What is it that inspired you to start playing the guitar?
I actually began playing guitar out of the blue! I was about 9 years old and my dad Bruce- who’s a composer/arranger- took me and my brother to Toys R’ Us. I saw this battery-powered electric guitar with a speaker built into it and thought it looked cool. I was lucky enough to take it home and that was it- I was totally obsessed with it!
Subconsciously, however, I’m sure there was a bit of interest brewing from seeing my dad working with some of LA’s most respected session guitarists who would come to the studio we had in the house for TV and record projects. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized how lucky I was to get to know and watch these masterful players at such a young age.
What is it that you love the most about your job?
There’s a lot I love about it. I’m fortunate to be able to work on the record-side of things writing and producing songs, as well as scoring TV, film, and commercials. Each area has its own challenges and other “characteristics,” but the reward of a job well done is awesome no matter what. To be able to create music as a profession is a reward by itself. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. The business has its stresses, difficulties, and craziness like a lot of other jobs out there, but when all’s said and done, it’s pretty great to be able to make music all day.
What can you tell someone else who is wanting to break into the music/songwriting industry?
Just know it’s nuts! And the fact is, the way things have been going, it’s gonna keep getting nuttier. You have to really want to do this to be able to put up with how things work out here (meaning, in this business). You need thick skin. You need to be self-motivated. You need to be visible and reachable (website and social media!). You also, and possibly most importantly, need to be lucky!
Also, there are a lot of areas within the music business. Do you wanna be a songwriter? Composer? Musician? Artist? Producer? A little focus will help guide the path you should take. Connect with others who are doing what you want to do. See how they operate and how they got started. Everyone needs- and gets- help along the way. To try navigating it alone doesn’t bode well. And then, when you make it, return the favor to others!
What have been your highlights of your career so far?
It’s hard to say. It’s not surprising to a lot of people that, when I say my first songwriting/producing credit was for a song (“Good Night”) by Kanye West, it’s considered a highlight! But there have a been a few things that I think about when asked this question. When I was 20 and studying at UCLA, I won a guitar competition sponsored by Kenny Wayne Shepherd. I was ecstatic! A few years back, I met record producer Ron Fair in a parking lot and asked if I could send him some music. I sent him 1 song (“This Is Us”) which I produced and co-wrote and it wound up on an album by Keyshia Cole- that was very exciting! This past spring, I landed a song (“Promise Me Love”) I co-wrote on Reba McEntire’s latest album. I was blown away- she’s an icon…
It’s also pretty awesome that I get to work with my dad a fair amount. We score a lot of TV together, and I often have him arranging string and horn parts on songs I’m doing. It’s a pretty uncommon situation that I don’t take forgranted.
Do you record a lot in your own home?
I do most of my work at home. A lot of the TV work I do with my dad is done at his home studio, but I’d say 90% of my work is done at my house. That’s a big part of why the Editors Keys Portable Vocal Booth Pro is such an asset for me. No one cares where the work is done, as long as it sounds good, so every little thing that can help matters.
What are your current projects (if you can say?)
Right now, my dad and I are scoring “The Odd Couple” for CBS. We’re in the 2nd season. I’ve also been doing a lot of commercial work, which is a kick. I’ve got a new one coming to TV real soon on which I’m singing, in addition to having scored and recorded the instruments, so that’ll get a good laugh out of my friends and family.
Lastly, I’ve been working with some very cool singers whose projects are getting some attention, and that’s always exciting.
Do you have a personal favourite when it comes to audio editing softwares?
I think all the big programs have their pros and cons, so it comes down to preference. I’m an Apple Logic user. I’ve been using it for years now. A lot of my collaborators use it, too, which makes for easy project sharing when we’re working remotely from each other.
f you could record with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
If you’re looking for one name, I can’t give it! There are so many people out there who have done so much amazing work that I admire, it’s tough to single anyone out. However, I brought this question up to my wife and she instantly said, “Wouldn’t it be Stevie Ray Vaughan?” Let’s just say I’d be very, very ok with heading into the studio with him! He was a real musical hero for me.
But again, the list is way too long!
And finally, thoughts on the Studio Series Vocal Booth!
Love it! As I said earlier, no matter where you’re recording, you need the tools that’ll help make your music as strong as it can be. I used the original Editors Keys Portable Vocal Booth, which was great, but this new one has some updates that are fantastic. I love that it’s lightweight. I also think the new hinges are a big improvement. The fact it folds up almost in half to surround the mic is great. It feels more solid, and even the aesthetics are more impressive. Lastly, though I won’t likely be using it this way very often, the ability to be placed on a desk with its 3 feet is great. Again, they made a really good product a lot better, and it’s already getting loads of use in my studio!