Before I submitted my first real blog entry, I just wanted to do a quick post to introduce myself for those that may not be familiar with who I am or what I do. I’m a music producer (platinum now, thanks to the Usher “Papers” record) that goes by the name of Zaytoven.

The name came about through a homie of mine out in the Bay—where I grew up—who said I played the keys like Beethoven. Being that my government name is Xavier and people called me Zay for short, we just meshed that all together and came up with Zaytoven.

It was a perfect fit for me.

Actually, I didn’t even realize the connection at the time, but I was born in Germany like Beethoven (I was a military brat), which was really kinda cool.

I started my music career in church like most artists except I was on the keyboard. My mom was a choir director and my dad was a minister, I learned basically everything about music. When I got to high school I started cutting hair and was producing at the same time and met up with JT The Bigga Figga, who introduced me to the production side of music. To make a long story short, I started putting beats together and began making a little buzz in the Bay but then my family moved south and after a few months of them being in Atlanta, I moved to and basically started my career over.

I enrolled in Barber College to get my license and met Gucci Mane, who, at the time, wasn’t even rapping, he was trying to put his nephew on but as fate would have it, we cliqued and just started going hard in the studio. Gucci used to come to my house at like 7 in the morning and wait on me to get up so we could get in the studio and record. We went harder than anybody we knew at the time and were putting out as much music as we could make, that’s how “Icey” came about.

From there, my career took off and I’ve been blessed to work with a variety of artists from Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy and Plies to Jagged Edge, R. Kelly and Usher. I’m actually in the process of writing a semi-autobiography/do-it-yourself guide called From A to Zay about producing and my experiences in the business. In closing, you can follow me on twitter @zaytown and post questions that I hopefully can turn into posts on this blog or even use in my book. In the meantime, I hope this blog will help not only aspiring producers and artists, but also just anybody in life that can relate to hustling, determination and faith.

Let me know what kind of hustle you’re putting into achieving your dreams and goals.