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)
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Written by Sazrah
www.facebook.com/sazrahproducer <-subscribe to my blogs here
Many music enthusiasts express the fact that all music sounds the same these days. A lot of new artists will do anything to fit into the industry, even if it includes losing their own identity and passion for the arts. But not Kenny Wesley. He shows his musical influences in his work and is a breath of fresh air for you music lovers. Critics say has firmly placed his stamp on the burgeoning modern Soul movement.
He is known as the soulful nerd with the huge voice. ”My mom said I came out the womb screaming, and I’ve been screaming ever since!” he jests. The North Carolina born, D.C. based artist has just finished a game-changing album with L.A. based producer Noah Lifschey. Lifschey’s signature cutting-edge sounds are a staple in the TV and music world, ranging from So You Think You Can Dance? to the MTV Movie and Music Awards and various record labels. ”Noah and I want this album to serve as an authentic alternative to the traditional, watered-down R&B. We comin’ with that fatback. That stank, raw soul music, wrapped in a progressive, modern gift wrap.”
His album "The Real Thing" is due to be released in the first quarter of this year! One of my favourite songs of his is 'Feels Good' as I love the whole vibe and head bopping groove!
The new single 'The Window' is available now on iTunes. Listen to it here and if you like, get to buying it!!
When not performing or recording, Wesley works as a freelance interpreter/translator and language instructor. ”I speak Spanish and French fluently and can converse in a few other languages. I visualize and approach music and languages the exact same way; they’re more connected than many would think”.
Connect with Wesley:
Written By Sazrah
Yes! The rumors are true. Missy Elliott really is back after 7 years and has hit her fans hard by releasing not ONE but TWO songs, titled 9th Inning & Triple Threat (OUT NOW so go grab your copies from iTunes).
I cannot wait for the album to drop. Everybody who went to school with me will know I have always been a massive fan of Missy Elliott and her music. She is the reason I am a producer and songwriter today! Her music inspires me at every level. As I state in my YouTube interview, the fact Missy has shown support for me and my musical dream via twitter is the ultimate blessing and keeps me going. I could go on forever about why I love Missy but let me introduce todays blog!
#KeepMusicReal is my hashtag for today because Missy brought up a point I have been thinking about for ages!
Missy's fans (also known as #MEaddicts) have been voicing how various stations are not accepting their requests to play Missy’s two comeback tunes. Elliott is a HUGELY, well-known, respected musician with millions of followers and has worked with the biggest artists in the game. She has always stayed true to her hip hop roots and has every right to be blasted on every station like before. But it seems today the industry is less about the talent and truth, and more about forcing listeners to grow accustomed to nonsense by recycling trash & replaying it until people find it catchy. Does this mean Missy is going to 'change' to fit the pop music world like some other hip hoppers have been doing? Hell no.
In response to @9thWonderofPR,who was describing how he stands by Missy and refuses to settle for the ‘bubblegum and foolery’ the stations are pushing today, Missy stated:
‘Good music has become bad music and bad music is good music now smh! They not giving ppl what they want 2 hear. But hey I change music, always been ahead of time and I will continue 2 be and ppl will have 2 catch up! But it is something str8 that's happening behind the scenes that's blocking real music from being played. That's why y’all have to flood the radio stations to so u force them to start playing different styles of music’ @MissyElliott
Amen. This does NOT mean just Hip Hop, it means but ALL styles people! This is why I chose present on AfroVibesShow home of African music! And this is why I have happily agreed to be a judge on local urban and world music talent show Bling_Ya_Ting! Because it helps support REAL music.
Let's help spread this message! Don’t just listen to real music, share it, request it. #KeepMusicReal. Let’s lift these talented artists up from underground and into todays mainstream culture. Let's make them as big as Missy has made herself, just by being herself.
How does Missy do it?
Not only does Missy hit you musically but she hits you visually. When I was a kid and even NOW, when I listen to a good song, I imagine a crazy video in my head. So as you can imagine, when I first discovered Missy Elliott I was over the moon. I thought ‘FINALLY! Somebody else with crazy ideas that has actually made them a reality’ and it gave me hope. To me, she is the only artist apart from MJ who I feel goes that extra mile to make her music-video’s unique and timeless! The only music-videos I have ever bought on iTunes are Missy's, Ludacris' and MJ's. Standing out as an individual is the most important thing any of you can do.
ShaiRai from Mean Girlz Media said to me via Skype:
'I can tell that Missy hasn’t been tainted by the industry. I can tell she kept a lot of her real friends around her from the time when she was struggling, to now. Her same crew is around her and it keeps her a grounded person. And I feel like a lot of people lose sight of just being able to connect to real people.'
So artists - don’t be afraid to fulfill those crazy ideas and just be YOU and stick with those you love and trust. And musicians - stick to your passion and do what you enjoy. Help inspire others visually. I used to get excited and choreograph dances to Missy's tracks and teach them to my friends at school because her music just makes me move. I want to get that feeling again and from more artists and I bet you do too!
Don't forget to request Missy's music on all your local radio stations!! Missy is going to spread the word and YOU CAN TOO!!!
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!