"Nobody is gonna get bored of me before me!" Shaggy Talks of New Album and Addresses Public Opinions Backstage at Glastonbury 2017
I caught up with the legendary reggae artist Shaggy backstage at Glastonbury Festival 2017! He'd just finished his set on the Gully Stage, Silver Hayes and had time for cheeky chat.
Mr. Boombastic revealed his recipe to making number one hits, gave us exclusive information as to when the next album will drop and even answered some hilarious questions from the public!
"Nobody is going to put me in a box...I do what the fuck I want.. I've earned it" Shaggy also addressed those who believe dancehall shouldn't stream into the pop music world! Enjoy!
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Interview by @sazrahproducer
Filmed by @realharryr
Want to get into the music industry? Want to feel inspired? Well, this is just the guy you should be paying attention to.
Being successful in the industry doesn’t always mean you have to be in the limelight. Singer and songwriter Myles Brown works behind the scenes on a lot of today’s hits. You would be amazed to see a list of the major artists whose songs and production have been boosted by his input. If he prefers not to namecheck them in interview it’s because he’s a refreshingly humble man content to stay in the small print of credits! However, Myles is also an artist in his own right. He does not stick just to one style or one trade. He is very much a creative soul and has some truly inspirational words for those who are looking to break into his line of business. I caught up with him to get to know a little more.
Sazrah: What is your style?
Myles: The best thing to say is once people get to know who I am they will understand my style because I am my style.
I can relate. It’s like when people tell me to describe my music, it is just me and all my influences…
…Yes, your history, your lifestyle, who you listen to, who your parents are, who your friends are. Everything has an influence on what you create.
What inspires you?
Life! Life inspires me because it’s what I had from the beginning and what I will have until the end.
So what has been the highlight of your career so far?
Wow! There have been so many. I’ve been behind the scenes working with rap stars, composers, I’ve done an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet on an occasion given by Her Majesty performed in Buckingham Palace. So there have been so many different fields that I have been blessed to be able to work in. I am just happy that I get to be creative.
A lot of singers tell me that they struggle with songwriting. What advice would you give to the budding songwriters out there?
I would say if you’re in school pay attention in English lessons, because they teach you the basics of how to structure your words and make sentences. And from that point your personality can then help you develop the way you start communicating things. It’s just having a certain ear for words, putting words together differently. In Hip Hop they have found a way to create a different language that never existed. You know when they say “what’s up, what’s good” or in London or Jamaica “waa gwarn”. All these terminologies have been put together by someone. Who created it? I don’t know. But I know it’s being used so much as it’s found its way into a world which is universal. So when you take your different influences, it’s about developing that and pushing forward.
What would you say to anyone who wants to be in the music industry?
Never give up and follow your heart. Follow your dream. Also you hear a lot of artists saying, “I want to do this. I want to do that.” Do it! In my opinion well done is better than well said.
Some people say they have too many ideas and don’t know which one to focus on! I know I have been guilty of this in the past. How do you combat that?
But you know it’s all good – because sometimes when you have so many ideas it shows your creativity. You shouldn’t limit your creativity. Get a dictaphone or your mobile device and record down your ideas. So when you are in a creative space, if you ever get a blank mind you can just refer back to it!
Where can we find you?
Thanks for your time.
No problem. Thank you for your time.
Words by @sazrahproducer
Time for another #FemaleTakeover and #IndustryTips post. Today it's with the famous DJ Melody Kane. She is SBTV's official dj but it doesn't end there. Melody also mixes for BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra and has supported the likes of Snoop Dogg, 2Chainz, Tinie Tempah, A$AP Rocky, Professor Green, Ms Dynamite, Jessie J, Example, Flo Rida, Black Eyed Peas and many more. Not to mention the many festivals you will have caught her at over the Summers doing her thing on the decks. Girl knows how to work it - that's all I can say! Luckily I managed to grab Melody from her busy schedule to ask her those all important questions about how to do it in such a tough industry. Enjoy.
Melody! You make a living solely on DJ'ing! What is your secret?
