I am a producer, writer, and multi-instrumentalist with credits ranging from Charlie Puth, to Don Henley, to the D.O.C. and have more than 20 years of experience.
As a writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist I am committed to helping other artists, writers and producers get from the kernel of a song idea to a fully realized record. I am a jazz educated, but street tempered musician specializing in pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and country. Whether you need the most current sound for your next chart topper, or a replay of a classic, I can deliver creativity, versatility, and authenticity.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Aaron Kelley
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I have several collaborations going on right now as well as a couple new ones about to begin. These are mostly pop and hip-hop, as well as one EDM. I am co-writing and co-producing on all of them.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital for efficiency and flexibility in creative processes.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love working on a different piece of music every day. Every piece I work on teaches me something.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Over communicate! The more information you can give me the better I will be able to give you the results you are looking for. Be as descriptive as possible. We all want to sound completely unique, but if you have a point of reference for me it is so helpful!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing one instrument or another since I was 4 years old. My mother was a classically trained soprano as well as a piano teacher so I grew up around music. I started on guitar at age 10 and never looked back. My first gigs were in high school and in my first bands I knew I wanted to write. I then went to study jazz at the University of North Texas with the intent of becoming a session player (my idols were Steve Lukather and Paul Jackson Jr.) and started getting calls from studios in Dallas. It quickly became apparent that I was not just a session player and the clients and engineers started relying on me for arranging and production advice. It was in my mid 20's that I began spending my spare time hanging out in the back of control rooms and learning about engineering. Soon after that I bought my first gear and began recording bands and artists as well as recording my own demos. This is when I became a serious writer of music. I have been a writer/producer ever since and on a daily basis am in my studio writing and producing tracks for artists, production companies, and publishers.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style... I'd say big, but not busy. Current with a nod to the classics. Above all, melodic.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Paul McCartney. The name says it all. Living legend. And of course Max Martin! There's magic in both of them and I want to experience that. I don't like the word genius. It's been used too much. However, there is no denying that that is the only way to descrive those two.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Be subtractive. More does not equal better and just makes the mix that much harder. Some of the best sounding productions follow a simplistic approach. That doesn't mean it's not impressive, just not overdone. Oh, and trust your ears!!!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: It has varied over the years depending on what is current. Most recently it has been pop music with hip-hop and production music (commercials, TV/film) sprinkled in.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strength is my ear. That's where everything starts for me. Whether writing, performing, arranging, producing... it is all about the ear.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a lifetime of listening and loving music across many genres and decades. I am always checking out the latest and greatest hits as well as the obscure and indie to maintain the most current and broad vocabulary possible. I also love to be stylistically authentic. To me that means you don't have a country guy on a rock song, or a rock guy on an R&B song, etc... unless you specifically want that sound!!! My jazz education further allows me to express myself musically with few limitations.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to get as much of a feel from the client as possible about their intent, vision of the finished song, ideal references (if they have any), and always strive to over deliver. I approach producing, and playing with my ears first, not my hands. It is rare that ideas do not come organically and quickly just by listening.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is on my property so I am always able to get out here and work! I primarilly work in Cubase but also in ProTools and have some killer mics (Manley Reference Cardioid, Neumann M149, several small diaphram condensers, dynamic mics) going through my Avalons, or my UA 2-610s into my Antelope Orion. My room was custom built and treated in 2017.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by those who are eternally curious, and always looking for the next sound. Writers, producers, mixers, and performers who are intuitive and authentic. I love working with boundary pushers!
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most often I work with songwriters to take their idea all the way to a radio ready production. I build the track and cover all of the instrumentation as well as arrange and produce the vocals and mix.