Erphaan Alves Praises MusicTT; State Agency Proactively Developing Local Music Industry

Renowned local soca artist, Erphaan Alves, has hailed the Trinidad and Tobago Music Company Limited’s (MusicTT) recent Songwriting, Producing, Mixing and Mastering Workshops as proactive and positive. “I appreciate MusicTT’s Initiative. I like [that] they’re taking a proactive step to sensitize the local music sector with these workshops which will only in turn positively contribute to the quality of music coming out of T&T,” Alves said when he attended the workshops last week. The Songwriting, Production, Mixing and Mastering Workshops (SPMM) took place on August 3rd-6th at the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce and was MusicTT’s fourth instalment in a series of capacity development workshops. Previous workshops educated stakeholders on Songwriting and Production, Music Publishing and Intellectual Property Valuation in the Music Industry. Jeanelle Frontin, General Manager of MusicTT explained, ‘Our music practitioners have the potential to leave an indelible mark on the global music industry. We hope to shed more light on key areas of music business and technology, as we have done in the past year and this Songwriting, Production, Mixing and Mastering Workshop will allow local practitioners like our songwriters, producers, artists and audio engineers to interact with and learn from some of the very best in the global industry.’ Each topic was rolled out over the course of the four days, one per day, and covered the following areas:

  • Songwriting – the basics of songwriting (from melody to lyrics to arrangement); tips for demos; how to collaborate; tips for getting your songs heard and placed; understanding publishing deals.
  • Production – importance of the type of equipment being used; how to create your song structure (layout and drops); basics of production; how to set up your studio; how to craft what an artist needs.
  • Mixing – the basics of being an audio engineer and the daily routine; the anatomy of a great mix; Pro Tools routing; how to communicate with clients; how to market and brand yourself as a music professional.
  • Mastering – understanding of the tools and techniques involved in mastering for electronic productions of all kinds; business knowledge for electronic music producers, self-producing artists, composers for visuals, songwriters, engineers, producers, and hobbyists.

Facilitating the four-day workshop were internationally acclaimed music industry practitioners:

Songwriting Workshop| Facilitated by: Michelle Bell, Singer-songwriter and Record Producer, Kobalt Music Group

Michelle Bell is an American singer-songwriter and record producer who has worked with several artists including Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Sean Combs, Timbaland, Mary J. Blige, Paulina Rubio, Macy Gray, Bilal, Nas and Nelly Furtado. As a pop songwriter and producer, Michelle’s talents have contributed to the sale of over 40 million albums worldwide. Some of her music Film & TV credits includes VH1’s Behind the Music, CBS NFL Football, Fast Money (CNBC), Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Bridesmaids, Fame the Movie, NCAA Basketball, Teen Choice Awards, America’s Best Dance Crew, Home Depot, City (MTV), BET, EPSN, ABC, CW, VH1, Weight Watchers, All My Children and more. Michelle already has 50 syncs into commercials, TV & Film this year alone

Production Workshop | Facilitated by 88-Keys, Grammy Award-winning producer, Keys Open Doors LLC

88-Keys, is an American record producer, rapper and partner in Kanye West’s production company, Very Good Beats, Inc. Since his days as an assistant engineer, 88-Keys has produced records for numerous artists including Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Kid Cudi, Macy Gray, Musiq Soulchild, Action Bronson and Consequence. Recently, 88-Keys extended beyond his production credits to highlight his skills on the mic as MC, singer and collaborator, most notably on his solo debut album The Death of Adam released on November 11, 2008. His major accomplishments include:

  • Grammy Award for “No Church In The Wild” – Kanye West & Jay-Z ft. Frank Ocean
  • Grammy nominated for “Hold On Longer” – John Legend and “All Day” – Kanye West
  • Platinum Albums – John Legend’s “Hold ON Longer”, Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne”, Musiq Soulchild’s ‘Juslisen’
  • Gold certification for Musiq Soulchild’s ‘SoulStar’
  • Gold record – Black on Both Sides – Mos Def

Production Workshop| Co-facilitated by Dana Shayegan, Vice President of Music at the premium content network, Studio71, a division of ProSiebenSat.1 MediaAt Studio71, Dana operates one of the largest networks of independent music channels on YouTube, averaging 600 Million streams per month across a wide variety of genres including Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Hip Hop, Pop, Caribbean, and World Music. Dana works closely with S71music clients on the development, management, and monetization of artist, record label, and music curation channels. Prior to his role at S71, Dana developed and managed the Scion A/V record label and online radio station as a key marketing initiative for Toyota. In 2008, Dana was featured in Billboard Magazine as one of their Top 30 Music Executives Under 30. In the Caribbean region, some of Dana’s clients include Machel Montano, Sean Paul, RVSSIAN / Head Concussion Records, London Future, Jesse Royal, Ghetto Youth’s International, Protoje, Konshens, and more. He is an expert on the topics of Digital Media Marketing and Content Monetization and has presented and spoken at global music and media conferences such as SXSW, Midem, Music Biz, Digital Hollywood, and more.

Mixing Workshop | Facilitated by IRKO, Multi-platinum Award winning audio engineer, Audio Nutrition LLC

IRKO is a Multi-Platinum Award Winning Audio Engineer who has mixed, recorded and published over 1000 songs in the last 15 years. He possesses extensive technical knowledge in Analog Recording, Audio Engineering, DAW, Digital Audio, Mix Online, Mixing, Multi-track Recording, Pro Tools, Recording, Recording Studio, Sound Engineer and Vocal TuningBorn and raised in Venice, Italy, IRKO now resides in the USA and has worked with artists like Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Jay-Z, etc. He is also an Adjunct Professor at American University where he facilitates SpeakEasy WorkShops on his craft.

Mastering Workshop | Facilitated by Jeremy Harding, 2 Hard Studios

Jamaican by birth, Jeremy Harding is an accomplished DJ, musician, producer, engineer and artist manager. He is the founder of 2 Hard Records, a studio and label that released crossover Reggae/Dancehall hits such as “Sim Simma (Who Am I)” by Bennie Man,’Give it to Her’ by Devonte & Tanto Metro and ‘Log On’ by Elephant Man.

But it was his discovery of the budding talent Sean Paul Henriques, whom he continued to produce and act as artist manager for the next decade that truly cemented his career in the music industry. Jeremy groomed Sean Paul into a bonafide international superstar, selling over 10 million albums, spawning three Billboard #1 records and garnering awards from MTV, ASCAP, American Music Awards, The Grammy Foundation, and the MOBO’S amongst others.

He has also done remixes for artists such as Ciara, Cher Lloyd, T.I., Sinead O’Connor and Chaka Khan. He is also a featured artist for Presonus Studio One DAW software and an online software instructor for Groove3.com music production tutorials.

MusicTT’s is committed to facilitating and stimulating the business development and export activities of the local music industry, and placing significant emphasis on the educating our stakeholders on world class tools and techniques and the music business holistically is the only way to make our talents artists ready for the global music industry. This will not only pave the way for young practitioners to produce better quality music but also give them a competitive advantage to go head-to-head with other international musical acts.