For many years, music producer Richard Robson has collaborated actively with JES on most of her greatest hits. Certainly, he can analyze the artistry of the prolific singer from a broad viewpoint. Get to know him better through this interview, where he reveals exclusive details regarding his past works, the recording process, and much more. Personally, I think the good chemistry between them is what brings good results to their projects. Learn more below.
1 – Do you remember the first track you produced for JES?
Were working over the internet on some ideas for her debut album ‘Disconnect’. JES texted me about a song she had a song for Tiësto’s ‘Elements Of Life’ album called “Everything” and asked if I could help her finish off the vocal production. There was a hard deadline for the album and they needed the song the next day. We worked through the night sending clips back and forth exchanging ideas over text and calls and just managed to get it all finished in time. Even under all that pressure, JES was only worried about whether she felt it was living up to her own expectations. It was very inspiring to work with someone who was able to focus on the creative aspect of the music and not succumb to the stress of the deadline!
2 – How did it come about?
I was introduced to JES through two producers that I worked with on a few different projects in London. They were based in LA and had started working on her debut album for Black Hole. They asked me to contribute some production ideas from my studio in Barcelona. Through that introduction, I started working over the internet on tracks for the album, as well as collaborations with JES and other DJs. We had been re-working together for a long time before we finally met in LA!
3 – What kind of gear you got in the recording studio?
We have a great studio in LA now which we’ve been developing for the last few years. It has a smaller writing and production room, a medium-sized mixing and mastering space, and a third large recording room and control room. There’s a good selection of equipment across the facility and our partner in the studio is Avalon Design, so we have a great selection of Avalon equipment. We like to use a wide variety of gear for inspiration so there’s never one formula or chain. A few of the mics we regularly use for vocals are, Neuman U47, Telefunken AK47, Brauner Phantom Custom and we use mic pre’s from Avalon, UTA, API and Neve, Retro Instruments. We mainly record and produce in Pro Tools, although we also use Logic and Ableton as well for production and writing. Aside from the analog equipment we also use a lot of software and I particularly like the Universal Audio, FabFilter, Valhalla and Waves plug-ins on her vocals. We also have a wide range of instruments as JES often starts writing her songs on piano or guitar.
4 – In your opinion, is there any specific genre or instrumentation that fits JES’ vocals so well?
JES has a wide emotional range in her voice so she’s versatile with different genres. Her voice blends very well with acoustic instruments and synths, which you can see in songs like “Fall Into You” where the song modulates from being very acoustic in timbre to being very synth-heavy in the drop.
5 – Why do you think JES has taken a Dance Pop direction lately?
JES loves to keep re-inventing her sound so she releases a lot of different music. If you check out her catalog on Apple Music/Spotify she has over 700 releases across a wide variety of genres. We both enjoy the challenge of working in different genres, it stretches you as an artist and helps you to grow. It’s very important to keep developing your style to stay inspired to keep your creative energy levels up.
6 – Are you still inspired to produce fresh Trance music?
Totally! It’s always a huge thrill in the studio when a song starts to come together and everyone can feel that it’s something special. Recently we were working on her Beatport #1 collaboration with Aly & Fila “I Won’t Let You Fall” and after trying a few different ideas for the chorus JES just sang it down in one take and we all felt it immediately. The excitement when the music hits you and everyone feels the goosebumps never wears off!
I’ve lost count, but there’s a lot of them out there under some of my remix names like Twisted Disko, Hampton Chills, and Coco Chanel.
8 – Which one is your favorite? Why?
That’s a hard one to answer, but I often hear people say that they love the Twisted Disko Remix of Allure ft. JES – Show Me The Way. We’ve also got a beautiful chill-out remix of We Belong To The Night coming out before the end of the year so look out for that one too.
7 – Can you reveal to us your creative process when it comes to making new songs?
We don’t have a specific process or formula for new songs. The deciding factor is always that we both have to agree that it’s a good idea, which doesn’t always happen! Some of the songs have come from an inspiring sound or chord progression. Sometimes JES writes the whole song on piano or guitar and we’ll start working on it from those core parts. We always try to focus on the song before the production gets underway and make sure that we both believe in the song 100 percent before we get into producing it.
