Yes, girls produce and play instruments too lol. I remember growing up, there were few publicized female musicians/producers that I could look up to. Since then and over the past 20 years, I focus on 'coloring outside of the music industry lines', not just to compete in this male dominated field, but to bring a unique, fresh vibe to every project.
At age 4, I began training in classical piano. Not only was I able to build up a strong appreciation for the practical and theoretical aspects of music, but also a strong appreciation for form, movements and how to compose music that tells a story. At the same time, my dad was a music director at our church, running multiple choirs, praise teams, concerts - you name it... so guess who was playing? Music was definitely a family affair. Since there was always so much music to learn, not only did I get to put my classical training to work, I was also able to strengthen my ear (I was born with perfect pitch but for anyone who knows gospel music, the complexity of these songs are a PHENOMENAL challenge!). Going from Mozart and Haydn to James Hall, Hezekiah Walker and Richard Smallwood, PLUS bridging in other genres like Neo-Soul, R&B, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Dancehall, Contemporary and Rock music made me creative when composing/arranging for different performances and artists over time.
In high school, our music teacher introduced me to music production, which made me want to pursue music in University. Using DAWs like Logic, Ableton, FL Studios and learning more about how my ideas could come to life really affirmed my love and my passion for my gift.
To date, I've worked with artists like Maurice Moore, Kane Black, City Fidelia, Brave Nu World and I look forward to adding more!
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Interview with Rae Smith
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing and creating for over 20 years, initially just out of passion, but it slowly became a big part of my identity. When in university, I moreso thought I would end up solely teaching music, yet as the worlds of music creation, production and arrangement became more real to me, I expanded this vision to include all facets of music. My long term goal is to be in music production and songwriting full time, working with different artists worldwide on their studio and live music development.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Anderson Paak. I love how diverse he is as an artist. You never really know what to expect, but every song has that 'Paak touch' which keeps you coming back for more. An up and coming female artist would be Gwen Bunn. I absolutely love R&B and Neo-Soul and Gwen has this crazy ability to capture both of those so well.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Create freely. Let the music (not the industry/genre "rules") take you where it wants to go and be okay with not knowing everything off the bat. By giving yourself that space to exist in the music, you allow the music to speak for itself.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I would say my strongest skill is my ear. Having perfect pitch is a cheat code, but also being able to listen and hear what should be/what's missing definitely gives me a fresh edge when I'm creating.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Authenticity. When creating music, people want things to sound similar with a personalized feel. I like to listen for more 'color', giving each song something that will set it apart.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Give me the idea! I like to hear what a client is looking for and any influences that you have for the project. From there, I'll take that and build the concept and atmosphere and we can exchange more ideas as we go.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Jacob Collier, Moonchild, Lalah Hathaway, Erykah Badu, Hiromi Uehara, Bill Evans, Kanye West, Quincy Jones, Kaelin Ellis, Johnta Austin, Darkchild, Robert Glasper, 1500 or Nothin', H.E.R., DJ Camper, Ant Clemons, Missy Elliot, WondaGurl, TrakGirl, Rezz and more...