Ok, so you’ve been producing for a while, you have got through trials and tribulations to make it to the point where you can open up your DAW and create fire in no time at all.
The question that faces you now, is how do you transform from a bedroom producer into a professional music producer with a list of credited work.
Over the following 7 steps, we will cover how you can make sure you are ready to make the transition to a professional music producer, and the different ways you can achieve this.
To proceed you will need to be ready to study, invest in yourself and most importantly take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Step 1. Learn Mixing and Engineering
I understand some of you may be thinking ‘why am I going to learn, when I’m already ready to be a pro?’
The reason is because, there is so much competition in the world to become a professional music producer, that you need to make sure you are the very best. Every producer can make a beat, some better than others, but those that stand out are the ones that become successful.
Learning the basic behind engineering and mixing songs not only sets you apart from other producers, but allows you to create a better product. Making music is one thing, but making it sound exactly how you want it to sound is another thing.
Mastering the art of mixing music, widens your knowledge, and the depths of which you can create when confronted with an artist in the studio.
Step 2. Create your own dynamic sound
Legendary professional music producers can be split into two categories. Those who were awesome, and those who were awesome and created their own sound.
Rick Rubin has produced numerous platinum-selling and award winning albums. His excellence came from the ability to figure out how to support artists strengths and downplay their weaknesses.
Timbaland is another legendary music producer, but unlike Rick Rubin he has created his own off-beat sound. This sound cannot be mimicked by anyone because it’s too synonymous with the list of hits he has created over the years.
They are both extremely talented individuals working over various genre’s, but having a dynamic sound or quality will set you apart from other producers.
*If you put yourself in the artist’s shoes, THINK; why would you work with you? What is different between you and the up the road bedroom producer DTrump-Beats? Stand Out
Step 3. Study and Understand What Makes a Song
So your beats are the best things since sliced bread, but are they constructed correct?
Being a professional music producer requires being able to structure a beat in the best possible way. In general, the best possible way is the way that is currently working.
Every week, take out an hour and listen to the top 10 charts for the genre you specify in. Analyse how the songs are structured; is there a common intro, common melody in the chorus or common breakdown?
These are the things you need to study because when an artist chooses you to produce for them, they are trusting you will be able to the job. For yourself, you want the best product to be made which will represent your brand.
Step 4. Set your goals and ambitions
You say you want to be a professional music producer, but what does that mean?
Do you want to make beats for people to buy; as your day job?
Do you want to be in the studio with artists?
Do you want to work for TV & Movie Studios?
Making clear your goals and ambitions will put you on the front foot to beginning your journey. Don’t waste time trying to get Movie placements if you have no interests working within the media industry.
Focus your time to where your talents and heart desire.
Step 5. Attend Concerts
Attending concerts & performances, may seem excessive and a waste of time but how else will you know how people react to different things?
I’m not be in the clubs too much, but whenever I am, I always find myself on the side-line analysing the crowds response to the songs the DJ spins. When they are dancing, what part of the song are they bouncing to? What part of the song is carrying the rhythm of the alcohol fuelled party goers.
These little things will help you to master the craft of producing when in the studio.
Secondly, being at performances is a great opportunity to network with artists. If you are always at performances, you will eventually be able to see who is good and who is not by the response of the crowds. These artists will probably be working on a new project, and this is perfect for you to slide in and get involved in the project.
Step 6. Develop and Retain Relationships
Creating relationships within the music industry is a vital skill that every professional music producer will need to get established.
With the help of the internet you don’t need labels or channels to play your music, but you do need people to engage with you and build with you.
John Donne’s Devotions (1624): “No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.
Whether you have met an artist in person, or through social media, it is imperative to start a relationship with them that is built too last. Having a relationship with an artist you believe in is awesome, because you’re going to work harder for someone you believe in. If you work on projects together, you are building up your list of credits and experience.
You can use these credits to source more work when pitching to more potential clients as an example of how you can interpret an artist’s musical talent and produce music to compliment that.
*Relationships are key to being successful. Establishing trust from an artist, shows the level of your professionalism as trust is hard to earn. This will speak volumes to other artists looking for producers.
Step 7. Get into Record Studios
Getting inside a record studio, is to music producers what getting into a car is for racing drivers. The Studio is the place of work work and work.
Regardless of where your plans lie in terms of being a professional music producer, you will need to be in a music studio to really unleash your talents. If the studio is in your house or external, being in a professional environment will be nothing short of progressive to your career.
If you wish to work with artists, being a fly on the wall for other producers music sessions is progressive. Just being in the studio will expose you to the different operations producers and artists use in order to make music.
First, try calling around to local studios to see if you can get involved in being a producer for free during music sessions. Being professional doesn’t always mean getting paid.
If you work for free in a studio, you will have access to equipment that costs $$$$$ & unbeatable experience with various artists. Most importantly, you should be able to negotiate some free studio time to invite your artists over to work on projects with.
They will pay you for your services.
Overall, you will get experience, money and the opportunity to surround yourself in the environment that creates greatness.
Overall, being a professional music producer requires commitment, discipline, hard work & the willingness to invest in yourself. Take yourself out of the comfort zone you sit in right now, because to stand out and be successful requires doing things you may not be used to doing.
Sitting between your two monitors tapping on your midi controller; mastering your craft, was the easy part.
You will encounter rejection and failure along the way but it’s how you choose to overcome these hurdles and transform your experience into greatness; that will determine how successful you are at becoming a professional music producer.