Are you a singer looking for a music producer to work with? Finding the right music producer can go a long way in determining the quality and potential of your songs and, by extension, the overall growth of your career.
But what do you look for in a music producer and what exactly do they do to begin with?
What is a music producer?
A music or record producer does several things. They can contribute anywhere from the writing and arranging of lyrics, to the recording and mixing and mastering of the finished song, or oversee the entire process. Some even go a step further and offer music advice and mentorship. The famous Rick Rubin, for example, is credited with being just that type of producer. The same has been said about George Martin. As noted in a HowStuffWorks article by Diane Dannenfeldt, Martin was credited with helping the Beatles out of obscurity when he became their producer.
Many producers are musicians themselves who work on their own stuff but also end up producing music for others. Prince was a good example of a musician who produced his own music and also lent his talents to other people’s songs.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on the broader definition of the music producer most people think of when hearing the term. That is, the project manager, who will take your lyrics or demo, help you with matching music to your song, or select the right musicians and engineers to bring your project to life, and may also give you pointers on how to improve your music and even assist with finding publishing deals.
Now that you have a better idea of what the music producer does, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a music producer to work with.
1. Think ahead about what you’re looking for
The music space has been enriched by the talents of some great producers (you can check out some of them on this list of greats compiled by NME Writer, Tim Chester). But the greatest music producers won’t be able to help you achieve your goals if you have no idea what you want to accomplish, to begin with. Before contacting a music producer, you need to at least have an idea of what you want your music to sound like and who your target audience is.
That way, the producer can have a roadmap as to the elements he/she should include while bringing your track to life. This is especially vital when trying to achieve a professional online recording, for example, because it is unlikely that you will be corresponding face to face. An exception is Tunedly, which allows for live video and chat sessions, but even then, you still need to know what your objectives are so you can communicate them effectively to your selected project manager.
2. Figure out the type of producer you want to work with
Some producers specialize in one particular genre of music, while some can straddle works across several. Some like to have a hand in the entire production process, while some producers prefer to tell others in the studio what to do. Some will even give you advice on everything from your lyrics to your personality as a musician, and how to make music that is more marketable.
Also, there are charismatic producers, while there are those who prefer to make their music speak for them; as well as controlling producers, and others who will allow you to take the lead. Bearing in mind the many different types of producers out there, you should spend some time thinking about the kinds you would prefer to work with before you go shopping for one.
3. Know your budget
Depending on where you’re at in your career, you simply won’t be able to afford the big names (Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams, et al) when looking for a music producer to work with, especially if you’re an independent musician. However, you don’t need to work with big names to make good songs; you just need to know your budget and the best you can afford.
Nowadays, you can find really good producers to work with online. Using Tunedly, for instance, not only puts you in touch with musicians who use real instruments and the best online music production software to deliver quality work, it also exposes you to professional and experienced producers. Many producers on the platform have actually done work with the big names in the business but won’t charge you an arm and a leg to bring your songs to life.
4. Check out their previous work
As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so you should check out samples of a producer’s work before choosing. Listening to samples doesn’t always mean going to a website to play clips of their work, although you can definitely do that. For some accomplished producers, you will probably hear their works playing on the radio.
You can do Google searches to find interviews and special features on music producers, such as this hip-hop beats compilation article by Complex writers, Henry Green and Sydney Yeo. You can also learn about producers via word of mouth from other musicians who have worked with them. Either way, being able to hear at least snippets of their past projects will help you to know whether it’s a good idea to work with a music producer or not.
5. Is it someone you will click with?
In every field of life where people work together, some people just ‘click’ better than others. Call it chemistry or whatever but, likewise, there will be producers who get what you’re about right away and are able to give your music the direction it needs, even if you’re having difficulty figuring it out.
Actually, this is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind if you’re a singer looking for a music producer to work with. That’s why at Tunedly, there are several music producers, from whom to choose. In fact, Tunedly is shaping up to be the leading site for hiring pro-sound producers, engineers, and session musicians for hire. Consider it a one-stop solution for all your music production needs.
There are different types of producers and each may do one or all of the tasks involved in creating a song from start to finish. It comes down to what you’re looking to achieve in the music business, so be wise when looking for a music producer to work with. If you don't know where to begin, why not try Tunedly? « return to blog