Creativity is a mindset. I pretty much apply it in everything I do. I would say I’ve been creating music in some form or fashion since I was very young. I started off playing classical piano when I was 5 years old, composing little pieces and things of that nature.
I kept playing piano, writing songs and composing and when I went to Berkeley College of Music I switched more into jazz and I was doing jazz composition. A few years later I switched to producing.
In one form or fashion I was always on the piano, on a keyboard, composing music and then it became music production, but essentially the root of what I’ve been doing has always been pretty similar. At this point producing and composing is pretty much one in the same to me.
I guess there are people who are technically composers and technically producers. I’ve seen the way a lot of contemporary producers are, and they are actually composing.
A lot of times it starts with composing a track or a beat so the composing side of it is me behind the keyboard playing melodies, chords progressions, building tracks, drums and bass, and having the artists and/or writers in the room writing a song with that.
Beyond that the producing comes in as far as guiding the artists and the vocalists to get the right kind of vocal performance. Its very combined, very intertwined. As far as the lyric writing process goes, when I’m producing I wouldn’t be sitting by myself with my own track writing lyrics because that’s not my job.
I am in there before any lyrics get written and I am kind of guiding the writers or artists as far as saying on this type of track I see it being about this general subject or this is the angle, so lets write it about that.
It’s the tone of what the song will be about and then there’s the step by step process of working with them, listening to what they wrote whether it’s a verse or a hook and saying maybe we should switch it to these lyrics or I like that verse but that hook doesn’t seem catchy enough, what if we repeated that word or phrase.
I’m definitely hands on in the lyrics writing process but I’m definitely not the only one who would be writing lyrics to a song. For me it’s more of a creative process. After I make a song even if it gets big on the radio, for the most part I don’t really go back and listen to it.
I’m always trying to move forward. In terms of favorite songs I really can’t say I have a favorite. I’m always trying to just better myself as a producer. My first hit single was Rihanna’s “SOS.”
Before that I guess my first major label placement was actually on a Destiny’s Child album and to be honest with you even though that wasn’t even a big hit, the difference between not having any affiliation with anyone even remotely successful to getting that placement on their “Survivor” album, I almost cant re-create that excitement.