Funk/RnB/Pop Producer and Vocalist, Multi Instrumentalist, and Songwriter. Music producer and arranger for three time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle's stage production "Danzzze Dreams". Wrote for Grammy Nominated RnB Singer Karina Pasian.
As a talented vocalist and instrumentalist, producer Sho Ishikura brings a uniquely empathetic and hands-on approach to every project.
Patient and approachable, with a talent for working with both new and established musicians, Sho has earned a reputation as a producer who really takes the time to figure out what makes an artist tick. His first step in every engagement is to relate to clients on a personal level: to hear their ideas, learn about their influences and determine what they're ultimately trying to convey in their music. It's a careful approach that sets him apart in an industry frequently preoccupied with churning out a predictable sound, rather than a unique artistic vision.
Sho takes particular pride in his skill in the funk, soul and R&B genres where he has a natural talent for creating a sound that's both organic and utterly authentic. "Clients come to me for feel, for my approach to tracking instruments, arranging background vocals and planning sound design. It's not something that can be done with sampling or editing, and I spend a lot of time figuring out the proper feel from an instrumental standpoint." Sho's skill as a vocalist, a rare talent among producers, also makes him a highly sought-after resource for those wishing to flesh out their vocal sound or background arrangements.
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Interview with Shochan Music
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Production, music writing, and arrangements. I do a lot of work in the texturally organic realm as well as the indie-electronic realm.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: D'angelo, DeBarge, Elliott Smith, Marvin Gaye, Frank Ocean, BJ The Chicago Kid, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I primarily work in a small space with a MB pro, small interface and preamp, working in the box with soft synths and Logic Pro X. I also have an Electric and Acoustic Guitar and Bass, Midi Keyboards, Minitaur, Shure SM7B. I have flexible access to live recording rooms and vintage synths, console gear, and amplifiers.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I will complete a demo with a 3-day turnaround that consists of a verse and chorus. If my client likes the direction I'm headed in, I will complete the project in another 3 days. At that point, I will do one free revision, with extra revisions at 50$ each.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I have a unique feel for instruments and groove. As a vocalist, I approach production differently than most producers do, having a more keen sense for how my arrangements are interacting with the top line. I also usually contribute to my projects with stylized background vocal arrangements, which clients have given me great feedback on. I have a great ear for sound design in the Funk Pop and RnB realms, particularly with a modern indie flare.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Anything in the Funk Soul RnB Pop spectrum.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Minimize your gear and samples, learn how to use what you are working with. Use your limitations creatively to your own advantage.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Fonky, Indie, Soulful, Hybrid
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been a full time music professional for a few years. I write/produce, but I also work as a singer and a keyboard player.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Macbook, Audio Interface, Microphone, Midi Keyboard, and all necessary cables.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Do your due diligence and talk to at least a few producers. Find someone who has time to listen to you and understand what you want. When I was in the artist game I made the mistake of hiring producers who had credits and expertise who essentially put me through their factory line... the end product was not what I was looking for. Find someone who loves and is a specialist in the genre you want.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are your references for what you imagine? What are your favorite drum sounds, your favorite vocalists, etc. The more references I get, the better I can do for you.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: A lot of people who see me perform think I'm just a singer. Most people don't understand how much more I'm doing on the day to day.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love getting into people's heads, and figuring out what makes them tick. When I'm producing a track, I'm acting, thinking about what the other person is envisioning. I think I naturally fill in the blanks with my personal sense of style and my clients have responded really well to that.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Depends on the project. Digital is much more practical and is reaching a point where most people can't tell the difference between the two. But sometimes analog has that amazing special sound you are looking for.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I have a few clients I'm working on EP's for, and I'm currently working on my own project (name not to be disclosed yet)
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: TME MCHNE, with R&B Singer Songwriter DAJ and Producer Akira Shelton. I was a Singer and Writer for the project. We had an excellent EP that came out a few years ago, and although the group was short lived, the project still holds up. Check it out on Soundcloud!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Quick turnaround, very easy to communicate with, punctual and reliable
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: BJ the Chicago Kid. I'm a huge fan of his vocals. I think he shines on his more soulful organic cuts and I think I could make something special with him. Also, T-Pain. I think his rhythmic sensibilities/instincts as a top line writer and an arranger are incredible.