WORKING WITH THE RIGHT PRODUCER

The music production on your next single or album can make or break your career. You may have amazing songs, great melodies, but you need someone to transform ideas into a masterpiece. Enter the music producer, It’s important not to throw your wallet at the first producer who gives you the eye.

Choosing the right music producer is not easy. Your music needs to represent you as an artist. They need to fit in with your timeline, budget, and especially be compatible with you. Failing to take the time to find the right producer can leave you in a sticky situation with a bad product, money wasted, and a bad taste in your mouth.
A good producer can play many roles for artists, so finding the right producer isn’t always easy, however, since every creative has a different musical style and approach, as well as different resources at their disposal. The route to the right producer will always have many paths.

What does a music producer do?

Music production is a creative process as much as it is a technical one. A music producer will hear what you are trying to achieve and work to produce your music with that in mind. It’s not a transaction, it’s a service, and communication is everything.

What makes a good music producer?

A good producer fully understands your vision as an artist, beyond the music they are helping you with. They need to be patient and empathetic. Don’t focus on the set up that they have. Like a car, its performance depends heavily on who is in the driver’s seat.

As they say, it’s the ear, not the gear!

Know Who You Are as a Musician

Your producer should create a solid foundation for your music, but will also research your past material, take into consideration other artists you are inspired by, and ask questions about your music to gauge the sound you are looking for.

Musicians who don’t know their “sound” often create studio albums that take on their producer’s sound. It’s not your producer’s album. It’s yours!

Be confident in your music and your style. Bring what you have to the table and make sure your music stands strong on its own so that your producer knows exactly what he/she is working with. Ask your potential producer to send you links to various artists they have worked with in the past that are like your sound. Another thing to do is send voice memos or demos of potential songs and pick their brain about ideas and direction.

Know What You Want

Being in the studio gives you the opportunity to create a piece of art that explores the various personalities in your music. As you enter into the recording process, know what you want out of each song and make sure you’re working with someone who can understand that. Sometimes you might not know what you want from a song. That’s ok. But make sure you’re working with someone who can help you figure it out, not someone who does what they want. It’s not their song. It’s yours and ultimately you’re name and reputation is at stake.

Spend as much time as possible listening to other artists’. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Spend as much time as you can learning about the person you could potentially be working with. Look for a producer who has worked with comparable artists. In other words, if you want to make a pop album, don’t spend your time talking to a producer who primarily works with grime artists.

Does The Producer Have A Signature “Sound” That You Want Your Music To Be Infused With?

Some producers have an iconic sound that seems to resonate with all the artists they work with. Whether or not it’s your intention to work with someone based off their sound, it’s important to take note of.

Some Producers Are Very Vocal About Their “Creative Input”

A highly contentious debate is the topic of producers putting their own spin on an artist music. How “hands-on” you allow the producer to be is completely up to you, though some may insist to help further your career. The producer should act as another set of ears and is completely objective since they are new to your music process. This is not a bad thing and can help push your music and career to the next level.

Pick Someone You Get Along With

Incredibly important! Just because someone is good, doesn’t mean they’re the right person to work with. Make sure you’re working with someone who you can get along with. Meet up before you ever decide to work on a album together. Can you talk with each other. Do you speak the same language? Are your personalities compatible? Is there potential to hash out touchy subjects without world war 3 breaking out. Being able to trust who you work with is of utmost important. I can honestly say that working with a producer who I actually liked and felt comfortable around was what ultimately made working fun and stress free. He was my DeeJay.

Other than you, no one gets closer to your music than your producer, so choose wisely. If the producer is the right fit for you. Chemistry is very important when working on a creative project.

In most cases the producer you work with will also be the engineer. Be sure to do a little research on the studio. Check out photos online and reach out to other bands or artists who have worked at the studio. See how their experience was and make your decision from there. Do yourself a favor and listen to the products recorded and produced by your candidates before judging by the gear alone.

Recording Timeline

Be sure to establish a solid time frame for pre-production, production, mixing, and mastering. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, allow me to explain:

Pre-production

This is the stage where your songs are tracked, and critical decisions are made about arrangement and songwriting. Pre-production can take place in the studio with the producer or can be done by you at home if you record your own music.

Production

This is the stage where you develop your idea with extra keyboards, synths, guitars, effects, and more are added to the music based on your creative direction. For some artists, there isn’t too much to be done in this stage as the music is simple and doesn’t require a lot of polish.

Mixing

Mixing is a process of blending individual sounds in a recording to come up with the best version of your song. The mixing process includes: Fine-tuning the sense or sound of each instrument using and EQ.
Your music is now balanced to sound evenly across the board.

Mastering
This is the final stage of production where your song is fixed dynamically to sound great on all music platforms, live, clubs, phones & speakers.

Establishing a recording timeline helps you, as an artist, plan your release and line everything up so it can go smoothly.

Prepare And Prepare Some More

Now that you have selected a music producer to work on your next release, it’s time to get ready for the studio. You are the one to make it happen, so don’t waste anyone’s time and money hacking away in the studio. It’s your money, remember.

Basil Reynolds

Coaching Consultant

Finding the Music Inside