8 – Do you also participate in the songwriting phase?
Yes, we’ve written a lot of songs together including some JES’ best-known tracks like “High Glow” (Taxigirl/Tiesto), “Awaken” (JES) and “Show Me The Way” (Allure & JES).
9 – How flexible is JES when making decisions? Who has the last word in the studio?
The producer’s job is to deliver the perfect outcome for everyone. The artist’s vision needs to be realized in a way that satisfies them, and the label needs to get what they want as well. JES is always driven by the sense and emotion of the song. She has a great instinct for that, so I would always follow her lead and try to find a way to make everything else work around it. The emotion is the most important part, everything else has to fit around that.
In JES’s own words… Never Give Up! There’s a commitment to both the craft and the art that gives her songs a timeless quality that goes beyond being caught in a particular style or era. Fashion is always changing, but quality can transcend that and JES maintains that crucial quality in her songs which means they’ll always reach people and have a place in their hearts.
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Steve Marinangeli Reveals Details On Debut Album, ‘Hidden Thoughts’ — Interview
23-year-old Steve Marinangeli is a rapidly rising indie artist who has topped the Luxembourg iTunes Top Songs chart twice. This success is due to the fact that he writes and sings songs close to his heart. The way he connects with listeners through his intimate lyrics is simply outstanding. Not to mention, his first two singles resonate with daily experiences that lead you to meditate on his words. If this sounds interesting, learn more about his upcoming debut album down here, which is coming out in 2021.
1 – What’s the name of your upcoming debut album? Do you have a release date yet?
The name of my upcoming debut album is ‘Hidden Thoughts.’ I’m still working on the album so I don’t have a release date yet.
2 – What came first the music or the lyrics?
The lyrics came first. For most of my songs, I already had the perfect situation in my head and wrote it down. A lot of the lyrics I’ve written are very personal so that made it easier for me.
3 – What’s the overall theme of this material?
The overall theme of the album is kind of a self-reflecting concept. It’s gonna be a very personal album that will describe struggles, sadness, and dark thoughts, but they will all turn into something positive, good, and uplifting. The message I wanna put out with the album ‘Hidden Thoughts’ is, “No matter how down you are, there is always a way out. It’s okay not to be okay. You are not alone!” There will be a lot of more sad/slow songs on the album, but overall I just think they will fit perfectly in the theme of the album.
Since now, I have a few songs which put me in a good mood, like for example, “It’s You,” “Dance with Me,” and “Under The Moonlight.” I won’t give away too much yet though.
5 – How did lockdown affect you artistically?
Surprisingly, the lockdown was kind of a positive trigger for me artistically, cause it made me start writing lyrics. I‘ve spent a lot of time during the lockdown to get even more into music and discover more different genres of music. During lockdown then, I started writing my own lyrics and with the help of other people (singers, producers, etc.) we transformed the lyrics into music and created some songs.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists on this project?
Yes, I did. It was hard for me to begin and take the first steps in the business, so I had the company YourSongmaker helping me with my first few songs. They turned my words and lyrics into some fantastic songs and they have a brilliant team, so thanks to David and their team. I also was looking for other ways to make music so I was looking for singers, producers, mixing and mastering engineers by myself and I’ve been in talks for some interesting collabs for the next songs.
7 – Who is your latest single “It’s You” dedicated to?
I didn’t have any specific person in mind when I wrote the song “It’s You.” I put myself into the position of being in love and having the feeling of loving someone very much and transformed it into a song. It was more general as I didn’t have someone specific I thought about. It’s certainly a song with which a lot of people can identify.
8 – When you created these songs do you have the American audience in mind or do you think it’s more oriented to European listeners?
Well, that‘s difficult to say. I didn’t focus on a specific territory while writing and creating music. My music is available for everyone to listen to. My debut song “Rescue Me” had more success in Europe, while my second single “Sacrifice” had also some success in the US and South America. My music should be there for everyone to listen to, appreciate and love, with no exceptions whatsoever.
9 – How would you describe your music to someone that hasn’t heard it before?
