Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
My girl duo 2Mil and their debut album Millionaires. We released their first album this year (July 2016) and it felt like I gave birth to a baby. I was the executive producer and co-wrote every song. I've worked with a lot of "big name" people in this game but there's nothing like creating your own. It is 11 tracks of very creative songwriting and hard hitting beats that tell honest stories in a time where a huge majority of artists in urban contemporary music only choose to talk about partying, material things, and drinking/drug use. It's definitely not preachy and I'm proud that we made something that was original, current, but has a message. We released it independently on iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify, etc. and I had my hand in every facet of the roll-out including the marketing/promotion. It's available to preview for free on soundcloud.com/2milmusic. Check it out!
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on records for Ty Dolla $ign, Estelle, Ab Liva (Pusha T/G.O.O.D. Music), Nicki Minaj, and Trey Songz. Also, my own acts Julian King and 2Mil under my production company Twenty20 Entertainment.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Kristal "TyteWriter" Oliver (songwriter), Ivan Barias (producer), Benjamin Thomas (producer/engineer), and WhiteNoise (producer)
Analog or digital and why?
Both. Analog for the natural feel but digital for the technology and the ability to do things quicker and in less steps.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I promise to be professional, courteous, upfront, honest, and quick about getting songs back to them.
What do you like most about your job?
The creative process. I LOVE SONGWRITING. I once really wanted to be an artist, and although I would never totally shut that door, I realize that my true love is writing, creating and recording songs. I like to see a great idea come to life.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
I think people tend to send me more rap-centered opportunities not realizing that I can hold a note and actually love doing other types of music too lol.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What type of song are you looking for (genre-wise, topically, and feel: I normally ask for an example of a song), would you like it to be male/female/or gender neutral, who could you see singing it, and are you looking to feature me as an artist or are you looking to place it on someone else.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Please know exactly what you want before contacting me. If you have questions, feel free to ask! I'm very friendly and accommodating. I've had some instances where users have turned a potential 5 minute conversation over the phone into 2 and 3 days of back and forth general questions about the music industry on here. Although, I have a wealth of knowledge and am HAPPY to answer questions, my time is very limited and valuable to me. If you would like consulting prices, please ask and I will be glad to discuss that with you. Also, please have all pertinent information for your finished composition ready: Your full name, the name of your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC), your IPI number (preferred) or SSI number if you don't have one, and your publishing company if you have one set up. Before the completion of the job, a split sheet will be furnished with this information. I do this for two reasons: 1. My publisher requires me to register songs with them manually and I need this information to do this. And 2. if the song ends up being released commercially, all parties are registered, there is no scrambling after the song is out to get this info, and most importantly: EVERYBODY GETS PAID CORRECTLY. My proposed potential split percentages are listed in my profile. If there is co-writing or edits between myself and a client, of course that is negotiable. Other than that, those percentages are NON-NEGOTIABLE. If you would like to buy the publishing rights outright, we can talk about that, but it will be exponentially greater than what I charge to write a song on here. My price is already discounted from what I would charge off this site, so please no haggling. If you're serious, I will deliver an excellent and timely product every time. And if it's not up to your standard, I will work hard to make sure you as my client are happy. Other than that, any questions you have PLEASE don't hesitate to ask! I just like to get the fine print out of the way up front.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A MacBook Pro, my Neumann U87 microphone, my iPhone to record myself on the go, a pen, and a notebook.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been songwriting professionally for 12 years. But I've been writing songs my whole life. I wrote my first rap when I was like 7 or 8, stuck to it....By the time I was in middle school I was battling people in the lunchroom. By the time I was in 11th grade I formed my own rap group and was booking studio time for myself. My manager at the time introduced me to Marc and Sherman Byers from Philadelphia who at the time managed R&B producers Dre and Vidal (Usher, Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, Ciara) and who had previously managed Beanie Sigel and Eve too. It was being at that studio that I began to learn more about songwriting and production, and where I also began to meet a lot of writers, producers, and artists that would come through. I kept at it, also honing my chops at HomeCookin studios at the time (Carvin and Ivan, Musiq Soulchild,Raheem Devaughn) and eventually landed my first major placements on Chrisette Michele and TGT's GRAMMY nominated albums that year. I signed my deal with Kobalt Music Publishing a year later and am still going strong.
How would you describe your style?
Lyrical, edgy, fresh, young, and fun.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Oh gosh...there are so many but if I had to choose one right now in 2016, it would be Anderson.Paak. There are many other more well known and established artists who I would love to work with as well, but his creative approach to songwriting, his soulfulness, and his tone really stand out to me. I think he is going to be around for awhile.
Can you share one music production tip?
Be innovative. The biggest producers got there because they did something no one else did first.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work on a lot of Urban Contemporary music, Rap hooks, Pop songs....but I've also done Gospel and Dance records too.
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill is songwriting...But more specifically: great, creative, descriptive and witty lyricism as well as a dope melody.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring energy. My hip-hop influence always comes out usually so I'm very very detailed when it comes to lyrics until i get the "right" lyric. For me it's not just about saying something: it's how you say it, what is the context of what's being said, and the inflection of my voice. If I feel it can be said "better", I always want to take it a step further. I'm also great with different flows, cadences, and melodies as well. I don't like to settle for anything that feels too generic or that's been done before. I like to put my signature on a song.
What's your typical work process?
Generally when I get a beat to work on, I come up with the melody first. If I haven't been given a title/concept, I normally defer to a list I keep in my phone of creative concepts and titles. Sometimes though, the melody kinda leads me to what to talk about. Once I have all that squared away, I get to work on the lyrics. That's more loose to me. Sometimes I start with the hook and sometimes it's the verses. I generally record as I piece the song together. After getting a rough idea down for the song, I go back and perfect the execution to make sure it comes across correctly.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I record in Protools 12 and use a Neumann U87 microphone.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Well as far as songwriters go: my favorites are The Dream, Ne-Yo, James Fauntleroy (for his vocal arrangements), Bruno Mars & The Smeezingtons, Sia, and if I had to say all-time I would also include Stevie Wonder and Babyface. My favorite producers are D'Mile (who I frequently collaborate with), Brandon "BAM" Hodge (another frequent collaborator), and Kanye West, Timbaland, Danjahandz, and The Neptunes (all-time).
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
My most common work I do for clients is full lyric and melody compositions as well as referencing the song. I generally do a lot of Contemporary R&B songs, Rap hooks, Pop songs here and there and when the opportunity presents itself, and Traditional R&B as well.