I offer a flat rate of $100 for all my work. I can provide vocals, lyrics for music, melodies for lyrics, collaboration, piano instrumentation, a full original song, sheet music, etc.
The first professional music writing I did was at the age of 19 in Chicago when I was hired to write music and lyrics for a musical called "Eyes and Ears." After studying singing/songwriting and special education at Columbia College Chicago, I moved to Los Angeles to star in a production of "Spring Awakening" that included the use of American Sign Language. After a year of working on that show, it was moved to New York in 2015 where I made my Broadway debut as a leading man. From that project, I was cast as a lead in a Netflix film called "Speech and Debate" and an ABC mini series called "When We Rise." Becoming an actor was never something I set out to do. Nevertheless, that is what I became. However, my passion and interested in writing music remained. Through my acting success, I've been able to grow as an artist. I've written songs for film and television and am currently in production for a set of 3 albums I've written. At the end of the day, my greatest passion is writing music be it piano instrumental, jazz vocals, lyrics to music, musical theater pieces, pop ballads, etc. I find joy and artistic fulfillment in not only lending music to people or projects that need it, but also in collaborating with someone to get that music just right.
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Interview with Austin P. McKenzie
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm most proud of the albums I've written for myself. The music is healing and feels like I ma showing care towards myself by taking the time to tell my story correctly.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on producing a trilogy set of albums written for and by myself.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to work with you on what you need. If it doesn't work out, we can discuss a refund. If you need me to change something, I will do it without ego. If you need something fast, I promise deliver.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The reason I do this is for the satisfaction of taking the variables of what someone wants and putting it together in a perfect equation. In other words, actually sitting at the piano and writing is my favorite part of the job.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People think that the process of making music is fast. For me, writing the music is quick. But the process of fully producing it can take some time if there is little money involved. There is so much that goes into a making a song. Determination and flexibility is the key skill to seeing it through.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What music do you love or want in this song the most? When do you need the finished product? Are you willing to collaborate?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Thoroughly discuss the terms of the agreement with the musician and make sure you have a clear discuss of what you want and if they can see it through properly.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I would bring an antique grand piano, a tuning kit for said piano, a small recording device, blank sheet music, and a pencil.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I originally went to school to become a special education teacher. But in a turn of events, I became and actor and have used that field to pursue a career in music that I never thought would be possible. I've been writing professionally since I was 19 and have been writing personally at the piano since I was 14. I still have a long way to go, but my goal is become a self sufficient songwriter for other artists.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would describe my writing style as metaphoric yet honest. My melodies and vocals are usually haunting, soulful, and moving.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd like to work with poets and writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne or Joyce Carol Oates because their views on writing lyrics would most likely blow my mind.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Flexibility. Sometimes my writing process doesn't work like it usually does. Sometimes collaborators have other ideas that I never thought of. Sometimes a project isn't going the direction I was hoping for. It's important to take it all in with stride and press forward.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on music of my own which is deep, vibey, jazzy, mysterious, and vulnerable.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill as an artist is being able to put aside my vantage point to provide music that is specialized for the client/project. Technically speaking, my lyrics are my strongest skill.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: The "signature" or advantage I bring to a song is my vulnerable and literature-like lyrics. My melodies and piano tunes are deep yet simple.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When it comes to writing or collaborating with other people, I always begin by discussing what exactly they are looking for or what their musical sound is like. I then immediately jump into writing at my piano both vocals, lyrics, and piano. I usually do the writing on my own and send ideas to the client as I go to ensure that I am on the right path. I have written with clients before and am willing/able to do so.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: At home, I use garage band to record rough demos of songs I've written. I use a professional microphone and a 42 key piano. I then take the demos to my producer and we fully produce/mix/master the song.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am inspired by Sia, Lana Del Rey, Chet Baker, Amy Winehouse, Young the Giant, Hozier, Matt Corby, and Loreen.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most commonly, I write music and lyrics for musicians, vocalists, or film/tv/theater.