[Laughs] No secret, just a lot of hard work and I always try to keep things professional. I’ve been doing this a long time behind the scenes before I got where I am today.
What struggles have you faced being a female in the music game?
There’s a lot of blaggers and scoundrels in this business and they tend to see woman as an easy target. So this goes back to your first question, of always keeping things professional and understanding all areas of the music business. Took a few years to find my feet properly, believe me!
At the recent AIM Women in Music event, Sophie Ellis Bexter mentioned women are usually set to compete against each other in the industry which is a shame as she believes we should support one another more. What are your thoughts on this? Do you see other female DJ's as competition?
The music business is no different than any other. You’ve got a good job and somebody else wants it. The grass is always greener. But if you handle your own business correctly, you don’t really have the time to focus on others. You just do you. Let them do them.
What advice would you give to other up and coming females out there?
You don’t have to act like a man and you don’t have to act like a girl. You need to act like somebody who has confidence in themselves and takes what they do seriously. If you do this you’ll find people will mirror this in the way they do business with you.
Any projects you are working on?
There’s a lot in the pipeline. Next year my music project is set to take off properly. I’ve been in the studio for sometime now trying to perfect my sound and I’m nearly ready to let the world hear…watch this space as Melody Kane Sound Xchange is coming soon.
Can't wait to hear the new fire - especially as you are visiting my studio soon! Thanks Melody
Melody's endearing smile, inspiring confidence and warm heart allowed me to immediately see why she has been so successful- along with her great talents of course! It is true, how you present yourself to others reflects what you get back. Wise tips there Miss Kane.
All details on keeping up with DJ Melody Kane can be found via her website
Written by @sazrah_producer
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Producers - Do you ever want the sound of live drums in your music? Don't have the right recording equipment or a drummer? Artists - do you ever songwrite and wish you just had some drums to give it that umph? Have no money to pay a good drummer? Well I will let you in on a little secret! His name is Toby Pluta.
He is a talented drummer who records from his own studio and only charges £10 for each song. He plays live drums or electric drums. You tell him what you would like and he lays it down, sends you the stems and then you can run with it! I used his services recently for a cover I am doing of the song "Wicked Game" and really have enjoyed what he has done on it. All business was done over the net. I sent him my demo idea with an added email explaining how I want the drums roughly. I also told him he could be creative if he wanted to add to my idea which he was. Within a couple of days it was done. He gave me lots of options in one take so I don't have spend any more money asking him for other takes. I will definitely be using his services again. Contact Toby via his website and let me know how you get on!
Written by Sazrah
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Oliver Price is a Scottish writer/producer who fronts cutting edge electro-indie cross over band Bronze Medallists and helms Dream-Pop trio Polychrome. He has a studio in Dalston, the beating heart of London’s creative scenes and has worked with many of the most exciting emerging artists of the last few years. Many musicians dream to make music their full time business but have to resort to treating it as a side job. Oliver however is living the dream and composing for a living. Want to know how he does it? I caught up with him to get some top industry tips for you guys to put into practice! Don't say I never spoil you ;-)
You produce music for a living. What is your secret?
Liquorice tea, late nights and dogged persistence. Oh, and loving music!
How long did it take you to get to the stage where music was your full-time job?
It took years! At age 27 I quit my part-time bar job and took the plunge, the industry has refreshed itself so many times since then it still feels like taking the plunge again every year because you are never sure where the next revenue streams will come from. I remember being 23, feeling that I'd already been at it for soooooo long and thinking that if I hadn't 'made it' by age 26 I'd cash in my chips and buy a bamboo beach hut in Bali. Ha!
Instead it's 10 years later and while I'm not exactly doing what I had anticipated when I was 23, I am one of the lucky ones who gets to do this for a living. Actually I'd say I have moderate luck. I've seen some people get a lot further with less brains over the years and some with more do nothing at all - it certainly isn't a meritocracy out there. As a competitive animal I think that's one of the biggest challenges - being inspired the achievements by your peers and not trampled.
