Finding the Right Music Producer

Finding the right producer for my music has been about as hard as finding the right words for my songs.  Frustrated with my lack of budget to record my songs with the high quality they deserve, I’ve even resorted to asking fellow musicians to help me for free.  Because of this, “We’ll work on it next weekend” has become a phrase that I am all too familiar with…  And “next weekend” never seems to arrive.

I learned that if your music is a priority in your life, you need to make it a priority in the lives of the people who are helping you reach your musical goals.  Here are a few tips for getting the right people involved with your music in order to “make it happen.”

Tips for finding the right producer for YOUR music:

Find a producer/team of musicians that understand your vision.

There is no overstating the importance of being on the same page with your music producer, or any musician who is playing on your music for that matter.  You’ll need to be clear about what your musical goals are from the beginning, which also means you should have a pretty good idea of what direction you’re headed before you even pick up the phone to find producers or musicians.  Once you do, sit down with any potential collaborators and talk about your vision to make sure they understand it and are on board with your goals.  If you don’t feel confident after the conversation, you might consider finding someone else.

Have some reference artists to listen to

Letting your producer know what your artistic influences are will help them get a better idea of what you’re going for as an artist.  It’s true that we all want to sound original, unique and revolutionary.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t use some of your favorite artists/albums as a starting point.  Talking about music can be very abstract, and the fastest way to get your producer thinking on the same level as you is by listening to some concrete examples.  The two of you can revolutionize music after you start recording, instead!

Find a producer who “gets” your style

While some artists have made influential recordings by hiring producers who primarily work in a different genre (think metal producer Mutt Lange working on Shania Twain’s albums), your best bet is probably to stick to producers who are very familiar with your genre of music.  Crossover can be cool, but if you hire a hip-hop producer to record your folk record, you may start seriously butting heads with your ideas–and potentially wind up with a product that you’re not happy with.

Always have your producer send you demos of artists they’ve produced

There’s no more telling sign of a producer’s abilities than the work they’ve already done.  Listening to their past productions is the best way to get a taste for their style and skill levels.  Even good music producers may not fit in with your personal vision for your music, so listen to their previous work–do you like how the vocals sound?  Do they record good-sounding drum tracks?  Are the recordings mixed professionally?  If you don’t like it, find someone better suited for your needs.

Finding the perfect music producer is a very subjective task, but the right one can help take your music to the next level.  So use these tips to find yourself a great music producer, and give your songs the professional production they deserve!

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