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Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork

I think one of the most overlooked aspects of having a successful career in the music business in any capacity, not just specifically being a producer, is having a strong team involved with what you’re doing. But seeing as how this is a blog for producers, I’ll address this point from that angle.

When I started making beats, years ago, there was a part of me that always wanted to be hands-on with everything. I wanted my artistic creation to be mine and only mine. If a track needed keys, I wanted to be the one that played them. Live drums, I didn’t even know how to play, but I’d be pretty adamant about not letting someone touch the track.

How selfish and immature I was.

The reality is that depending on what we want our end result to be, we need to stop getting caught up so much in the craft and start spending more time thinking about the end product. What’s going to take you as a producer from point A to point B fastest, most efficiently, and with the best results? Point A could just be the melody, and point B could be the finished product (i.e. the mixed and mastered song). Neither of which you need to be the sole creator of. And that’s where the team comes in.

Kevin Garnett was the man on the Timberwolves, but it took getting with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and a great supporting cast to drive him this far into the playoffs. He doesn’t just get the ball, run down the court 1 on 5 and score. They pass it around, run a play, get the best shot for the team. That’s how you need to think of your career as a musician.

You might be great at chopping samples but not so good at playing keys. You may have a great ear for melody but lack the technical skill to sit behind an MPC or computer and put the melody to a beat. You may be great at mixing, but your own tracks could sorta suck. Point is that you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses and then put the right people around you to balance things out. Collectively, the team can achieve the goal of putting out the best product possible.

I notice that sometimes producers are like how I was years ago, sort of finicky about other people touching their tracks, perhaps somewhat defensive that what they might do to it could make it better, thus subversively indicating a weakness in the producer’s original music. That’s not the case at all. It’s just that sometimes a fresh perspective on things can help freshen up an idea. So stop being a bitch, and start reaching out to other producers, seeing how you can make their shit better, and vice versa. It’s easier than sitting around for 10 hours trying to hammer out the simplest bass line all because you can’t play for shit.

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