And what other challenges do you face?
Now the day to day challenges are things like, 'Can you make a piece of french orchestral music', 'Can you write a piece of music for a circus trapeze act?', 'Can you write a song for Cheryl Cole?'. Usually I say 'Yes', think 'No' and then do something in between but the process is really fun and I really enjoy getting out of my comfort zones. And if I do it well enough that means I get to keep earning my living this way. I'm not sure if that means I've made it or not, but now I'm 33 and I get royalty statements which is great. I've said to myself though, that if I haven't had a number one single by the time I'm 36 I'm going to cash in my chips and buy a beach bungalow in North Devon!
What is your greatest musical achievement so far?
I wrote a song for my step brother's funeral, it was raw, natural and visceral, I didn't try to write it, it just came out. I think the best stuff often comes when you make the least effort, although your sort of lying to yourself when you say that because the effortlessness is probably the result of years of practicing and developing your skills, but that sounds less cool to say and doesn't help cultivate your image as a born-gifted musical genius.
Do you produce for TV/Animation? If so, how did you get into it?
I tend to write music and then it gets used on animations or TV. Although I just wrote a piece of music for an animated skate film and adapted a piece of orchestral music for a TV advert so there are no rules. The skate film happened because the music video director for my band, Bronze Medallists' new single put us forward for it.
Talking money can be quite awkward at times when you are self employed. And lot of people offer 'exposure' instead of money. What advice would you give to musicians who want to get around this?
If you feel the exposure will be worthwhile then you can justify to yourself contributing to the continuing devaluation of music in the eyes of those who offer these sorts of deals. The only way around this is for everyone to say no, but there is always someone who will say yes because exposure is scare, competition is fierce and the industry knows this and can pit us against each other. Divide and conquer.
What advice would you give for up and coming producers and musicians?
Doing stuff leads to more stuff so do things. And don't be too precious. Highly specific artistic ideals may seem to have integrity but are often quite arbitrary and the luxury of privilege. Don't be ashamed of using your talents to earn yourself a living there is real integrity in that.
What has been your biggest lesson learnt in the music industry?
You have to be able to separate your creativity from the bullshit. Who wants art that smells of bullshit?
Great words! Thanks Oliver.
Bands: Hotel Internationale, Boy Mandeville, Landshapes (Lulu and the Lampshades), Lucy Rose, Kal Lavelle, Mikill Pane, Loveable Rogues, Lail Arad, Victoria and Jacob, Fiona Bevan, Golden Feathers, YOUTH, Eyes and No Eyes (Tristram), Emmy the Great, Von D, Bronze Medallists, Helen Arney, My Cousin Kate, Iliana, The Melodic (Melodica Melody and Me), The Feeling, Suburbs, Stars of Sunday League, David Goo, Lofty Heights, Laura Hocking, Fredrick Robinson, Polychrome, Lewis Fieldhouse, Jerusa Van Lith, Oh Sister!
Sweet Like Summer
Ə - Rĭ 'mē - Ə (Couldn't Love You More) (Winner of Peter Gabriel's Song-Writing Shake Your Tree Competition 2013)
MAKE LOVE NOT WAR - AXE
Barclays (Winner 2013 Shots Award for Best Use of Bespoke Music)
For more top industry tips click here
Written by Sazrah
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Dylan Berry is a seasoned composer who has composed, licensed, supervised and managed music for hundreds of media productions including some of the top rated shows on television.
He has cleverly started a company that employs talented composers to create custom music for his pipeline clients which range from comedy and fitness DVD's to the biggest shows on television today. Smash Haus Music Group is his company - a top Hollywood composing team investing in shows such as MTV Movie Awards, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Kevin Hart Laugh at my Pain and many more.
Dylan is qualified to lead the charge because he has 'been there, done that' on the highest level. He has composed the themes for The Sing Off, America's Best Dance Crew, Root Sports Network, and provided custom music for American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and the Academy Awards.
I had a few questions for this music biz genius who I am happy to have the opportunity to work with in the near future. Interview below...
