Unless you, as an artist, are a producer as well, all artists need the guidance of a professional producer. A person that can give our songs a fresh, new sound, according with our vision or idea of what we want our music to sound like. Here’s a few things an artist should have in mind when looking for a producer (please, pardon my scattered version of this blog in the video…you get the points, right?):

What should you ask yourself?

1) How much money do you have for production? In other words, what is your budget?

-> When looking for a producer, you have to write down your budget, not only for production, but for other expenses that will come with any project (travel expenses, mixing and mastering, studio time…). So write down how much money you’re going to spend for every portion of the expenses. Example: If you have $30,000 for a full album count on leaving $2,000-3,000 out of that for other expenses like travelling or mixing and mastering. Unfortunatelly, I’ve seen too many artists that didn’t have things like these in consideration and once they had their album produced they didn’t have a budget for mixing & mastering or other expenses, so they were never able to release their album, sad, uh? Budget your project!! It is important!! So you know how much money you’re playing with…

Note: Of course, I always recommend paying for your production, because that way you will OWN YOUR MASTERS (Sound Recording) and you will be in control of your music.

2) Are you willing to travel?

-> This comes hand in hand with the first question, but I had to talk about it… Let’s just say you are in Florida and you’ve found a great producer, one that you want to work with and has the exact sound you’re looking for and… he’s right there as far as your budget for production but… He lives in Los Angeles. Are you willing to travel for him? Can you afford your travel expenses? Think about it! Because you might be adding costs that you cannot afford…

3) What’s your direction/genre?

-> Make sure you have an idea of what you would like to do with your music. Have an idea of a direction and definetely know where to fit as far as genre, because you will need that to find the right producer. You don’t want to start approaching ANY producer just because they are good producers, they might not be the right fit for you!!

What should you ask the producer/s?

First things first, you should approach more than one producer, because in case you can’t work with one (because of budget or other common reasons), you’ll always have a wide array of other producers that may work out for you.

1) Who have you worked with?

-> You always want to have references when talking to a producer, who’s he worked with before you? Is he the right fit as far as genre? Make sure you check on them, I know it sounds distrusting, but there is a lot of hearsay in this business, you want to know that whatever artists your producer has worked with have really worked with him and it’s not just bragging without fundament.

2) How much do you cost?

-> You want to make sure you have the right budget for the right producer. Also, if a full album is way too much, talk about EPs, singles or maybe payments? Yep, there are producers that work as a car payment, you can pay them a monthly amount until the full payment is made. Talk about options, if you’re really interested on working with this one producer!

3) Do you mix and master?

-> A lot of producers nowadays mix and master their own projects, but there are others that don’t. Make sure you know what the bottom line is as far as mixing and mastering. If the producer doesn’t mix and master, make sure you have a separate budget for that purpose, you don’t want to find yourself with a full album produced, but no money to get it mixed and mastered!!

4) Do you own a studio?

-> Same happens with studios, some producers work out of their own studio/home studio, others need to rent a studio to do vocals, drums, etc. Ask if you need to pay for studio time and/or you need to find a studio to record at.

5) Do you need an engineer?

-> Most producers nowadays are their own engineer, others are not… just ask, you might need to hire an engineer… you never know!

In conclusion, there are a lot of other questions you can ask, but I think these are the most important ones. Make sure you don’t sign anything before you get all the asking out of the way and… KNOW… If you sign something you cannot go back and try to get out of paying…Make sure you know what you’re signing and make sure you’ve chosen the right producer!!

Thank you for watching my videos and reading my blogs, see you in the next episode!!!