So you think you have it all? You can write, create, and perform your own songs, but the real question remains - do you produce your material independently as well? If you're an independent artist, that answer is most likely "yes". The trend to solo-produce isn't an uncommon one - artists including Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye have all made bold statements for themselves by self-composing and self-producing their music.Now consider taking it to the next level by forming a true partnership with a producer who can envision how your talents fit into the big picture. That's the producer's job. As the artist, it's your duty to focus on the details. Hone in on your writing, your voice, and your performance, and let your producer see how that will all fit into the grand scheme of things.
This month we weigh the benefits of producing yourself independently compared to working with a producer. Michael Blanton, President of artist development group BE Music and Entertainment, shares his valuable wisdom for the month:
1. Even if you produce yourself, eventually you're going to need someone else who truly understands your vision, someone who can provide enough creative insight to make your ideas bigger, better, and brighter.
2. Find a producer who listens to you as an artist and who can blend with you creatively, not dominate or overtake your creativity.
Part of being an independent artist means you're always discovering yourself; that's why so many independent artists choose to produce themselves on their own, too. It's a sensible career move - you should always value your own insight. However, whether or not you already find success as an artist, finding someone else to be an additional creative voice for you helps bring it all together.
"We all need collaborative help - no matter how good we are," Michael advises. The right producer understands your vision as an artist, adds something fresh to your musical style, and provides different perspectives you might otherwise overlook. Are you an amazing flute player? That's great, but maybe you should incorporate the piccolo into your music, too. Now that's a somewhat mindless example, but that's the kind of advice you want to seek from your producer - guidance on what works and what doesn't work in your music. It's all about finding the perfect blend between both of your perspectives. Working with a producer is not about succumbing to their authority - it's more about receiving counsel from them and bringing your own ideas to the table to create "a blending of visions," as Michael describes at best.
If you think you have to find the most "popular" producer to be successful, think again. In seeking the right producer, you're not required to base your decision on whether or not they have the most A-list resume. A producer can still be worthy of your time even if they don't have a mind-blowing roster of names behind their work. Base your decision on the producer's style and how they can work best with YOU.
If you currently produce yourself independently, you're already well on your way to becoming the best artist you can be. But we challenge you - embark on a quest to form a true partnership with a producer you can share and trust your ideas with. Find someone who can be a creative partner with you. It may require some time and a lot of patience, but when you do find the right producer, your music will thrive because of it. Good luck!
Jill Kreinbrink has worked in the music industry for three years in Nashville, Indianapolis, London and currently Los Angeles...