So Dylan! You're a composer, music supervisor and music manager. How do you find the time?
When you run a business that is a "music solution" you end up wearing many hats. I also really like each descipline though. They all play a different part of the noodle lobe!
Which job do you enjoy the most?
What is Smash Haus all about and how did you come up with the idea?
In navigating the entertainment industry from music to production to post production since I was a kid, I gained a high level view of the business, how it worked and where the opportunity could be.
I feel that the opportunity for musicians is to own their own businesses. Simply, we are the infrastructure that supports their businesses. We decided that every effort needs a helmsman who knows both music and production and I felt I could be of value in connecting the dots so that the magic is realised.
As a result we decided to merge the two by embedding our technology and A-list team of composers into production and post production environments as a brand-able internal music function.
We are essentially a music fulfillment partner that removes production company overhead, increases their workforce and creates value through music where loss currently existed which in turn increases jobs and composers income. It was a no brainer.
So...Do you feel TV music is a better career than composing for other artists?
I think this entire business of entertainment is about trust and who you know. If you are the best songwriter in the world and have no relationships, you will not likely succeed there. I see no difference in opportunity if you have the relationships that convert. That is why Smash Haus mobilised. When organised, we acquire the relationships that sustain our businesses. We 3 Musketeer it!
Any advice you want to give to upcoming musicians and producers?
I was hoping they could lend me some advice! They are what's next and I learn from them daily. We are all in this together.
Any projects you would like to talk about?
I'm kind of proud of the themes Noah Lifschey and I did for the Time Warner Sports Network (Sportnet, L.A. Lakers, Galaxy, Sparks, Access Sportsnet). Also the Root Sports Network Themes. I still totally dig the America's Best Dance Crew theme too. We beat the hell out of anything we could find in the studio to stomp that one out. But most of all I am glad to still be alive and make a living in this wacky business of maniacal rain makers and prodigal talents. I feel lucky to share time with crazy people.
And so do I...This must be how we met! Thank you for your time Dylan!
Tweet Dylan: www.twitter.com/smash_haus
Visit Dylan's company site: www.smashhaus.com
Written By Sazrah
Ben Monroe: LA's Top Producer
Many believe that these days it is impossible to make a living out of producing. One either does it as a hobby or a side job and others don't feel it is something to take seriously due to that fact that work isn't always guaranteed. Ben Monroe, a producer who grew up in St.Louis has managed to make music production his main job and is now living in LA working every day doing what he enjoys.
Ben is also known as Bevo xP (1/4 of xP Musik), and has triumphed the radio airways, composed music for MTV and worked with such artists as Rick Ross, Pimp C, Trey Songz and several more. "How does he do it?" I hear you ask! Well, I decided to find out.......
So Ben! When did you decide you wanted to become a producer and how did it all fall into place?
I started rapping at first in 1995 with a friend of mine name Myke Wayne. Besides, my dad being in the business already going on tour with Kool and the Gang, Color Me Badd, The Jacksons, Earth Wind and Fire! Myke was the first person I ever made music with. We started recording a bunch of songs together then ended up getting into production in 1999.
Who are the biggest names you have worked with?
As a recording engineer i've worked with tons of people. I've recorded Rick Ross, Bun B, Pimp C, David Banner, Future, Lil Boosie, Trey songz, Just Bleezy, J marz, Blis, Jung Tru, Gucci mane, Peetey Weestro, Ebony Eyez, Bobby Valentino, and many many more.
What is your secret to sustaining regular work as a producer?
I was taught 'an idle mind is a devils workshop'. So I stay busy by wearing many different hats in the industry. If i'm not recording vocals, im producing songs for people. If im not producing songs i'm mixing songs. If im not mixing im doing consulting for serveral projects helping people get their music out and heard!
What advice would you give up and coming producers and artists?
Do what you love and stay consistent at it. Always remember why you are in music and why you do it. And the most important thing is keep God first and learn something new everyday.
Yes! I strongly agree! What is the biggest highlight of your career and do you have any regrets?
