Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I was introduced to SoundBetter by Mickey Shiloh (topline writer) and Firstborn (Producer). I know both of these people are at the top of their game in terms of writing and production so would certainly recommend them both.
Analog or digital and why?
Digital- if you can imagine it, digitisation means you can make it happen. Digital means that I can live in London and write topline for a producer in LA and get it back to them the same day. Analog sounds better but the benefits of digital outweigh analog.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
It's really helpful if you give as much information about what you're looking for from the song as possible. E.g. if there is a certain artist or song you want the track to sound like or a certain vibe you are looking for then please provide as many reference points as you can. It's always better to write from the outset knowing exactly what the client is hoping the end product will sound like.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My macbook pro, rode mic and tascam interface- the only 3 things you need to write and demo topline! When the macbook battery runs out, i'll have to rethink.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I went to music school and got a diploma in songwriting 9 years ago. I then wrote material for myself and played in bands for three years before deciding I wanted to concentrate on pitching songs to other artists and for licensing/synch opportunities. Whilst attending law school in 2014, I met a songwriter who had a publishing deal with Universal Music and he introduced me to a producer (Coldkeyz) who I began writing with. Through this producer I met several artists and started writing for them in sessions with both Coldkeyz and other London based producers. I then showcased some of my material for A&R at Island records (Universal Music Group) and have been involved in recent writing projects with them. I attended a writing camp in LA last month (May 2016) and made some new connections and am looking forward to doing more work in LA in the near future. This is also where I first heard of SoundBetter and was advised that there were producers who would be looking for topline writers like me so I look forward to getting involved in some new projects here also.
Can you share one music production tip?
Don't be afraid of repetition and keeping songs minimalistic. Don't add more than needs to be there- find the best melody you can and let it do the work!
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work mostly on R&B/Urban and Electronic/Dance influenced pop however I have recently worked on pop/rock and country/pop projects also.
What's your strongest skill?
I am a firm believer that having a strong melody and melodic hook is the most important element of any song and my ability to find and create catchy melodies over an instrumental track is where my strength as a writer lies.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring catchy melodies and strong pop hooks with relatable lyrics so a song is fit for release to a commercial market.
What's your typical work process?
On receiving an instrumental track (or a beat) from a producer, I usually import it into Logic and get in front of the mic and test different melodies to try and find the strongest melodic hook for the song. Quite often I will have thought of a lyrical concept I want to explore before hand and this will influence the style of melodies and phrasing that I employ into the topline. I am used to, and often prefer if an artist or producer has a lyrical concept they want the song to incorporate into the song and then I build the song around this idea. Once I have a strong idea for each section of the song I record, making sure each section fits and makes sense (both melodically and lyrically) and then send a completed idea back to the producer or artist.
Tell us about your studio setup.
When writing topline, I use Logic Pro X with a Rode microphone to record a demonstration of melody and lyrics. However, I also work with producers in their own professional studios with pro-tools software if the job requires.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Sia, Este Dean, Drake, Miguel, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Jhene Aiko and Harmony Samuels (writer/producer) have provided the most recent inspiration for me. However, I am an avid listener of every popular genre and take influence from many writers, producers and artists across a multitude of genres and employ this into all of my writing.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Writing topline for producers or writing acoustically "from scratch" to spec for artists/bands.