What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started as a dance remix producer in the early 00s, remixing commercial records in NYC for club play by Junior Vasquez. This led to several commissions that culminated in contributions to 2 singles that peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Play chart. In 2005, I moved to London, England to take a sabbatical.
I returned to music full-time in 2011, working as a songwriter / producer with unsigned artists in London. I moved to Los Angeles in 2013 where I continue writing and producing pop music.
How would you describe your style?
I'm a collaborative, non-confrontational type of person. I try to keep the vibe in the right place for everyone to stay creative. If something isn't working and causing friction, I am in the camp of 'let's take a break' instead of 'let's fight it out'.
I am analytical and usually give reasons with opinions on why something does or does not work. Some people work well in that kind of rational environment whereas others may find it difficult.
Analog or digital and why?
It doesn't matter as long as your choices help you achieve artistically what you set out to do in a way that the audience can appreciate it.
Can you share one music production tip?
Trust your 'first listen' instincts. It doesn't matter if those song quirks disappear on the second time around listening to the track. Your audience is only going to give it one listen to pass judgement.
What's your strongest skill?
Lyrics. It also happens to take the most effort on my part to get it to where I am satisfied.
I once spent 4 hours before a recording session to fix a single line of a song because it didn't have the right feel. It was the end of the pre-chorus and that's the last place in a song you want audience to 'break out of the mood' because of a song quirk.
What do you bring to a song?
I am very concept driven. I like to make sure the song's elements (verses, pre, chorus, bridge) all work together to convey a message in a way that has a flow and isn't repetitive (unless it's the hook). I search for creative lyrics that add character to a song and can convey ideas or emotions in a way that sounds fresh.
What's your typical work process?
The first step is to understand from the client what direction they are looking to take with their music. It could start with specific examples from a genre or figuring out the type of instrumentals best suited for what the client wants to sing about. From there, we can either put together some fresh music or alter/repurpose 'stock' instrumentals from which we can compose topline melody and then lyrics.
There are other directions that songs can come about. Sometimes we start with lyrics so we may figure out what instrumentals we need for the song and then find the right melody to fit the two together.
I work iteratively so (as an example) we may get down the road of having an instrumental and topline melody but we can't get the right lyrics together. I would then backtrack and work up the right instrumental or melodic changes to move the song forward.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have a writing studio in West Hollywood for writing, recording, and mixing. For larger projects, I will rent out a commercial studio such as Paramount Recording Studios.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Greg Kurstin, Sia. Those are some of the more well known inspirations that I have but there are so many other people doing really great work as well.
On the technical side, mixing by Manny Marroquin or Serban Ghenea.