Monday, January 03, 2000

Education of a Music Producer

I was born in the Caribbean, and grew up in South America, Saudi Arabia and Spain. I came of age in North Carolina, and after moving to New York City, lived for many years in various degrees of chic metropolitan squalor, putting in time at a rumored mob controlled welfare hotel, the 92nd St. Y, and a crumbling basement apartment in Gotham’s most notorious heroin infested neighborhood during the drug’s hey-day.

But no sooner than you can say popular zeitgeist, then did I find myself producing music for national TV commercials, theme parks, electronic games and devices; pitching audio concepts for complete cable network redesigns; speaking brand speak with the big boys; and providing music supervision and production consulting to Fortune 500 advertising agencies.

Once upon a time I was a barista who'd been told by big time record producer or manager-types –one after another– that my ideas weren't marketable. A year later I’d be producing tracks that by the week’s end would be in heavy rotation on national television, and have a direct effect on the market shares of my clients.

Many of my ideas were executed without change or revision and aired around the world, heard by millions of people, and even –perhaps– convinced some of those very same lame label execs to wear a certain brand of jeans over another.

So, I guess I do know a thing or two about ideas that sell; about maximizing entertainment value; about branding with sound; about how to influence people with music; about how to make fans out of customers and how to drive customers into stores –which is more than I think you can say about 90% of aspiring pop stars who can supposedly deliver a ‘hook’.

You want to give voice to Fortune 500 Brands? You need more than a hook –you need to tap into some socio-psychological juju. I can think of at least one famous classical composer –whom I idolize, by the way– but he thinks scoring a commercial is simply about ripping himself off. And maybe that's why it's not working for you, dude.

lemon lime
make it rhyme
mom that's me
on prime time

So, just how the hell did I end up becoming the Executive Producer of three acclaimed music production companies?

It turns out that the life of a philosophical buddhist artistic expat loner who played guitar on roof of the 92nd Street Y for three years whilst waiting for his life to begin provided the perfect credentials necessary to accurately analyze the American popular psyche and sell it stuff.

But don’t think it’s some kind of Cinderella story…

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