Dre Knight is a record producer, pianist, composer, arranger, and musician. Knight is also the owner of Knightlife Productions, which is a production company that houses artists, songwriters, and musicians. Here we create, shape, and develop the careers of upcoming stars. He has worked with Frank Ocean, Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J and more.
Dre Knight was a founding member of The Narcotics, a production team out of New York, NY. He has produced songs for various artists, including Frank Ocean, K. Michelle, Nicki Minaj and LL Cool J. Also producing the remix to Teairra Marí's hit single "Make Her Feel Good" featuring Kanye West & Jay-Z.
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Interview with DRE KNIGHT
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common work I do for my clients is to produce their song. I assist in songwriting and melody construction. I make the music, and I handle the recording, arranging, mixing and supervise the mastering session.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The folks that inspired me the most were Prince, Pharrell, and Stevie Wonder.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Instruments!!! You will see guitars, keyboards, Akai MPC, trumpets, bass guitars, Pro Tools, Logic, and Ableton. I combine musicianship, composition and instrumentation in a digital environment to provide a sound that's big, detailed and expensive sounding :) Oh, and the lighting is AWESOME!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When working with an artist, I take the time to get a feel for them and their story. Then, I give that story a sound. My goal is to make the best possible record ever. The process is organic and free flowing.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I would say I bring life and the emotion to the piece. Musically, I try to paint a vivid picture to support the story of the song.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is knowing how to get out of the way of a great song. Every song has its own life, and being able to identify that It's not about me and that it's about the record is what being a producer is all about. I'm a natural storyteller, so the music tells a story just like the lyric and melody.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Every genre. I'm nongenre specific. I studied at the Navy School of Music years ago so I'm trained in every genre.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Stay in the moment, listen and be unafraid to explore, experiment and have fun. That was more than one, but, hey... :)
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would like to discover the next special artist, as there's such beauty in that. Seeing the invisible so you can accomplish the impossible. I just want to discover incredible talent.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is a fusion of hip-hop, funk, latin, jazz, trap, new wave, and reggae. Never heard of that? Exactly... That's why you have to come see me.. :)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been in my profession for 13-years. I started with my childhood friends forming the production team "The Narcotics". We assisted Sha Stimuli getting his first deal at Virgin Records by producing his demo which got us a song deal. The following year we would produce Teairra Mari's "Make Her Feel Good" remix featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z. That got the ball rolling. Next thing I knew, I'd produced LL Cool J, Morris Day, Frank Ocean, Nicki Minaj, K. Michelle, Drake, and a host of other artists...
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I would hire someone who's as passionate about your songs as you are and someone who is able to give you guidance and who's committed to giving you the best song possible.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1. Who and what do you represent? 2. What are your goals and expectations? 3. What type of budget are you working with to achieve those goals?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception about what I do is - people that make beats are producers. That's not necessarily the case. Some folks make beats and other people produce the songs. I just happen to be one of those guys that does pretty much everything in the studio environment.I am a composer, producer, musician, arranger and editor.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Questions I get asked the most is, "when can we start"? and my answer is always "right away".
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love everything about my craft... Everything! I love collaborating, connecting with other creatives, the sense of accomplishment when the song is done. I love the creative process and the gratification of hearing the playback. Most importantly, the expression on people's faces when the hear it for the first time... PRICELESS!!!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise to my clients is to give them my BEST effort.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog and digital both have their advantages. I fuse the two. I come from an analog background and I love the grit and warmth it brings, but I also have an appreciation what the digital space brings...
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am working on discovering the next big thing.