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Archive for December, 2010

My daddy used to say to my brother and me, Once a task is just begun, never leave it ’til it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all. Every day he said that. That has stuck with me through everything I’ve done.
Producing music always reminds me of painting. I would always start with charcoal sketches, then I’d add watercolors, and finally oil. The charcoal sketch defines the basic shapes and proportion in broad terms – that’s the way I like to start a production. The trick is to not get locked in right away. . .  Sometimes people have a hard time getting started. Steer clear of paralysis from analysis. Just get started. A lot of times, you just need to stop thinking about it and get started with a contour or a shape or something like that. Start with an image in your soul, and let it out. As the sketch takes shape, we can lay on the watercolors. Charcoal and watercolors can always be changed, but as the structure becomes more established, when the background lines and other basic components are nailed down, it’s time to commit and put it in oil. When you get to the oils, that means you’ve got the background nailed, you’ve got the melody nailed, you’ve got countermelodies in place, and you’re able to commit. Once it’s in oil, it’s final – you’re closing in on it because you know where you’re going.

One of my favorite sayings is ‘Let’s always leave some space for God to walk through the room.’ I believe in that. The studio is a sacred place, which is why I never wanted a studio in my home. You’re looking for something very special to happen in that studio, very mystical and special – something spiritual. That special thing has to happen for the music to be really powerful – for it to have a powerful effect on the listener.

I can’t think about what the listener is going to say or about focus groups and all that nonsense. I don’t want to hear about what 40 people who are not even involved in music think. Can you really tell me you’re going to go against what you feel in your soul and make changes based on that? I don’t think so. Go with what you feel in your gut. Listen to the whispers from God. I just go by the goose bumps I get when I hear the music. If the music moves me, it’ll move somebody else, too. If it doesn’t move you but you think it might move someone else, that just doesn’t work.
excerpted from the book, Q on Producing
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