20+ year industry veteran working with artists ranging from Justin Timberlake to The Roots.
I began my career at the height of the Neo-Soul movement in the early 2000s and worked alongside some of the most prolific creators in the genre including members of Jazzy Jeff's A Touch of Jazz production team, James Poyser and Questlove. In addition to my time working in Philadelphia, I also spent time in Atlanta at Doppler Studios and worked closely with 'Commissioner' Gordon Williams (Miseducation of Lauryn Hill) before moving to Denver, CO and working with independent artists.
I believe that when you create a piece of music you're sharing your vision with your listener. As a mix engineer, my job is to take the broad strokes you've provided in the recording and add the detail that takes it from a song to a piece of art. I'm always excited to hear the stories behind the music and find ways to bring that emotion and intent to the project sonically.
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Interview with Ray Wilson
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One of the coolest projects was Justin Timberlake's 'Justified' album. I got to spend a week with him during the recording process and can remember vividly being in the room one night while he played the entire project for us before it was even complete, and picking out which songs were going to be singles. Definitely a highlight of my career.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently co-executive producing and developing a new artist, and mixing a project for drummer James 'Biscuit' Rouse (Screaming Headless Torsos, Ms. Lauryn Hill)
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital, but only because it lets me move around while I work. It's not easy to take a 2" tape machine to the living room.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to listen. Communication is key, particularly when working in remote scenarios. It's important that we speak the same language, and that is my responsibility.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the creativity that comes with being a mix engineer. I get to take something that is often very intimate and put a spin on it that will help them appeal to the masses.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: - Who is the inspiration for this song? - What is the tone for the entire project? - What albums are you listening to right now?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I've been privileged to work with one of my favorite artists, The Roots. I've been a fan of theirs since their first album and couldn't believe that I was able to work with them extensively on 'Phrenology'. However, my all-time favorite artist is Stevie Wonder. Although I was asked to record Musiq Soulchild's version of 'Visions' on a Stevie Wonder tribute project, working with him directly would definitely be my 'dream' session.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Kick drums rest in the lower mid frequencies, not the lows. Also, make sure that your 808s are in the right key.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Currently I am working on two projects - a hip hop album that I am co-executive producing and a contemporary R&B project. These are usually the genres that I am approached to work on, but I am always open to others.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a creative approach to a technical job, while respecting the artist's ultimate vision. My goal isn't to make it sound 'better' but to sound the way you want to hear it.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to begin every project with a discussion with the artist to understand what their goal is with the song. Once I receive it, I listen to the session as it was recorded/rough mixed. If its a Logic file, I'll bounce everything, including the effects, to import into ProTools before arranging the session and cleaning up anything that could be improved with edits. From there, I'll find the primary vocals and instruments and begin to mix.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: ProTools 12 w/ Digi 003 for control Logic Pro X Waves, Slate & Plugin Alliance Bundles
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Mix Engineers - Leslie Brathwaite, Jimmy Douglass, Serban Ghenea (I've been fortunate to work alongside Jimmy and Serban on numerous occasions) Producers - Ivan 'Orthodox' Barias, Karriem Riggins, The Smeezingtons/Shampoo, Press N Curl Artists - Stevie Wonder, Prince, The Roots
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: My clients trust me to help bring their vision to completion through precision editing and mixing of their recordings.