If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My 5 pieces of desert island gear would be 1) Protools 2)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started out playing in cover bands, then original bands, then I started going out on tour as a sideman. Next I started doing session work for labels and that lead to arranging and production gigs. Now I primarily produce.
How would you describe your style?
My style is a mixture of funk, soul, R&B, and pop. I like to get signature sounds and hooks that the listener can latch onto and start singing along before the first listen is done.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would have loved to have worked with Prince. There would be so much to learn from just watching him. I would have liked to work under Quincy Jones and Charles Stepney (EW&F). I would love to experience their genius firsthand.
Can you share one music production tip?
Never make a creative decision based on anything but the sound and quality of the final recording. Don't worry about time, money, or personal feelings. Just make it sound the best that you can. If the song could sound better then you are not finished!
What type of music do you usually work on?
Pop, Soul, R&B. Lately I have been doing a lot of jazz. Occasionally I do some rock sessions.
What's your strongest skill?
Arranging and creating parts, getting a great performance from the artist, arranging background vox dealing directly with the artist in a creative environment.
What do you bring to a song?
I have a strong sense of melody and love creating hooks (melody, rhythm, or sonic). I also like to get a three dimensional sounding recording that sounds big and wide. However, some recordings need to sound more intimate and up close. The song determines what I need to do. The song always comes first!
What's your typical work process?
I meet with the client first to determine exactly what needs to be accomplished, then I create a recording schedule. Next, I put together the music track for the song and I start arranging and recording the music and backing vox. I lead vox is the last thing that I record. After this I start sweetening the track and getting it ready for the final mix. I actually have been mixing throughout the entire recording process. The final stage completing the mix and getting the client's final approval.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I am using Protools in my 2 studios. I mix in the box but have a nice collection of keyboards and synths.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I really like Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for the sounds that they get on there recordings. I also love Gamble & Huff and the Philly sound that they created. Quincy Jones is at the top of the heap for me. All of these producers have influenced me in one way or another. Some artists that have influenced me are Prince, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lenny Kravitz, Sly Stone, Ray Parker Jr., George Duke, and Hall & Oates. I have also had the privilege of working with some great engineers who have influenced my approach to recording in the studio. Andre Debourg (Herby Azor, Salt n Pepa, Kid n Play) Don Casale, (Iron Butterfly, Dionne Warwick, The Rascals). By watching them I have learned how to put the artist at ease and still get what I want from them. I learned how to make the technology disappear so that the creative juices can flow freely.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I am usually called to create and produce songs from start to finish. Very often the artist brings me a lyric and I take it from there. I will create a chord progression that compliments the vox then I start building the arrangement. Next I start recording and arranging the vox. The last step is creating a mix that will bring the song to life.