I've had several big highlights! One of my first ones was working with the Trackboyz on Ebony Eyez project. That was my first time doing some music for a major label. At the time she was on Capitol Records. Also around the same time I produced a record called 'So Serious' for the All Stars feat. Styles P that helped them secure a distribution deal with Universal. That was a while ago but since then I have had other great accomplishments but these are the ones that started it all when I was around 18, 19 years old (im 31 now)!
Any projects you got coming up?
J Marz "The Underdog" mixtape, Bliss "I Want it All" mixtape coming soon, Peetey Weestro "Eyez Don't Lie" mixtape coming soon!
Thank You Ben and look forward to hearing more music from you in the future!
...Want to know more about Ben? Connect with him here
As you all know I am a huge fan of independent ladies doing well in the music industry, so it was only right that I interviewed Linda Harrison, a successful singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, self-marketer and merchandise maker!
Harrison self-manages her music career and is a true breath of fresh air in the money-driven, business-minded music industry that exists today. She has refused management and publishing deals to ensure she does everything the way SHE wants it. This is a young lady who is all about the music and the passion and you can hear this in her voice with every song she records or performs.
With a large online fan base and over one million YouTube hits, Harrison is set to release ‘Overexposure’ on September 10th 2012 as the first in a series of self-penned singles.
I expect all my musical readers of this blog are wondering ‘How does she do it?’ - I felt the same when I first read about her - but all will be revealed in my interview with Harrison. I had to ask her ‘Why?’ ‘How?’ and ‘What does the future hold?’ Here’s her response:
Sazrah: How would you describe yourself to somebody who does not know anything about you or your music?
Harrison: I get asked this question a lot. I usually say that I’m a pop artist but with a hell of a lot of aggression and attitude. I can’t avoid singing with passion, so it ends up being a really intense experience. So yeah, if anyone asked, I’m aggressive pop, I’m into fashion and technology and I’m really trying to bring that into my shows as well.
You have over a million YouTube hits. How has YouTube helped you?
YouTube gave me so much confidence. I was 15 or 16 when I first put my video up - a song cover. I got so many nice comments, but within an hour I had over 100 views. I thought, ‘ Wow, that’s really cool’ at first, but then I forgot about it because I kinda thought my covers were cringey, and I felt uncomfortable with people watching them. It wasn’t until later when I was in a class about marketing music that the teacher asked, ‘Has anyone released their music and marketed it?’ and I eventually put up my hand. I was quite shy in a classroom full of people. I said how I had uploaded my music onto iTunes and had marketed it through YouTube. But I had no idea that was actually what I had done until the second he said it - he made me realise that is where my sales are coming from, because people are watching it on YouTube, then they’re buying it. He made me show the class one of my videos and it had 25,000 hits and I hadn’t even thought about how big it was until I saw the classes’ reaction. I then began to picture all the different people sitting in their houses watching my video and that just feels amazing. YouTube has changed a lot since when I started, it is harder to get those kind of views. But it really gave me a big boost. It’s made a difference to my career.
‘Overexposure’ is your single due for release in September. You usually only release singles, don’t you. Why?
The music industry has changed. I know the money is coming in from my singles at the moment. So I am sticking to singles to build up fans and use the money from my singles to make a good album. OK, I could do an album in the home studio but it’s not going to be what I want it to be. I need the money to work with the right people to help create the sound that I want to create. I want to do it properly.
I’ve heard when you release an album you want it to be a movie. What is that all about?
Not just the music industry has changed but everybody’s life has changed. Even myself as a lover of music - I don’t have the time to sit down and listen to an album. But yet I still find the time to go and see a film. You know, I love Rihanna, so don’t get me wrong on this, but every song on her album is like a single. And an album, to me, needs to be a story and an artistic journey. Like now, I am releasing singles to get some excitement going and perform them. But those singles shouldn’t necessarily be on an album. If I put them all on an album it would proabably be a compilation.
You’ve refused management and publishing deals. Why is this?
They weren’t right for me.
