Could you tell us about your musical history, What got you started, who did you play with, what musical work did you do or bands did you play with?
My Mom told me when I was five years old I'd go to the piano and reproduce by ear what my older brothers were learning in their piano lessons. So I guess my destiny in music was determined pretty early. I started out playing in church, then cover bands through junior high and high school. Formed my own band in college, performing mostly songs I'd written. I was working on a custom project in Nashville when one of my songs caught the ear of the producer. This eventually led to a songwriting contract with Sony and a move to Nashville to pursue a career writing, performing live and also being a studio player.
After almost 20 years there, the business side of things slowly brought about an advanced case of burnout. We moved to my wife's hometown in Indiana where I pretty much put music aside for several years. Ironically, it was a couple at our church who pestered me for months and finally got me to start playing again there. It was a return to my roots and felt like I was starting all over again, which was quite refreshing. Soon thereafter iStock came along to feed the new creative juices--perfect timing.
" I think dividing lines between genres will get fuzzier as artists further explore freedom from labels/publishers "
Those close to you know that you were a player to start. What brought you to recording and producing your own works?
I came to the same point that I think all songwriters/artists at heart come to--the irresistible urge to put your own thoughts and feelings into musical form instead of repeating someone else's. When you do that and share it with someone else and it makes their day a little brighter, this light comes on and you realize why we were given this incredible gift to begin with.
What are your 4 favorite pieces of gear, software or plugins that you use in your production?
Almost all my effects come through here. On-board DSP saves computer processing power and the plug-ins are awesome. Go-to's are the Pultec, LA2A, Fairchild, Cooper Time Cube.
This gets way more use than I thought it would. Idiot-proof (almost); makes recording sound effects in the field a lot of fun.
a huge help when you're as mastering-challenged as I am.
EastWest Composers Collection
Most often Pianos Gold and Orchestra Gold.
"the business side of things slowly brought about an advanced case of burnout"
Tell us a bit about how iStockaudio got on your radar and what drew you to contribute in a time when the concept of True Royalty-Free licensing was just getting it's start?
My brother was an iStockphoto customer and told me they were looking for music too. I was a bit dubious, honestly--it seemed too good to be true, especially for someone who'd spent most of his music career in the pre-computer/internet stone age when the only way of getting your music to the masses was via a major label or publisher. But much to my amazement, things really took off. It's still intoxicating and quite addicting--no limits, no boxes, you can create whatever you want and put it on iStock and maybe someone else will catch your vision. What could be better for a musician? It's still exciting every single time someone likes my music enough to spend their hard-earned money on it.
What is the one thing you haven't done yet in your life that you would like to do?
Go to a Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
If you were to look at your journey so far with music and where music is at now for you, try and make some predictions about the future of music.
I think we are in an unprecedented golden age of creativity and music-making right now, brought about by the advent of the internet fostering an explosion of new artists who would have never seen the light of day just 20 years ago. It's overwhelmingly exciting to me. I think dividing lines between genres will get fuzzier as artists further explore freedom from labels/publishers telling them what to do and traditional 'commercial viability' becomes less of a concern.
I also think the overall quality of songwriting, which has taken a hit in recent years, will improve as young artists who enjoy the freedom from label constraints also re-discover the value of critical creative input. And I predict that somehow the Rolling Stones will still be touring 20 years from now.
What is the most common rejection?
Loops that aren't constructed properly.
Give us your Top 5 tips to making sure a file shows well in the inspection process.
Include accurate metadata for all music tracks--key, tempo, time signature
Properly disambiguate all keywords
Make your tracks grow as they go, not just copy and paste the same sections over and over
Double-check your talent release to make sure everything is filled in (especially audio content and witness)
Don't cut off the beginning or end of a track (this will earn a rejection 100% of the time)
What is the hardest part of inspecting other peoples work?
Rejections. Being a contributor myself, I know how tedious and time-consuming the upload process is, and how maddening it is to get that email. One thing I'd like for our contributors to know is that we do whatever we can to avoid rejecting a track, many times fixing errors that we could reject for (missing/incorrect metadata, improper keywords and/or disambiguation, etc).
Also, we try to use rejections to encourage and teach, as most of the time the composition itself is great but there are technical problems that need to be addressed. Hopefully we're giving tips that will help the contributor learn and grow.
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