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A Lesson In Collaboration

You never know when something will inspire you. And you certainly never know when something will inspire someone else.

That’s what happened to artist/producer Kimbra with her latest single, 90s Music.

According to this interview about the making of her new record, it started out as a “joke song.”

So how did it start off as a joke and become her lead single for her newest album?

She collaborated with the right people. And that’s how you can improve your producing, mixing, and mastering skills.

That’s not to say that your productions are a joke. 🙂 But just think of how much better they can be if you bounce them off the right people?

The best thing that will come from showing other people your unfinished work is that you will get the “first impression” response.

The “first impression” response is the immediate reaction that someone has to your work. You can learn a lot from it and can make some very important tweaks in order to change that reaction to be how you want it.

For example, let’s say I want someone to think my production is “futuristic.” 808s and synths don’t sound futuristic anymore. But crazy samples chopped up and thrown around the mix do.

I might have both 808s and synths and chopped up samples, but if my mix doesn’t work just right, people won’t get the “first impression” response of thinking that my production sounds futuristic.

To change that, I might start with the chopped samples and remix it so that they stand out in the mix.

You’ll also be able to ask your new collaborator what they thought of the execution of certain elements. Was the vocal tuned hard enough? Was there enough reverb on the snare? These types of questions are the ones to ask a collaborator that has joined the process midway through. They are coming at it with fresh ears and might have a better sense of where it could stand to improve.

So give this a shot. On whatever you’re working on, choose someone to show and ask them what they thought. Figure out the best questions to ask, and ask them what they know. (Don’t ask a bass player about the vocal tuning, unless they’re a producer or vocalist as well.) Happy collaborating!

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