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What is a Producer?

...and why do you need one?

Stage-Craft-Mixing-desk1A producer is probably the most important member of your creative team. Why?

Now most of you have some idea of how movies are made...what a director is; and the producer is usually the individual that has some say in creative matters, gets financing and handles business stuff.

But in the music business, the role of a producer is different and has changed over the years. Starting with legendary producers like George Martin and Quincy Jones to today's JayZ, Brian Eno and Rick Rubin, producers are in many ways a part of your musical family; an essential creative partner for your music.

Good producers understand the physics of sound, but also understand the dynamic of performance and songwriting. Mentoring each artist with their experience. From how to better your rehearsals and studio time to developing your unique signature sound. They instill discipline. They understand every instrument and the tools that bring them to life. They know business and planning. Today's producer helps manage the artists development and professionalism and is ready to take on many roles from psychiatrist to engineer.

A good producer helps you understand when you are "ready" to go into the studio both in terms of your own performance as a musician or vocalist and whether your creative direction and songs are "ready". Helping develop a plan and set goals that are just for you.  A producer is how you get there.

Many artists are fully capable with today's technology of "producing" their own music, but in the age of DIY, we can have a false sense of confidence that we can do or learn how to do all the necessary tasks to succeed. Or should it be said - the time.?

A producer allows you to do what you should be doing - focusing on your music and being an artist...not wasting time learning Pro Tools, building websites, or doing artwork.

I was asked once "How do you become a producer" Answer: It comes with education, experience, and relationships developed over time. After learning not just how to play but what to play, performing, understanding the business, arranging, recording, and engineering music, learning vocals, harmony and theory, and writing hundreds of bad songs (and a few great ones). When you have developed an ear and an understanding of music through hard work and at times reworking pieces for many hours in the studio, alone and with others, you will eventually produce music that is licensed, published, placed in radio, TV, and film, and recognized by industry leaders. Along this committed path relationships, contacts, and affiliations are developed.  You then find yourself in a unique position to help others realize success with their music.

For most good producers including myself, we never had a thought of becoming a producer...it just happens. When you can really make a difference for the artist and you love the music, you are a producer.