Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Does and Don'ts: Finding a Producer

Hi everyone. I wanted to come to you with a quick does and don't for finding a producer. If you are a producer or have any experiences please leave them in the comments.

Do look for a producer whose sound you enjoy.

Don’t approach a producer and beg for some free labor when he/she has no clue who you are.

Do look for someone who takes pride in his/her work.

Don’t work with anyone who doesn’t respect your sound.

Do have an idea of what sound you want before you begin.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

Do try new things.

Don’t sign any contracts you don’t understand.

Do look for someone who is known for telling it like it is.

Don’t work with someone you can’t get along with.

Do check your breath before breathing all on his/her microphone.

Don’t develop a reputation for being difficult.

Do have an understanding of payment before you record anything.

Thanks friends and happy recording,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Interview with Memphis Music Producer Parker Strafer

Tuesday June 26, 2012 12:58 AM
Parker Strafer

What are the responsibilities of a producer?

I Specialize in beat-making & pre-production. I meet with an artist and develop a concept, learn their vocal range, and write lyrics around their concept so they have a plan instead of coming in with a nice beat and good sounding song and hoping it works.

What training did you have to become a producer?

I was in an R&B group for a while after high-school & we started making our own beats because we could not afford to pay the others who were good at making beats. We started working with MAGIX software and grew from there. About eighty percent of my training was self-taught.

What are some of the characteristics an artist should look for in a producer?

You should find a sound you like. You should be able to hear yourself on their tracks or sing their lyrics. If you don’t feel it you won’t deliver the proper performance with it. You also need a producer who is patient. You need someone who will take time to develop a track to your liking. You also need someone who likes your sound. If they don’t believe in your sound it is a waste of time to pursue them. If you have that everything else will fall into place.

What is your particular style?

I can make anything for anybody. I’ve made tracks for every style that is popular. Third place would be R&B tracks. Second place would be the Club tracks. I am my best when I do Hip-Hop.

Do you have any interesting things do you do with an artist to get them ready for recording?

I like to have a good five to ten minute session to joke and talk so we can build up a comfort zone with people.

How do you critique an artist during the recording session?

I have something to go on before we record so I can help keep them in the correct direction. I don’t stop every time they make a mistake.

What are other challenges of being a producer?

As a beat maker broke people have the biggest dreams. They want a great session, extra arrangements, and the special treatment and do not want to pay money. Also, everyone thinks they are amazing songwriters.

What are the rewards of being a producer?

When you hear your song and the person has a talent, the chemistry is right, the song is great. When other people can see that the song is great. You get more confidence, you make better music, you get a high that pours back into your music. The validation that comes from those that owe you nothing and your words are warranted, that is the best thing ever.

What happens after you finish recording the song?

Either I mix or I send it out to get mixed and mastered. I complete additional paperwork.

How do you know when you have a hit record?

I know I have a hit record when people cuss me out, as in “DAMN!!! That's that ish!!!”

How do you get paid?

It depends on who the person is. If the person is in town I get cash. If they are out of town I get Paypal. Few people do not pay up front. I get producer points. I own 50% publishing rights.

How would a new comer go about finding artists to work with?

The easiest way I know of for an up and coming producer to approach artists and offer to work with them 50/50. Choose artists you think are good and you can work together.

Can you relate an interesting story of working with someone?

Pretty much every single time I go to someone's studio or a performance, I get ignored, because producers strive to be in the BG & apparently, I'm so good at it, that I almost miss business opportunities because of it. So, an interesting story would be EVERY time I've met someone, then they find out I'm the guy who made the tracks or wrote the song & their mood changes.

What style of music do you write?

I can do it all. My writing's not limited.

Do you write alone or collaborate with others?


What is your song writing process?

I have a concept in my head and I get to jamming. I start a beat and get the melody going with a few lines. Then I will export a loop of a melody. Then I make a beat around it.

How do you find artists to write for?

Mainly through word of mouth or I shop some music & it goes from there.

Does having an artist in mind before you write a song change your process?

This does not change it. Only if I’m making a song customized for an artist does things change. Other than that, if it feels right I do it.

What are the common topics found in your music?

Love and the situations that love brings about.

How do you get paid as a writer?

If it is a writing session where I write all the lyrics I get all the songwriting credit points.

What challenges do you face as a songwriter?

Having to break to people that  they can’t write songs. Everybody wants a song like someone else’s song. And I ask why? And when you force writer’s block on yourself.  The biggest challenge of all is demanding respect and money. They do not understand it is a skill, a gift from God, and that you should be paid what is due.

How does it feel to hear someone sing your songs?

Validation is great. It reassures you you are not wasting your time.

What do you do when the artist’s interpretation of the song does not match your vision?
You are not getting out the studio without the delivery matching my vision. My name is on it. Not going to crap all over my work. If it doesn’t match, shame on me.

What PRO are you with and why did you choose them over the others?

BMI, I would rather leave my royalties to those who are focused on getting royalties. Most of the people I associate are with BMI.

What is the hardest part of dealing with publishing?

When people ask for a percentage of money you don’t feel they’ve earned. Often you deal with people who don’t know much about publishing. Then you have to explain why you get paid for certain things and then you have to print things out to them.

A lot of the so-called “publishing companies” think money is supposed to show up magically. They don’t want to work for their percentage.

How do you shop your music around?

I used to be dumb enough that making the song and somebody would tell someone and then everyone would love my music. Now I talk to people who have connections in the industry. It can be word of mouth, just as long as it's the right mouth speaking the words.

What is your publishing name?

I use my real name.

Do you keep your lyrics in a special notebook?

No. My lyrics are just as scattered as the thoughts in my mind.

You can contact Parker at  @straferishere. 

 Have a great day,