rich Kidd makes it clear that label deals are not bad as long as you review the paperwork of the deal you’re offered. Although music should always be the main focus, the business side will always be a crucial part.

Lastly, you’re going to need to be committed to the life of a producer or engineer which can be a frustrating decision. This isn’t a job that has breaks.

Many in the business work around the clock. it’s a full-time passion that many aspire to have and you’re going to need to know what you want from it.

“I quit my job. I never charged for that whole first year. I just worked and grinded, building, networking,” said Mixedbyms.

“I missed birthdays, weddings, funerals, just because I had work that needed to be done in the studio,” he said.

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