September 16, 2023
Favorite Projects To Date (September 2023):
I’m mainly cast in as a producer or arranger on the majority of my current work. I’ll include engineering in there as well, as I normally take a pretty large hand in that end (when I can). In a writing room I might also add or help in editing some lyrics, although I normally know to trust the more experienced writers in the room to handle the bulk of that!
I grew up playing viola but never really took a liking to music intensely until I was a teenager. I was obsessed with violinists Joshua Bell and Pinchas Zukerman growing up, treating them like pop stars as a kid. Of more modern music, I listened to a lot of Bon Jovi when I was little (completely uninfluenced by my parents or family-I liked one of their album covers on a CD when I was five, and aside from my love of guitar now, I’m not sure how often this influence treads its way back into my current work). I was incredibly influenced by my friends’ tastes in music until I was about thirteen or fourteen. When I finally started listening to music on my own, I listened to lots of folk music and acoustic recordings of singer-songwriters. Then, around when I picked up the guitar, I began diving deep into roots and old blues music, as well as a healthy obsession with classic artists from the late sixties like Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Nowadays, I listen to a ton of indie, retro, and funk-inspired pop, as well as huge appreciation, influence, and inspiration from the music charting on the Billboard Hot 100! Truthfully though (and hopefully not too stereotypically) I love to listen and take influence any and all music introduced to me by my friends, teachers, and clients. I know, that’s the blanket answer; I’m just an audiophile, I swear!
The work of Jon Bellion has played an enormous role in my work as a producer and songwriter, as well as that of FINNEAS, Rob Milton, Brasstracks (Ivan Jackson), Lawrence The Band (with a special shoutout to Jordan Cohen, who has become an enormous mentor and hero of mine in the work that I am trying to do), Jon Class, and Jack Antonoff. Jon Castelli and Manny Marroquin are masters of their craft, and have lately provided amazing goals to chase after in my mixing work. I also have immense appreciation for my past professors in school for pushing me and believing in my work and growth, with extra recognitions for Susan Rogers, Rodney Alejandro, Enrique Gonzalez-Müller, and Ben Camp.
The general learning curve of this career, both what I’ve taken to get to where I am and the long road ahead for where I want to go, both serve as moments of extreme frustration. Learning any craft is hard, long, and slow work, and I’m honestly still learning to cope with the emotions that come with this growth. Trusting the process, knowing how to look back to see how far I’ve come, and lots of deep breaths to continually overcome my insecurities all play factors in how I continuously approach these obstacles now, and I look forward to learning how to better deal with these challenges as I progress.
The majority of my workflow is completely in-the-box at the moment, so aside from a few plugins I tend to use a lot, I have just a few pieces of gear to get things done. I’ve loved having my Arturia MKII keyboard (as well as their collection 8 VST bundle) and my Novation Launchpad to cover all things MIDI in my current configuration. Plugins I love to use include UAD’s API Vision Channel Strip as well as their 1176 compressor collection, Oeksound’s Soothe 2, Valhalla Reverbs, and many of the products from Izotope and Soundtoys.
I’ve used headphones more and more for reliability in my work, especially over the past year. They have become my mobile studio, giving me confidence regardless of what space I work in. Great headphones also aid in my more creative production moves, and have allowed me to explore the depth and width of my tracks quicker than on my current speaker setup.
Never let yourself regret forgoing an opportunity to pursue your passions, no matter how scary. It’s never too late to start a new path, and with diligent and hard work, results will show. I definitely feel too early in my progression to be giving such lofty pieces of advice, but if someone had told me five years ago I’d be able to have a career in music production at all, I wouldn’t have believed them.