Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
While living in Spain, I was asked by a drummer to work on an original song that was inspired by a Kendrick Lamar live performance. The reference performance was a Mash-up of multiple songs from both Good Kid Mad City, and To Pimp A Butterfly with a live band and some added spoken word and crazy hits. I helped with the production, and flow of the song, and was also asked to be the Emcee.
I was tasked with creating some sort of steady and coherent flow as a through line for a project that was literally created to imitate fragmented snap shot ideas. The end result was a song called "Kika. Life in 15 Minutes." A song that takes situations parallel to my life leading up to my arrival in Valencia, Spain and places them in an order that creates character development, and drama that is mirrored by the many musical changes. I sang catchy hooks, spit conscious bars, portrayed a narrator as well as the protagonists inner machinations and together we were able to tell a story of life...in 5 minutes and fifteen seconds.
Throughout the process, all of my belongings were stolen from me, including the notebook that I had written the song in. ( I had worked on it for 2 months, trying to make it just right, as the musicians added to the soundscape of the recording). Afterwards, I had 3 days to re-write the story, but I also had a completed instrumental with the drummer, keyboardist, and bass player now having been added to the mix. I re-wrote the song, and it now sits on the album Party In Frank's Head which was nominated for an album of the year award in Spain.
What are you working on at the moment?
Getting an EP off of my desk, so that I can get to work on new music with musicians I've recently met from around the world.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Judy Shin- Pianist.
Incredible work ethic. Fast turnaround. Piano skills off the chart!
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
That we'll make something special together.
What do you like most about your job?
The ability to create, and provide for my mom and those around me who need.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Q.Do you have time to do ___for me?
A. Sure man, when do you need it?
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Usually people meet me for one thing, and have no clue about the other, because I always go all out on whatever's appropriate at the moment lol
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What are you looking for from me?
Are there any specific details that you want me to cater to?
How soon do you need this done?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Talk to me. Let's discuss what the project is, and I'll give you an honest opinion on what I can offer, and if I'm the best provider for your situation. :)
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Laptop, Plug-n-play interface, Condenser mic, M-audio Keystudio (controller), Notebook.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Began performing and recording at the Age of 14. Have been doing this for the last 12 years. Started on an underground record label, rose to be the vice president of that label and recently left to pursue other business interests.
During those 12 years I got my bachelor's of music in Voice/cello performance, and then gained my Master's of Contemporary Performance degree from Berklee College of Music in Valencia Spain.
How would you describe your style?
Artistry- Fred Hammond, meets Tech N9ne, with a healthy dose of Kendrick Lamar's exploration.
Voice- Musiq Soulchild meets Usher with Luther Vandross flexibility.
Rap- Tech N9ne (creative flow) meets Chamillionaire (sing-songy style) meets Ludacris's shock value.
Can you share one music production tip?
Overdub vocals. Double them...triple them...and pan them. This allows for a full sound with or without harmonies. Always look for a chance to explore the spectrum of space within recorded sound. It makes a huge difference.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I tend to get request for recording straight soul music from clients in Spain (Earth Wind and Fire, James Brown sounding stuff), and in America I've gotten calls for things ranging from Chris Brown-esq to recording Journey songs.
What's your strongest skill?
My versatile voice.
My vocal range is wide and I have a gift for aesthetic choices. I pride myself on my ability to deliver lyrics in a personal manner that hits home with the listener.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Hip-Hop, R&B, and Soul. In any of these genres I tend to be in the more fusion element. R&B infused with Jazz so closer to Neo-Soul, and the Hip-Hop ranges from Southern to Midwestern chopper styles.
What do you bring to a song?
Balance. I pride myself on being a performer who offers a Impressive, Interactive, and intimate experience. So if the track is lacking a high note (I have a range similar to what would be heard on an Earth Wind and Fire record) then I'll bring that. If a song requires a catchy hook, or melody, that's what I do. My specialties are in the styles of Soul, hip-hop, and R&B so I'm all about diverse energies.
What's your typical work process?
For a vocal overdub with no timetable, I have a turnaround time of up to a week, but I'll get it done as soon as possible, and won't take the job if I would miss a deadline for a client.
(Cello overdubs follow the same principle, and the timeline of a week is more likely if there is lyric writing as well.)
Rap overdubs tend to be completed faster, but I reserve the same timeframe due to the lyric writing process.
I tend to write/produce all of my own music, so I'm usually working on something else when I get a client, but prioritize the client's recording needs.
Tell us about your studio setup.
At the moment, very simple.
I have a Rode NT1A condenser Microphone that I tend to use for vocals, as well as an MXL (condenser), and a Shure 58 (Dynamic). I tend to use the 58 to record Kahon, or sometimes cello when I record myself playing that.
I'm currently running Pro-Tools 12.(whatever's current lol) and I commonly use Reason 8 for production although there are times when I'll do completely a cappella tracks through pro-tools using vocal overdubs.
I use an M-audio Quad as my interface with either my Macbook (for travel) or my custom built PC.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Currently I'm very into the sound being produced by Anderson .Paak, but timelessly I've been impressed by the production work of artists such as R.Kelly, and Pharrell. These are two artists who create a cacophony of amazing sounds and you may never even know they touched a record. They model the prowess of artists like Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, and Prince but still find a way to differentiate themselves from those influences.
I'm also a huge fan of Musiq Soulchild. The way he delivers a lyric with a down to earth heart warming feel is mad impressive to me. Never too much, but always full of soulful delivery.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Vocal overdub work. My clients tend to be people who appreciate my personal recordings in the hip-hop/R&B/Soul genres. As a classically trained singer, I'm known for my expressive choices, and as a recording artist for my choices in harmonies and overdubs.