Audeze talks to producer, writer, mixer and manager Ali Dee Theodore

August 12, 2020

Ali Dee Theodore has three decades of experience in the entertainment business as an Executive Music Producer. Ali Dee has written songs and produced music in over 250 feature films and is the #3 highest grossing EMP at the Worldwide Box Office, behind Chris Montan. In 2008, Dee took home an American Music Award for his original songwriting and music production. Dee has written and produced songs for Disney’s Descendants, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Shake It Up, Kickin’ It, Teen Beach Musical, and Hannah Montana. In 2013, Ali Dee produced the 4 times Platinum #5 Billboard chart single CUPS, by Anna Kendrick. Nick Jr’s hit series ALVINNN!!! featured Dee's 52 original songs for seasons 1 & 2. In 2017, Ali had the opportunity to work with Miley Cyrus, The Chainsmokers and Daniel Skye. His original songs have over 2 billion views on YouTube.

Highlights of his 30 year career include his production of the cast of the NBC TV show RISE on their single covering Macklemore’s smash hit Glorious, which was a featured commercial in Super Bowl LII. Dee also produced the single Wonder with Rachel Platten for the feature film Amusement Park, and co-wrote and produced JoJo Siwa’s latest single DREAM, which became the title song for her first national tour. Dee is the Executive Music Producer for the new SpongeBob Squarepants feature film for which he also co-wrote and produced the Snoop Dogg / Monsta X single “How We Do."

The WWE recently tapped Dee and his team for exclusive creation of all original music & songs for the global brand.

In 2019, DJDTP, the publishing & production company Dee formed with partner Doug Davis Esq., partnered with UMPG to meet the company’s need for the highest quality in “created to brief” songs and production.

Ali oversees a team of 10 writers and producers who collaborate daily to create a vast array of music and lyrical content in genres ranging from Hip Hop, Rock and Pop to EDM, Folk and Classical for film, TV and records.

Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I can say that I truly love all the projects I’ve had the honor to be a part of, from winning the American Music Award in 2008 for the Alvin & The Chipmunks Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to writing and producing the Snoop Dogg feat. Monsta X song for the latest SpongeBob SquarePants Film. I’m most proud of my amazing team of producers, writers and artists who really bring the music and songs to life and have proven themselves experts in creating top quality content in record time to satisfy the needs of our clients.

What's the best place for those new to your work to become familiar with what you do?

Besides doing the normal “Google” search there are tons & tons of our songs on YouTube and Spotify. I’ve had the privilege of being interviewed by some great media outlets as well, giving me the opportunity to talk about my work. IMDB is a great resource for the body of work as well. Social media is a great resource as well!

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on?

My main role is that of executive music producer. I still write on everything that’s created by the company. I personally mix everything and add my unique blend of shimmer and spice.

How did you get started in your area of the business?

After a decade long career as an artist and producer, in 2002 I had become frustrated with the “record business” as it was and wanted a change. I felt there was a void in Hollywood (film and TV) for “custom” hip hop. By this I mean, hip hop without samples or clearance issues that arise with this genre. I carved out a niche for myself, proving I was able to provide studios and music supervisors with record-quality hip hop without hassle. That was my start. Soon enough, I became the “go to” custom guy, providing music that spans all genres from hip hop to pop to jazz to country. They asked, we delivered.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

Early in my career as a film and tv music producer, I would find myself indulging clients in revision after revision. My ultimate goal was to give them what they wanted even if it meant sacrificing more time than the job was paying for. In the end, 9 times out of 10 they would go with what I had originally provided. I learned very quickly to trust myself as the expert. I'd been at the music game already for more than 10 years (now 30+!) and knew what the client wanted even if they didn't. This confidence allowed me to put a cap on the number of revisions I was willing to do because I knew without a doubt that I could surpass their expectations and earn their trust. This is not to say I don't go above and beyond - I always do, because you gotta deliver for you clients. This approach has worked for me time and time again and has really fortified my relationships with clients.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project?

I love Pro Tools. I love Quested monitors. I love my Tony Maserati & Manny Marroquin plug-ins. My new fave of all time are my Audeze headphones!

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire to get where you are in their own careers?

Never give up. Always go above and beyond. Lose the ego and never be too precious with your creations.You can be extraordinarily proud of your work - and you should be - but there is always something to learn and someone to learn from.

How long have you been working with headphones, and what inspired you to start including them in your workflow?

To be honest, I started working with headphones only recently, and out of necessity. I'm not used to working from home, but we've all had to adapt due to current circumstances. My business partner, Doug Davis, had a pair of EL-8’s and offered them up to me to try so I could work from home while sharing space with my family. I have to admit, though he told me they were designed for high end playback reference, I was skeptical. I had tried many headphones brands and models over my 3 decades in music and never once felt I could actually mix on headphones. They all had a very colored sound - too much bass, too much high end, etc. Very 2 dimensional. Audeze has COMPLETELY changed my opinion! These headphones offer an unparalleled spacial experience. I am so impressed with the clarity, transparency and trueness of the headphones. I actually can't believe it. I am turning out incredible mixes and thoroughly enjoying the process. Clients are thrilled, and so am I!

I would recommend Audeze to anyone that requires the best. They are amazing. There is only one way to listen and that’s with my Audeze LCD-MX4.