Part 1: Yesterday
I’m living the dream. My screen shot looks like a jet-setter’s dessert menu, a collection of exotic treats to be consumed with enthusiasm and moderation.
Ever wonder what the dream looks like? Let’s pull back the curtain to see what the Wiz is up to.
Today’s workload was relatively light and pressure free. Got up 6 AM to exercise on my bike…and still hadn’t ridden nearly 19 hours later. New York is three hours ahead, so I decided to have a quick chat with my web designer before she’d get buried beneath the pile of other duties on her desk.
My next task was pitching another New Yorker an article for Pro Sound News. There are multiple plates spinning, so I memorialized the chat in a detailed email to remind us where we left off. Before I knew it, a couple hours passed. I thought, “I better get outside before it’s too late.”
I step into the garage to prep my bicycle and right away I receive an email from my client, Rotimikeys, telling me that he’s having trouble uploading audio files. I went back inside to check my server, and learned that the problem was on his end. He’s eight hours ahead, in Lagos, Nigeria. We sort out the problem just as the phone rings.
I take the call from David Demeter of Drum Lab. We have a detailed discussion about an upcoming workshop related to drum mic’ing and mixing. Lunchtime rolls around and I still haven’t ridden or mixed a single note.
Fast forward to a dinner meeting. Delicious vegetarian Indian curry with an interesting, talented and charming recording engineer… Had fun, returned to studio, figured out why Rotimikeys’ files weren’t downloading from wetransfer. It’s after midnight for me, and a brand new day in Lagos.
The files get here a few minutes later. I load them into Pro Tools to make sure that they are in good shape. I email Rotimikeys to confirm that I’ll be able to hit the ground running in 12-ish hours.
I’m living the dream. It’s going to be a long day.
Part 2: Today
It feels like it’s still yesterday. Woke early again to do east coast biz. Rode bike for 90 minutes. Did a conference call with a boutique pro audio manufacturer regarding a three-part press feature connected to the upcoming release of my album.
1:30 PM rolls around and I’m finally mixing a record. It’s a Gospel tune with great musicians…and nearly 100 audio tracks. Plus it’s over five minutes long. Eight hours later, I upload an MP3 of the mix for comments.
If the producer, artist and label approve it, I’m done. I already printed instrumental and a capella stems (submixes), just in case it’s a wrap. If not, I will receive an email with comments, and I’ll print a revision.
Waiting for comments is the toughest part of international jobs. I’m not thrilled about making minuscule subjective changes at midnight, and I’ll bet that the Nigerians are not jumping for joy at the prospect of critical listening and note-taking before sucking down their morning cup o’ java.
Even though the workdays are long and I need to be “on” the entire time, this is the best job on the planet for my personality type. I’m grateful that there are folks in this world who are willing to go the extra mile to work together. As long as they are not complaining about the late nights and early mornings, neither will I.
I’m reminded of the cliche: “Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.”
So you want to be a record producer? I do.