For me, it’s hard to already put my music into a definite genre because I‘m still in the process of finding my own sound and thinking in what genre, my music fits the best. Right now, it fits definitely in the Pop genre, sometimes a bit more slow, dark, sad Pop songs, sometimes a bit more upbeat, and funky. I do have some musical influences which are Westlife, OneRepublic, and Bruno Mars for example, but I wanna create a unique sound so that people immediately know, oh yeah that‘s a song by Steve Marinangeli, a bit like in the case with Billie Eilish. Everyone immediately recognizes a Billie Eilish song because they are so unique.
10 – Finally, What do you love the most about your followers?
I love most about my followers, that they support me and my music and that they are open to listening to my music. They support me so well and even though I’m not very known. They helped me reach 2 No. 1 iTunes singles here in Luxembourg already which is unbelievable for me. They are just the best and I can’t wait to see what can still happen in the future. I‘m very grateful for the fans I got, and I love them!
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Exclusive Interview: The Story Of DJ/Producer Jacob Colon
Jacob Colon has been working his way up the musical ladder for some years now, coming from humble beginnings in his local church band before discovering House music and falling in love with the genre. He taught himself how to DJ and produce and has since released some sensational tunes such as “Bliss” and “I Want My House Music.” Now he has his very own imprint and renowned radio show called ‘Made To Move’. We caught up with Jacob to find out more about his story and how he got to where he is today.
1 — Tell us about the very first moment you discovered your love for music?
I started my musical journey in a church band when I was in my teens. I played the keyboard along with 4 other musicians. While playing in the band, I taught myself how to use the workstation within the keyboard. Luckily for me, my mother used to clean the church and had the keys to get in when nobody was there. Therefore, I would use her keys to get into the church and record beats all night in the keyboard. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to save my work, so I would turn off the keyboard when I was done and delete all my work. During this time is when my passion and love for music began to grow.
2 — What was the first instrument you ever tried to learn?
My aunt purchased me a toy keyboard when I was young. Though I wasn’t playing like Beethoven just yet, it sparked my interest in instruments. I played the oboe in a school band but later continued playing the piano.
3 — What type of music were you brought up listening to?
Growing up, I always heard my parents playing music that was released back in the ’70s and ’80s. They listened to guys like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and other RnB, soulful artists. When I began playing in the church band, I listened to a lot of gospel, alternative rock, and jazz.
4 — How did you continue to progress your talent as you grew older?
Practice makes perfect.
5 — When did you decide that you were going to pursue a career in music?
After I started making my first beats, I knew music was what I was made for.
6 — Tell us about your first ever gig?
My first party was at a lounge/restaurant type of venue. Of course, because it was my first gig, I invited the whole entire world and made it a huge deal!
7 — Who were your musical role models growing up?
When I first got into the music scene, I started producing hip hop and RnB music. I wasn’t a DJ at the time, so my influences came from producers like JUSTICE League, Alicia Keys, Scott Storch, and Swiss Beatz.
8 — How has your life experiences impacted your music?
Life is a marathon. The bumps in the road are all a part of the path you need to take to win.
9 — What goals have you achieved so far?
The goal is always to be the best I can be at what I do. Thus far, the biggest accomplishment I’ve had was charting #1 on Billboard’s Best Dance Song list with a remix that I produced with Crystal Waters and Sted-E & Hybrid Heights.
10 — What piece of advice you would tell your younger self when you were first embarking on music?
Don’t stress about where you currently are. Continue to strive because your later self will be grateful you did what you did.
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CDJ Discusses Music Career And His Newest Song “Mama” In Interview
With a career that’s spanned the best part of a decade, CDJ aka “The Godfather” is widely recognized for his smooth swag, making full use of his storytelling abilities. In this new interview, he talks about his career and the new single, “Mama”. Recently, he’s focused to put social consciousness at the forefront through music. Learn more below.
1 – Were you always a natural singer or did you get trained?
I’ve always loved performing in front of a crowd from a very young age. Back then I enjoyed imitating different rappers and singers that were quite trendy, you know the likes of Prince, KRS, etc. It’s something that came naturally to me, however when I decided to become a full-time artist I took some coaching to polish my skills because I felt that there were some aspects that were still raw.
