How did you start producing?
In college, when I realized I needed more creative power over my work instead of being confined to performing someone else’s writing. I ended up taking a music technology class as a requirement for the program I was in, and as soon as I started using Ableton, the floodgates opened and my mind wouldn’t shut up about this new medium. I was completely obsessed with the program and all of the possibilities that were now at my fingertips. Producing and performing my own music gives me the greatest sense of freedom I’ve known in this lifetime.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
It might not have been too exciting at the time of its creation, but one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made is an instrumental that SZA used on one of her early records. I was still living with my parents at the time, and just churning out beats from my bedroom with very low expectations for anything I was making, which is why I think that music feels so pure to me and ended up in cool places later on. I’ve had the privilege of making music in some beautiful studios and homes, but all of my favorite work seems to come from my own bedroom or hotel rooms. No pressure, just practice and experimentation.
What are some misconceptions people have about producing?
I don’t think people realize the immense range of musical skills and level of ear training that the top producers of our generation have. The job requires so much more than making beats on a laptop. You have to have impeccable knowledge of music theory, ideally be able to play multiple instruments, understand composition, arrangement, engineering, not to mention leadership skills, the ability to bring out the very best performances from your team, business acumen, powerful vision, and the ability to communicate it… the list goes on and on.
Have you faced any difficulties being a woman in your field?
I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve been treated as subordinate, less knowledgeable than my male peers, or just blatantly disrespected, but it’s all fuel for this fire in me. My negative experiences in the music industry have taught me strength, integrity, and self-worth like nothing else could, and they drive so much of the work I do as an artist and entrepreneur. Rather than sit around in blame or frustration, I decided to start my own record label for women artists to share their voices exactly as they wish, and for them to retain ownership of their music. Unspeakable Records has now expanded to include online artist development programs and Ableton tutorials to empower anyone who wishes to learn, so we support musicians from the ground up.
How can women become more of a force when it comes to producing music?
There is strength in numbers! Collaboration changes the game. The more we raise each other up and join forces on common goals, the faster our industry will evolve.
What advice would you give to young women and girls looking to work in music?
Know your worth, and never settle. If you are truly called to music, then you must understand that the gifts you offer to the world are so much more valuable than just “entertainment” for the masses. This art form has the power to create real change and healing in our world, which we desperately need now more than ever before. Hold this power in your heart whenever you come up against obstacles or closed doors along the journey, and you will be unstoppable.