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So I’ve been working on my EP in the last few weeks with an awesome producer. We initially had a few bumps in the road but still decided to ride the storm and let time straighten out the kinks. I’ve tried to record an album 3 times. True Story. I spent so much money NOT recording one. The first attempt was mostly because I wasn’t ready. The 2nd attempt was due to the fact that it was doomed to fail from the start for several reasons I didn’t see initially. I have no regrets with that one lol. The 3rd attempt taught me a lot about patience and communicating the right way. Even with good money management and contractual agreements, things can still go horribly wrong when you trust the wrong people with your music and vision. 

1). Professionalism 

A professional producer is someone who treats the process of production like an actual job. They are either pretty good with the business side of things or has someone helping them out with those elements. They will be willing to sign contracts, structured with the sessions, upfront about their fees and their free-time. It’s terrible when someone says they can work with you but take other jobs & eventually have no time. Being professional is about being organized and upfront about possible setbacks or challenges. 

> Saves you money and makes you organized

2). Experience

Finding a producer with little to no experience could be a disaster but finding a producer with a lot of experience can be good and bad. On one hand, having a lot of experience usually means that you are well established as a producer but the real question is what does this person have experience in? What genre? What style of production (live or electronic)? Choose someone who is really interested in interpreting the sound you are going for and is not just trying to build his portfolio.

> Gives you confidence about the end result

3). Patience

A patient producer is the biggest asset you can have leading up to releasing an album. Working on any music project can bring anxiety. Sometimes, after hours of working on something – you might hate it. It happens! Nobody likes an indecisive person but experimenting with music in the demo-ing stage of your EP project makes you a little hesitant to say a complete ‘yes’ to various things. Choose someone who will understand that you need time to mull over certain demos and give you a chance to air your views as long as you’re within the time frame for the EP/album.

> Makes the working environment fun to be in

jessica-simpson-instagram-051216-compressed

4). Good Listener

There will be times when you don’t really like what you’ve worked on for a session and you need to talk to the producer about your reservations. Having someone who will listen attentively to what you don’t like will be a great asset to the album production process.

> Makes the process a lot easier and quicker

5). Understands The Vision

You definitely should have a vision for your album. What are you trying to say with the music for this particular project? Is there a theme? What do you want the overall sound to be? Do you have references that will help the producer get a sense of what you are trying to go for? Meeting the producer half way by communicating succinctly about what your goals are for this album is half the battle. A good producer will decide how best to interpret this through the music and ensure that you are satisfied. 

> Makes you confident about the end result and makes you confident that everything is aligned with your overall branding and promotional strategy.

justin-timberlake-pharrell-studio

6). Versatile

“Experience” is one thing but “Versatility” is another. A great trait to look for in a producer is whether they are experimental and willing to step outside of their comfort zone. They won’t be trying to push their own agenda or expand their own portfolio with a particular sound. It will be all about vision. Choose someone who listens to various kinds of music and can extract different sounds from references you provide.

> Opens your eyes to new ideas and takes you out of your own comfort zone too.

7). Hardworking

These days, it’s hard to find a producer that will happily work off-duty hours on your work  unless they are truly excited about the vision or they have some sort of stake in it. Some producers prefer the artist to be present when they make changes especially if the artist is very particular. Finding someone who is willing to go the extra mile is always a great thing. Their passion and intentions will boost your confidence.

> Makes you appreciate the process and gets you more excited about the end result

Jones, left, goes over material in the studio with Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Jones had encouraged Jackson to sing rock-oriented material, which resulted in ''Thriller,'' the biggest-selling album of all time. Jones nicknamed Jackson ''Smelly'' because whenever the music became extra funky, Jackson would say ''give me some of that `smelly jelly.' '' pn07 Quin_Michael Story ID: Previous UID: 0406221245

Jones, left, goes over material in the studio with Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Jones had encouraged Jackson to sing rock-oriented material, which resulted in ”Thriller,” the biggest-selling album of all time. Jones nicknamed Jackson ”Smelly” because whenever the music became extra funky, Jackson would say ”give me some of that `smelly jelly.’ ”

8). Stands His Ground (Even When You’re Standing Yours)

 
A producer who will put their foot down and be adamant about telling you what will work better is actually extremely important. That’s one of the reasons you’ve hired them so let them do their job. Speak up if you feel very strongly about something but hear them out and give them the benefit of the doubt (that rhymed lol 😉). Chances are they actually know what they’re talking about especially if it’s to do with elements like song layout, duration, commercial viability, tempo. Just listen and test their theories and if you still hate it, then let them know.

> Makes you a better collaborator, a better listener and a better communicator.

9). Talented

I have specifically put this last because even with amazing amounts of talent, a producer can still be hard to work with, a terrible communicator etc. and these are recipes for disaster. A talented person could mean a multi-instrumentalist or just someone with a lot of experience but talent is not the only thing to look for. Most of all, someone with the best intentions are the easiest to work with.

> Gives you confidence throughout the process.


So, the moral of the story is be particular about who you work with and be sure about the person before you enter into any agreement long-term. I have heard it said that a producer is like a husband and an album project is like a child. So… if only for this sentiment at all, choose wisely.
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