2 – Why people call you “The Godfather”?
The moniker was given to me by one of my fellow musicians after a gig. He’s like, “why do you always act like you’re the godfather”. I think he meant my mannerism and how I deal with my band members. Whether it’s true or not I can’t say, but nevertheless, the name has stuck.
3 – As an artist, have you achieved financial security in the music industry?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to achieve financial security. There was a time when I was pretty close to reaching that goal, but at the moment with this pandemic, it is almost impossible for artists to have some kind of economic stability. I hope things get better soon as we are all finding it difficult to make ends meet.
4 – What is the most rewarding thing about your career?
Working with people from different walks of life, especially the creative exchange with people of different backgrounds. You never stop learning from others, it’s about feelings and emotions put in the right perspective, plus having the chance to send a positive message and to accept all living entities on this planet with all the different value systems at hand. I get a chance to raise my voice against injustice, discrimination, and all those stifling isms, last but not least, the overwhelming love and support from my fans.
5 – Who inspired you to become CDJ?
Revolutionary individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Bob Marley, or Allende were inspiring. Critical minds that stood and made themselves count in a society full of inequity. Musically, a childhood friend who could play different instruments with ease – I looked up to him. My parents were not in the entertainment business, nevertheless, they inspired me subconsciously by introducing me to great music of the flower power generation; jazz of the highest quality; sweet soul, and David Bowie.
6 – Is your music influenced by contemporary trends or is it something else?
My music is shaped by modern trends in the music scene and our society in general. It is also influenced by modern trends in electronic, hip-hop, and house, at the same time the mind-set of the musicians in the ’60s has left a mark. Sometimes, I feel I’m guided by some abstract fountain of energy.
7 – What keeps you motivated when it comes to writing lyrics?
Lyrics are something like my mouthpiece, they give me a chance to reach an incredible number of people. My environment, my surrounding, and the people I interact with on a day-to-day basis also fire me up. Fact of the matter is that as an artist you have lyrics on your mind 24/7, it comes naturally without giving it much thought. I simply observe what’s happening around me, this kick starts a process of lyrical exploration.
8 – Why people must listen to your new single, “Mama”?
To reflect on the present situation in the world, this is something we just forgot to do too often. It’s about the changes we are going through and how we interact with ourselves and nature.
“Mama” talks about the need to respect our ecosystem, in other words, all that has been presented to us by the universe. The slow destruction of our planet is at the heart of the song and the dawn of the era of the Anthropocene.
9 – Who is this song dedicated to?
It is dedicated to “Mama,” meaning Mother Nature, which is actually where it all starts. If you like, some kind of a reminder that we have been given all we need, but we still haven’t learned how to allocate our resources, instead we have created an imbalance on the planet. “Mama” is also about the mothers of the world including mine, those who give life and illuminate the world.
10 – What’s next for CDJ in the next months?
We have an album in the pipeline with the working title ‘The Source’, so we need to put the final touches on that. I’ll release a track or two on my various platforms to keep my fans engaged.
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Exclusive Interview: Maybon On His New Track “Joyride” And Music Production
I had the pleasure to interview Norwegian electronic artist and producer Maybon about his radio-friendly Dance-Pop number “Joyride,” which is a collaborative effort with Rainage and Skylike. This new track provides a surging dose of ear-worm inducing, feel-good vibes in mere seconds. In addition, he opens up about his music production preferences and more. Continue reading below.
1 – When you started producing music?
I was so young the first time I played around with production. I think the very first time I opened some music production software, I was maybe around 10 years old. I didn’t understand much, but I managed to create some simple melodies. It was not until later when I was 14-15 years old, that I started more seriously with music production.
2 – What different emotions evoke your new single “Joyride”?
“Joyride” is a song that gives me a feeling of happiness and it takes me back to good memories during the summer. This is really nice as we enter these darker and colder times here in Norway.
3 – What did you learn from this collaboration with Rainage and Skylike?
I learned a lot about their workflow, as well as the techniques they use when they’re working. Like how to create different patterns and rhythms on the guitar, from the initial chord progression.
