4 Key Ingredients to a Pro Music Production

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Contributed by songwriter/producer and musicprenuer, Seth Mosley

Here are my 4 key ingredients to a pro music production. These will help your tracks to be radio-ready and to get the attention of music industry professionals.





1. A great vocal performance. Do not skimp on this part. A lot of producers are lazy on the front end because of tools like auto tune and melodyne. Do not make this mistake. Spend time getting the right gain structure, environment and mix for the singer, and helping coach them to great performances. You can always edit on the back end, but you're only as good as what you've captured on the front end.


2. Musically tight editing. I often find this to be the biggest factor that separates amateur from pro music producers. The best producers are often the best editors. And they know how to edit and make the listener think it's not even edited. It's about tuning vocals musically and naturally. It's about keeping drums hitting tight on the grid and locking the bass right in with the kick drum. It's this attention to detail that solves phase issues and makes the job of the mixer (or Yourself if you are the mixer) easier. Which leads me to point 3:


3. The right mix. Note that I didn't say, "a great mix". The right mix isn't always the most sonically "by the book". Some of my favorite records have drum sounds that aren't necessarily all that special, but they are right for the song. A couple great rock mix examples of this are The Killers "When You Were Young", and FalloutBoy smash hit "Sugar, we're going down". Neither of these huge hits are examples of the most clean, crisp, sampled, polished mixes. Instead, they are all about attitude and vibe. The mixers knew that their best contribution would be to serve the songs, which the artists created to be "dirty" and imperfect. Don't use templates or presets or formulas. Make the mix serve the song first.


4. Simplicity. I often find with the most talented artists I work with, that the hard work isn't about adding new elements. It's about which ones to take away. A lot of big pop records nowadays really just have a few important sounds that make up the track. Lean into space and sparse-ness. Sometimes it's good to even give yourself limits. Ie - pretend you only have 44 tracks to work with total, just like an old-school console mix. Or if you're daring enough, try 24! You might be surprised what you'll find. Remember, less is usually more.



A lot of people wonder why we don't keep our tricks a secret. After all, isn't the "secret sauce" what makes you unique as a producer?


We have the opposite mentality at Full Circle Music. I say, give all of the secrets away. Each of us is going to put our unique spin on the tools that we have, which after all, really aren't a secret anyway in this day of the internets. :)


Your own unique spin IS the secret sauce. It can't be stolen, and it can't be taught.
What I love is simply teaching the tools. 


There are no formulas to making a hit, but there are certainly some guideposts that, when built off of, can provide a great structure for producing hit records.

We have gone over 4 key production concepts and the one that most people usually struggle with is #3 – Getting A Great Mix.  My team and I have put together a free course that will help you to nail the mix.  If you are interested in getting a copy of that click here.  

The GRAMMY® winning & Billboard Producer of the Year Seth Mosley stands as the mastermind behind some of the biggest hits in the CCM industry, helming No. 1 singles from for KING & COUNTRY (“Fix My Eyes”), Francesca Battistelli (“He Knows My Name”), Jeremy Camp (“He Knows”) and more in one year alone. Altogether, Mosley’s full-service production company, Full Circle Music, has contributed to over 20 No. 1 chart-topping songs and worked with artists, both signed and independent, including Skillet, Mat Kearney, TobyMac, Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Newsboys and country acts like High Valley, Ricky Skaggs and more. The team writes and produces an average of 150 songs each year in their Franklin, Tenn.-based studio. Mosley and group unveiled the music production school Full Circle Music Academy, FCM Records and FCM Songs with Dove Award winning Matt Hammitt as their first songwriter, followed by the signing of Riley Friesen. Focusing on crafting music for the future, Mosley is the curator of the Full Circle Music Podcast which sits down with industry icons.

Comments

Thanks Seth, I found this blog helpful. Martin