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Philadelphia - GRAMMY Soundtables: Behind the Glass RECAP
Thursday, April 5th, Recording Academy members and Drexel University students gathered at the Bossone Research Center for GRAMMY SoundTables: Behind the Glass with Jimmy Douglass and Justin “Just Blaze” Smith. Over 140 guests came out to be a part of the intimate conversation between two of the most active producers in the industry moderated by Sr. Executive Director of the Producers & Engineers Wing, Maureen Droney. Douglass and Smith wasted no time jumping right in.
Both Douglass and Smith explained that they got their starts fairly early in the music industry. Smith’s father was a keyboard player and jazz organist which sparked his flair for music. By the time he was 15 years old he was DJing in adult clubs where his mother had to drop him off and pick him up. Douglass’ fascination began in the analog world and eventually led to him meeting and working with many of the best and brightest in the business.
Many important topics were covered in the conversation between Douglass, Smith, and Droney including beginning equipment and recording techniques compiled over the years. Smith and Douglass gave great input into their thoughts on the role of a producer.
“The producer may never pick up an instrument. He has a vision and knows what the record should sound like and who should be playing which parts, like a director in a movie,” Smith explained.
Douglass joked that the talkback button is his auto tune, and discussed the importance of a producer’s role in getting the best performance out of an artist.
The audience sat captivated while management, publishing and work for hire issues were explored. In the beginning Smith allowed his manager to handle every aspect of the business side, while at this point in his career his management relationship is more like a partnership. Douglass warned listeners to remember not to expect a manager to make it happen for you. He emphasized that you have to continue to study your craft and make connections as well.
After playing a few tracks including GRAMMY-nominated “Far Away” produced by Smith and “Stillness is the Move” engineered by Douglass, the floor was opened up to Q&A from the audience. Douglass and Smith both stayed during the networking reception to meet and greet and field more questions from attendees. Guests expressed that they were well informed from the SoundTable content and appreciated that Douglass and Smith dove into specifics regarding their careers.
The Recording Academy Philadelphia Chapter would like to thank all those that made the evening such a great success including sponsors: Disc Makers, Drexel University’s Music Industry Program, and Shure.
Photo: Kazia Nowacki/GRAMMY U