So it wasn’t a case of blocking them out as a whole, it was just the deals itself that you didn’t want?
Yeah, well, I was blocking them out because I didn’t feel that they were the right people. I didn’t feel like they fully understood where I wanted to take things. It felt like they were trying to pull me in different directions. I’m willing to compromise to an extent because you should collaborate and that is how you are going to get the greatest impact, but they just weren’t offering me what I needed. Also, I do so much myself that they were offering me stuff that I already do! So it’s like, you know what? I want to do it myself, and once I have done most of it myself, maybe I can do it the whole way on my own. I’m hoping that maybe I can do it the whole way on my own and I can get a business doing something like that amongst myself still, but as a major artist. You know, billboards, magazines, whatever. I still want the whole advertising side of it but on my own terms.
…..which leads nicely to my next question. You have your own fashion label, you’re into music and movies. Do you have a big plan to bring them all together?
I do. I think when I combine them fully, I think of a live show, though. What I really get a kick out of is community, when you get hundreds of thousands of people in one space. Every time I see a gig, it doesn’t matter who is playing - it’s like, I’m almost in tears just with the sheer buzz from it all. So my dream would be to do a 3D show, use all the latest technology and try and get to every person in that audience.
My very best friend is disabled and I often sit with him in the disabled area. You just don’t feel it anywhere near how you do when you are standing in that crowd. And one of the things I want to do is make it better for those disabled people and to get them. Or to get to those people that couldn’t afford tickets closer to the stage. So maybe I could fly up there, you know, I don’t know yet! It would be something good coming together and it would all be very visual. I think you need to grab people with everything and immerse them into something really exciting.
What is the biggest regret of your music career so far?
With my music career, I don’t think I have any regrets. I mean, when I turned down a specific deal and then the next year I wasn’t much further, someone said, ‘Oh I bet you wish you took that deal now' - and I thought, actually, no. ’Cos my music has developed and I have developed. If I signed it back then, I would have been a copy of Pink or a copy of Katy Perry. I know who I am. I maybe regret bumping into a couple of people who had perhaps slowed me down or held me back in my career for a little bit, but, hey, what can you do.
And your best decision?
By sheer luck I have made quite a lot of the right decisions. Like uploading YouTube videos - I think that gave me such a boost. Maybe going to LA for a bit. That helped my life, maybe less for my music.
...But you learnt a lot about you, which is what you put into your music...
Exactly! It has just been magic, the way everything has happened. Every time I think something goes wrong, I get a realisation as to why it happened later. Like there was this one thing I really really, really wanted and I lost it and I was gutted at the time and cried for days. And then a year later I saw something and I realised that the person who won the opportunity I’d lost wasn’t living the life I wanted to be living – and that is what I would have ended up with.
As a producer, I’m really into females in the industry because it is so male-dominated. So my last question is, if you could work with any female in the industry, who would it be?
ha ha wow I always think of men when I think of this question! D’ya know what? Just for childhood reasons I would love to work with Pink , work with her voice. I’ve seen her live a couple of times and that gravel in her voice. I’m just like WOAH! I think I would really enjoy working with her. It would be interesting to work with Lady Gaga too, just to see what working with somebody like that would be like - but I think I would be scared at how similar we are, maybe.
Thank you, Harrison
After interviewing Harrsion in Shoreditch, I watched her perform and was blown away. She managed to take me out of my thoughts and be a part of her and her thoughts and feelings with every word she was singing. It felt like time stood still and I could feel the passion in her voice. Not only does she sing, she mixes in with the audience, she gets involved with the instruments on stage, she brings out the beat with her movements and characteristics and brings out the emotion with her beautiful, warm, husky voice.
To keep up-to-date with all things Harrison CLICK BELOW:
Her Website: LindaHarrisonMusic.com
Her facebook: LindaHarrisonMusic
Her Twitter: @lindamusic
Sazrah is a UK music producer who has composed music for BBC 1xtra, Film, Catwalk and famous artists. Her blogs are about upcoming artists, music industry tips and general chit chat!