MIA GLADSTONE come about?
During the production process, I just wanted to capture something that evoked a bright emotional tone. I made the beat in July of 2019 and the chord progression was super reflective of the season. When I’m working on a track, I usually have an idea of what I want the subject matter to be, and in this particular case, I wanted the listener to feel like they were on an emotional high. I had already collaborated with Mia on my last project but knew I wanted to get her on another track so I literally hit her up to see if she was down to hop on the song and the rest was history. And as far as having Elujay involved, we had already worked on music before, but it was all unreleased content, haha. So we made it a point to give the world this collab.
What was the process of working on the project like and how was working with the various artists involved?
For me, I’m always about making sure I exhaust all options to execute the idea I have in mind. I’m literally willing to do whatever to make that particular idea come to life. For 'AuraBlu', I wanted to create an experience that no one would expect from two artists who have never been on a song together. They both had unique individual characteristics that I felt would blend together nicely on the song, and they executed beautifully.
Are there any artists that you’ve worked with that surprised you, in terms of where they took their sound due to your production or vice versa, where their style influenced you to switch up your production style?
I’d have to say James Tillman for sure. I had been a longtime fan of James for a couple of years before reaching out about “Luv 2 U,” but something told me to take a chance and see if he’d be interested. Our styles were relative to each other so I was pretty confident that his vocal performance would be nothing short of amazing. I think that record really brought out a new part of my sound that I didn’t know was there. And to be quite honest with you, it made me a better producer overall...I’d also say had it not been for “Luv 2 U” there would be no “AuraBlu.”
"Atlanta is the epicentre of Hip Hop for sure. People can try to debate it but you really can't."
Do you find creative collaboration important for artistic growth, if so, why?
Absolutely. A couple of years ago I would only make music with my creative group of friends, but I’ve found that branching out and working with people who don’t make the same type of music as you can help your ear tremendously. You end up including elements of your own individual sound into theirs, vice versa.
What is the music scene like in Atlanta right now for upcoming artists and how much support is there for creatives?
I’d have to say that Atlanta is the epicentre of Hip Hop for sure. People can try to debate it but you really cant haha. I love it...you see a lot of the artists that break here due to the city uplifting them. Now I will say that like any city that has a sound (like most), you’ll experience people being a little less receptive to something that feels new and different. In my case, I had to go through some growing pains for sure when I first started out as a musician who made “Alt-R&B/Neo-Soul.” But over time its hard for people to deny music that makes them feel something on an emotional level, and I feel like I’ve been able to do that. Overall, the outpour of love and support has been amazing.
"Have a vision, believe in that vision, and execute that vision."
What were the influences that went into your debut EP ‘Reflections’ and how has your creative process changed since that project?
That project felt more like a compilation rather than a complete body of work. So literally everything that I was influenced by at that time went into that project. I still had a sound but it wasn’t super definitive like it is now. Fast forward to today, I’ve become a much better musician and my ear has improved tremendously. I have a better idea of how I want to approach production and not think too hard...everything that I grew up listening to has finally come full circle into me developing my true sound.
What first interested you in production and who/what is inspiring your love of it today?
Like most producers who were born in the late 90s, they can't deny that Lex Luger had an influence on them. I don't care what genre of music you make now, he was literally THE guy in the late 2000s/early 2010s that had a huge influence on the internet for young aspiring producers. For producers who had the biggest influence on me individually, I’d have to say Pharrell and Timbaland, mainly due to the fact that a lot of the music I grew up on (that was unique in sound) was produced by those two individuals. I attribute my approach to syncopated rhythms to Timbaland. And as far as an overall emotional feeling, I’d have to say Pharrell is responsible for having that influence on me. Also, have to add that Erykah Badu is probably my biggest influence…’Mama's Gun’ single-handedly changed my life and is a big part of the reason why my sound is rooted in Neo-Soul.
Do you find inspiration in other mediums other than music e.g. film/art etc. and how do you
channel that inspiration sonically?
FIlm and visual art have a huge influence on me. For something to stand alone (like visual art) and it still be able to give a message without words is something that I’ll never take for granted. Art is about how one is able to evoke emotion, and for visual art, I admire the way the artist is able to express whatever they are feeling in their own life or what is happening at that particular time. I’m very big on the usage of colour in my own production, so when an artist creates their own melody on canvas, I tend to compare the two as they are indirectly related. Sometimes I’ll visit museums in Atlanta on my own to help get my creative gears going if I feel I need a spark.
Film itself is its own individual art form. Yes its entertainment, but it takes an artist to send a message whether its a movie, TV show series or music video. All of them tell a story...and to keep people engaged is something that is extremely hard to do so I’ll always admire those who are able to make a compelling work of art through film. I’d have to say that all of these characteristics in other mediums serve their purpose with how I approach music.
"I’ve learned from several creative peers that not every idea you create is going to be great."
What would be your top three tips for upcoming producers?
Have a vision, believe in that vision, and execute that vision.
Don't take shit personal.
You’ll win if you adopt that mindset.
Is there something that another artist has taught you that’s stayed with you, when creating?
I can’t really say there’s one person, but over the years I’ve learned from several creative peers that not every idea you create is going to be great. You’re going to go through moments where the ideas are flowing effortlessly, and others where you may struggle. Its all a part of being an artist at the end of the day...and you need both the good bad and ugly to have something to learn from and be successful.
If you could produce for any artist, who would it be and what kind of track would you want to make with them?
I get asked this question a lot and the list is so long haha. I’ll give you a top 10:
As far as the type of track I’d create, it would just be something I’ve never made before. I always wanna challenge myself in new ways so going into it with no expectations would be my first train of thought. If it sucks then it probably won't come out haha...but if I do in fact get the opportunity to work with any of those artists, hopefully, something special comes from it.
Which five artists would you recommend to your listeners?
What’s coming up for 2020?
Right now I’m working on finishing up my EP which is going to be very special...can't wait to share that with you all. After that, I’ll most likely be continuing to work on content ideas surrounding that release such as merch, and POSSIBLY vinyl. Wish I could say shows but with a global health pandemic going on, it’d be kinda hard for that to happen. You all may get some featured production on other artists’ projects from me, but yeah that's about it, haha.