4 – Is there a message behind the lyrics of “Joyride”?
The message in the lyrics is to think back to better days when you are feeling down.
5 – Where was this new song recorded?
The song was written at our school (Limpi) in Lillehammer and was later recorded properly at Need Music in Oslo.
6 – Do you have any favorite set of equipment, tools or software in the studio?
This switches once in a while, but right now I’m really enjoying Roli’s Seaboard. This is a keyboard that is unlike no other, and you can get unique music progressions right away. It works flawlessly with Logic Pro X, and other plugins like Pigments, Equator, and more. Also, I have my trustworthy Roland JU-06, to give me those smooth and warm synth patches.
7 – What’s the process you go through finding the perfect sound?
For me, it’s always a lot of tweaking, but I also believe that if you end up tweaking for too long, the foundation is not good enough. So to me, it’s about knowing when to change the melody or idea, and when to settle with the sound that you have made.
8 – What’s an unexpected collaboration you dream of? Why?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Calvin Harris lately, and seeing the way he manages to switch between styles and still making bangers is really inspiring to me. A session with him would be CRAZY!
9 – How do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
During the next 10 years, I hope to see myself as a well-established producer with a nice studio, and a vast range of songwriters to work with.
10 – What makes you want to keep producing music?
The endless inspiration from the endless opportunities! A lot of songs look alike these days, but you can really dig deep and create something new by experimenting without boundaries.
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Meet Nathan Daniels, A Brilliant Musician In The Balearic Islands — Interview
Nathan Daniels is a brilliant composer, producer, and musician based in the Balearic Islands. The new single “I Choose” walks a fine line between modern RnB and Soul with Pop nuances. In this exclusive interview, you will discover the way this South African artist works and essential information about his instantly-catchy anthem that recently topped the UK iTunes R&B Charts. Happy reading!
1 – For newcomers, how would you best describe your sound?
I offer feel-good-music with influences of Soul, R&B, Motown, Funk, Sophisticated Pop, and Jazz.
2 – What do you think motivated you to write a song like “I Choose”?
I came to realise that not only is there more gratification in giving than receiving, but even if you do decide to do the right thing, it does not exempt you from life’s challenges. I think that these challenges are designed to help you become a better you.
3 – How would you interpret the story behind the music video?
The music video aims to speak about the obstacles one faces when taking on a project, or setting in motion a strategy for reaching a goal. Once we start we are fired up and much sooner than later we hit obstacles that leave us frustrated and demotivated. But if we keep our eyes on the prize it helps us to refocus, and we find what we need to overcome them and we come out better on the other side.
4 – Who are your main inspirations?
My wife (she has a killer attitude for staying positive no matter what), John Legend and Lionel Richie (Composing & Songwriting), Brian McKnight (stage presence) & Michael Bublé (how he manages his career).
5 – Do you have a favorite place to write your songs?
I would exactly say I have a favourite place but my favourite time to write is in the middle of the night when everything is quiet in the house.
Yes. I have been fortunate to have quite a few weeks of daily shows back to back.
7 – How is life in sunny Spain? Is there an active music scene?
Spain is a fantastic place to live. The Mediterranean cuisine is exactly what the body needs and sunsets are breathtaking. Living on an island makes all the above even more amazing. The music scene is quite active and if Latin music is your style then it’s definitely the place to be.
The Brothers Of Soul started performing around 2003. Since then we’ve been entertaining tourists of all ages. We have some followers that came when they were kids, bringing their kids to see our shows and I find that really wows me when I think of it. Of course, the music we offer (Motown and Soul hits) does the job of putting everyone in a fantastic mood, but I sincerely think that the connection we make with the audience is a wonderful experience that makes them come back for more.
I’ve started on my next single that should be out around the end of November and then I’m enjoying the holiday season with my family. I’d like a beautiful snowy destination… maybe even learn how to ski.
10 – If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
A bit of a tough one. I love people and creative solutions. I guess I’d be doing something motivational. Another passion of mine is helping others discover their hidden talents and help them sharpen it and see the masterpieces unfold. I might even have been a great landscaper, or maybe that’s just my wife’s way of getting me to mow the lawn regularly.
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