Thursday, December 2, 2010

What does a producer really do?

One of the most misused and misunderstood terms in the music business is producer. Most people equate making beats to producing. Now, don't get me wrong, making beats IS a form of producing but it doesn't truly describe the position. A producer is basically a musical or creative CEO. Being a producer doesn't mean that you play all the instruments or write the songs. A producer is like an overseer. His/Her job is to get the best out of whatever artist or project he/she is working on. For instance when a producer is hired to work with an artist he/she has to first find out who the artist is as a person and what their goals are. The producer will also research the artist's previous music to get an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. Once he/she has an idea of who he/she is working with, the next step is pulling together the right team to complete the mission and this team is not always the same. The producer will hire the right musicians, engineer, songwriters & arrangers to help get the best possible end product. The good producer is also a type of psychologist and motivator. You have to possess these skills to know how to get the best out of your clients. Now, in today's business, most producers or beat makers tend to specialize in one genre but a well rounded producer, such as a Quincy Jones or David Foster, is not bound by genre. These guys can take whatever situation and style of music and make it happen. This is what true producing is about. Some producers have a signature sound meaning you can always tell their work when you hear because no matter who the artist is, the producer's signature shines through. This is not always good because the production becomes the star and not the artist. Producers like the two mentioned earlier and guys like Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are known for making great records that sound specifically unique to whatever artist they are working with. The tie that binds all of their work is quality. Then you have a producer like Sean Combs who is not a musician but still an outstanding producer because he understands what the public wants to hear and he allocates authority really well. Quincy Jones once said " A producer is only as good as his rolodex" and I agree. You've got to have access to all the right pieces to pull the best puzzle together. So if you are considering production or if you already consider yourself a producer, I advise you to continue to improve your musical skill and intellect so that you can be as multidimensional as possible. This will only insure that you can always work no matter what the trend is. OK let's go make some more hits!

The Truth
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