WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. When I turned 18, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a degree in Music Business. I achieved that and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where I currently reside, about a year ago. That is why I love so many different sounds in hip-hop. I’ve lived in three different corners of the United States, haha.
WHEN DID THE IDEA TO BE AN ARTIST/PRODUCER BEGIN?
I used to be a rapper, and I recorded trashy music since I was about fourteen or fifteen. When I got in college, I started recognizing my rapping ability was not very good. After my freshman year, I stopped pursuing rapping, and I just wanted a background job in the music industry. I started an internship with Reflection Music Group in my junior year and got close to Canon, Derek Minor, and Doc Watson. Soon after that, I was interning at Sony and travelling on the road making merch sales for Reflection Music Group. As I got closer with Canon, he asked me what I did creatively, and I told him I had made a few beats and used to rap, but sucked. He gave me criticism and took me under his wing. In no time, I was producing music, and him showing me the ropes. About two years later, I was full-time.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT YOU’VE WORKED ON TO DATE?
I would say my favourite project to be involved with was Futuristic’s “Featuristic” album. I had been listening to him pretty consistently since high school. It was fantastic to get an opportunity to work directly with him, and since then, we have built a great connection and have worked a lot since then. He’s a super solid guy and works a lot with up-and-coming artists.
CAN YOU ROUGHLY OUTLINE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS – FROM THE BEGINNING OF AN IDEA FOR A PROJECT OR A COLLABORATION TO THE POINT OF COMPLETION?
Every beat is different. Sometimes I collaborate with producers and work off what they have, but I am working solo in my home studio most of the time. When I start beats, I try to mix up my workflow often. Sometimes I create a beat with the drums; sometimes, I start with the 808 or work with the melody. It depends on the vibe I am trying to go for, and when you are working with so many diverse hip-hop styles, you have to make sure you don’t get in a rut and make the same style of beats all the time.
Once the beat is done, the pitching process is different. About 10% of the time, I am in person with the artists. That process is easy; I either play beats and pick out what they want to work on, start rapping, or start working from scratch after telling me what style of stuff they want. When I am not in person, I am sending emails the other 90% of the time. I go and listen to the person’s music, get acquainted with their sound. Then I have to find their email, which is generally in their bio. If they are bigger, I need to find their manager or A&R and send it to them. The secret is doing your research on artists. The more you know their sound and cater to that, the more likely you will land a prominent placement.
HOW IS THE REALITY OF BEING AN INDEPENDENT ARTIST/PRODUCER COMPARED TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF IT?
I honestly like it. I like being able to work with who I want. Sometimes I want to make chill lo-fi tracks, sometimes I want to make aggressive bangers, and no one can tell me not to. I like that. Eventually, I, however, would love to sign a label deal. I would love to be putting together albums like how DJ Khaled does but in my style. DJ Khaled is a big inspiration for me.
When it comes to being independent as a producer, you have to respect the grind. I work a lot of long late nights on beats. I am always sending out emails and keeping track of who is listening to what, where I sent stuff, what is selling, etc. Many producers sit around complaining about not getting placements when they aren’t grinding to make it.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AND DIFFICULTIES YOU FACE WHEN STARTING NEW PROJECTS?
I would say expectations and working with challenging artists. As a producer who releases my music, artists can be challenging. They expect me to put them on songs with specific artists, or they will expect a crazy amount of money, etc. But, in general, it’s not a bad life as long as I stay organized and work with people who aren’t with the drama. Most of the artists I work with on my music are chill, down-to-earth people, and very easygoing.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY CALM WHEN A PROJECT IS NOT GOING AS PLANNED?
I’ve been lucky to have the platform I have, consistently getting placements and working with chill people, but if an artist, even with a big platform, is complex, I have no problem scrapping the song. I’d instead put out music I love, with people I love and get along with, then a piece I feel bitter toward because of the process of making it went horrible. Like I said before, in general, I have very little drama with artists. I would say I have had more negative experiences with producers than artists.
DO YOU HAVE ANY INSIGHTS, TIPS, OR ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO START THEIR MUSIC CAREER AND LOOKING TO GET INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
If you are looking to become a producer, I would say to be patient before you put yourself out there. You will start making beats, and make something that sounds “meh,” and think you’re ready to go. You are not. Take your time, and wait until you are dope with it to put yourself in people’s emails. Once you get out there with your dope beats, be prepared to give away a bunch of them for free. You wouldn’t go to apply for some big corporate job with no resume. Give your beats for free and build up placements. Unless you have several extensive credits in your bio getting started, no one will pay you for production. Just keep your resume looking good. After that, when you have people hitting you up for beats, then start charging, but now it’s time to build repeat customers.
When artists are hitting you up ready to pay, be flexible. Give them your current price, but be flexible with them. You might charge $300, but tell them you can work with their budget. You’ll sell the beat for $200 because that is all they can afford, but they will return. Next time they will have all the money ready and buy another beat. A month later, they will come back again. Soon you will have 15-20 repeat customers buying beats consistently. You can cut bulk deals for eps and albums and start building while you are doing that. You are still sending out beats to more prominent artists and building your resume higher, but you are more flexible because of these smaller artists buying beats.
I will also say, stop comparing yourself to other producers. Everybody has different grinds. Some people will sell cheap lease beats on youtube or Beatstars, which will blow up. Some people will grind with one artist and only work with that artist, and they will blow up together. Other people like myself will only sell exclusives to people, and they will keep their beats more to themselves and work more directly with artists. Everybody will grind differently, and that is okay. Some producers will make melodies; some won’t. Some producers will collab with lots of other producers, some won’t. All these paths are okay. Do not look down on people who grind differently than you.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
I am proud of many of my connections with different artists, even people I haven’t worked with yet or may never work with. We have developed true friendships. I work a lot with Snow, Cxldaf, Futuristic, Canon, Big Zach, and other artists like that because I consider them good friends. I have been able to work out where I only have real people around me, no fake love. We celebrate each other’s successes.
As far as material wins, I recently celebrated five million streams on Spotify on my music. That was a significant milestone for me. Also, the success with Canon on our song “Good To Go, pt. 2” has been career-changing. It is about to pass two million streams on its own, and I’m so proud of that for sure.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?
Most of the time, I am trying to interact socially with friends if I am not working. I spend a lot of time with my beautiful wife. I spend a lot of time with family members playing games. Recently I have been refocusing on my mental and physical health. Losing weight and true mental tranquillity is my focus. I love playing video games. I play a lot of Warzone with Snow and Cxldaf. I also watch a lot of anime. I recently got a subscription to HBO Max and Funimation. I’ve been binging through a lot of different shows.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR WORK?
You can find me on Spotify just by searching “poetics.” I have a playlist up called” #prodbypoetics” that I am constantly updating with new music. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @prodbpoetics. I spend a lot of time there, and I am very interactive with my followers.