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Music producers & my dilemma as a solo artist


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  • Music producers & my dilemma as a solo artist

    Hi there,


    I'm a jazz pinist turned pop singer. As I was on my 'transition', I was doing accoustic singer/ songwriter in sort of pop-jazz style. Very recently (last fall) I started to write really commercial stuff and I love it. I was recording a single while working with a producer and it came out as a dance/pop song (not released yet). I finally feel I found myself musically/ stylistically etc. However, I have a couple of worries.

    As I worked on my single I hired a producer and got a deal with him - 1000$ for the song (regular price 1500$). I went for it because I have absolutely zero experience in producing anything and quite honestly, right now I don't have time to learn it. So I wanted a radio sounding song and I got it. However, I wanna record an album. Or better said, I have to record, at least an EP or else there will be issues with reviews, radio stations or PR people (many don't even review or work with you unless you have a full album, EP is a must). Now, I am trying to figure out what to do about it all - because the price for even a 4 track EP when you add promo costs is gonna be around 10k. And on the long terms as soon as I put out that I must already prepare for the next release as nowadays one has to constantly release and tour.

    So here is the question: how can I reduce the production costs? Below are some of my own thoughts.

    I don't necessary want to produce anything myself as I have zero experience. That deal was awwesome - I wrote the song, gave the leadsheet, a crappy demo I managed to make (took me 1 month to figure a decent track and a week to put a beat together despite the fact I can play some drums,LOL), submitted a bunch of songs ranging from Maroon 5 to Lady Gaga, telling what I like in them and boom - I got back some sceletton beat/ bass/ guitar/ keys. So we just e-mailed and I said what I liked and then I went in studio sang lead vocals, background vocals and played a keyboard solo. Then mixed and masterd. Sounds awesome, major label level. 

    I have not found a decent songwriter to write with and won't write with just anybody because I always write what I mean.

    I don't want to start a band at this point (I will pull one together when I finally manage to go on tour). The reason for this is that I don't necessary look for a 'live band' sound in studio and don't want to write songs with other people. I used to have jazz bands where I sang pop jazz and it always come to the point that they wanted to be co-writers and on every photo etc. I just don't see myself as a lead singer of a band or a part of a team. I find the idea of having a produced record, giving the record + sheets to musicians, 2-3 rehearsels and we're off on tour. And I'd rather have 2 dancers for small gigs that I do with a playback than a full band.

    I'd appreciate if someone would have an idea, opinion or thoughts for me...

    thank you and cheers!


    P.S. I live in NYC, so I technically have all the industry people very near to me.

  • #2

    When a producer recognizes your talent and the commercial potential of your music, then he is a producer,  and he will do the production it for a participation in the future profit, and even finances the production himself.


    Forget producers who want to get payed upfront. If a producer does not see your talent and doesn't take the risk to waste a few days, he is not a producer.


    • Rudolf von Hagenwil
      Editing a comment

      ... and it is not true that an artist needs a full music album to start his career, a first single will do too in pop, a good song is a good song and can be distributed,as well also other well know artist do one song after another and immediately release one song when one is finished, and a few months later brings the full album out

  • #3

    I think you may have to compromise in one of a few ways to move forward in your career.

    On the purely economic level, you get what you pay for - so if it cost $10,000 to record an EP at the level you want you might just have to pay it. Or you can spend a little less and get something different. That might mean you have have to be more creative in your approach - there are some sounds and arrangements that an inexperienced studio/producer/engineer can do better than others - live strings are probably off the table when you are trying to cut costs.

    When it comes to songwriting and some of that stuff, it seems like there's a give and take. I personally end up doing a lot of work for free for things like that, but it's because I want the recognition, or I desire to participate in the experience. If you are looking for people to do great stuff and walk away, they typically will do that only for money. As a working guitarist, I'll play anything you want if you're paying me, but I'll work for a lot less if it's a project I enjoy, and if I get to have my say in it.

    One possible strategy is if you can't afford the best, get the people who are going to be the best, i.e., young people/students. If there's any schools that offer a recording program nearby, you might be able to find some young people who need the experience and will be willing to work for free or cheap, but the quality is not guaranteed. Same goes for musicians - there's probably some great ones who want to cut their teeth on a great sounding recording, but at the very least, that means you are going to have to take on some of the legwork of being a producer, organizing people and places.

    In the end, you might have to learn to step into some of these roles for yourself, or be willing to let other musicians have some creative control over your music. 

    Or win the lottery. 



    • Rudolf von Hagenwil
      Editing a comment

      that's true when ypu go to a recording studio and have the music recorded and mixed, but he said he did it with a producer, and a producer is interested to get his share in the future profit

      when there is not future profit, then a producer doesn't do the work