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Jobs 101: Music producer

Natasha Kwek


Published: 2 June 2015, 3:38 PM

Find out what it takes to become the next Beca Mitchell from Pitch Perfect.

Music producers have been gaining recognition recently, with Pitch Perfect shining a light on the art of creating music, and people like Calvin Harris and Martin Garrix forging a name for themselves in the music industry.

We caught up with Edric Hwang, music producer at Sync Studios, to give us some insight into his career.

Who: Edric Hwang, 28

Occupation: Music producer

Studied: Bachelor degree in recording arts at Full Sail University, Florida, USA

EDRIC AT HIS STUDIO

Tell us more about yourself.

I studied at Full Sail University in Florida and majored in recording arts, which is basically music production. While I was there, I also worked at a recording studio, and tried to get the most out of it.

My favourite food is chicken rice and laksa. When I was studying in America, I had cravings for local food.

What exactly does a music producer do?

I do a mix of producing and audio engineering. Artists come to me with their songs and we work towards getting a professional and commercially viable release for their track out in the market. We work on the song-writing, lyrics and instrumental arrangements.

I also mix and master the track. Mastering is the final process of balancing the track out so it will sound good on multiple playback systems. The music producer is interested in the foundation of the song, and reworking everything so that it gels together.

MUSIC PRODUCERS WORK AND REWORK A TRACK PHOTO CREDIT: EDRIC HWANG

What made you want to become a music producer?

I actually started out wanting to be an audio engineer; running the studio sessions, setting up the microphones, focusing on getting good sounds and tone.

As I worked with more people, I started doing arrangements, talking to artists about their songs and instruments. Gradually, I was almost arranging the entire track, so I dove straight into production.

You have worked with various international artists like Pentatonix and Hunter Hayes. What was that like?

I recorded a few tracks on their third album. Working with an act like Pentatonix was on an entirely different level. Not a lot of work was involved, because they already knew what to do to sound good. It was all about choosing the best performance out of a pool of already amazing performances. I was very nervous and intimidated in the beginning, but it was so much fun and they were really nice people.

Describe a typical day at work.

I usually get out of bed and maybe get breakfast, sit down and switch on my systems. I work on the arrangements and a little bit of mixing in the daytime because my clients usually record at night.

I might be working on drum tracks, writing guitar or bass parts and synthesizers, before sending the arrangements to clients. Sometimes my clients would come down in the evening to record their vocal parts.

BEING PART OF THE MUSIC SCENE IN SINGAPORE IS FULFILLING PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK.COM/EDRICHWANG

In your years as a music producer, how have you seen the local music scene change?

I was surprised at how fast the local music scene has evolved since I returned from America. We now hear more Singaporean acts making a name for themselves, not just within the country but in overseas music festivals and their tours across the region.

What advice do you have for youths interested in pursuing this career?

The biggest advice I would give is to not expect an easy road. You need to work very hard, and if your stuff is good, good things will definitely come your way.

This is not an industry that anyone not willing to work for it can dive into. The challenge is learning how to use the different types of producing equipment and softwares, and trying to be creative at the same time.

 

Educational requirements: No specific requirements, as music is a creative process where people go about it differently. Earning a degree in recording arts helps because it solidifies your technical foundation, so you can focus on the creative process.

Qualities required: Creative mind, sociable and amicable for networking.

Salary range: About $3,000, but expect rocky roads especially in the beginning.

Working hours: Irregular hours, but basically seven days a week.


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