Interview by Thomas Agnew
Photo by Kritikal Media
From Penn Hills to Hollywood Hills, the journey to become a multi-platinum producer has been a fruitful one for Tommy Brown. Making hits for T.I., 2 Chainz, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, and more, Tommy’s next move is to help people unlock their abilities through his company VieTom.
Being a Pittsburgh native, do you think the scene has progressed as far as a music environment?
I think it definitely has progressed. Wiz helped it progressed. It’s definitely grown in a more positive direction. I didn’t really see too much further than your ID Labs but traveling the world Pittsburgh music really influences a lot of people. Like I’m on face-time with people from London and they’re like “OMG you’re in the studio with Hardo.”
What was the difference in the scene when you were building yourself up in your own time as while working your job and then decided to make your move to ATL?
I think it’s just different environments anywhere you go. Atlanta was super popping at the time I was down there. I just had to find a way to make myself relevant there. In LA, you can make yourself relevant but you have to be plugged in with people. You can’t do the same thing in LA that you do in Atlanta or vice versa with New York.
Gorilla Zoe helped me out in the beginning in Atlanta. 2 Chainz, he helped me out and introduced me to Rick Ross and different people. 2 Chainz is a real good friend of mine. As far as moving my career to where I’m at now, T.I., he connected the dots. He helped the sound, really helped me how to make records and not just make beats.
Who or what do you credit your hard working mentality to as you went to another city and became a name in their scene?
It all comes from what you have inside of yourself. I don’t want to give anybody my credit of how hard I’ve worked because I’ve worked hard from the jump. I feel like I just had different influences that have helped me get to different levels in my career as far as teaching me to make songs but I definitely do all the hard work myself. There are people that make it happen, people that watch it happen, and people that don’t even know what’s happening [laughs].
We’ve seen more than ever in recent years that producers have been the creative geniuses behind many hits, major and indie, yet business is not always handled to their satisfaction, why is that?
I think people don’t have the right representation. As far as managers, lawyers, I just think the business is not represented well, because as you move up as a producer or songwriter, your team has to grow as you grow. If you’re going in with your first lawyer and you want to go do a million dollar deal, or if you’re making million dollar songs, it definitely has to grow with what you’re doing.
What do you do with an artist to create something more than just here one day and gone tomorrow?
I go in with artists that want to work with me and have longevity with me. Let’s use Arianna for example. I’ve known her for three/four years and we always talk and work. I give people my brand. I still meet the artist half way. I like being hands on. Once you start building with artist like that, they start to trust you more. I’m trying to make history and not just get on the radio.
With you building up VieTom, what do you want to ultimately teach others with your new venture site as you prepare for its release?
I just want people to expand the limitations of their lifestyle and work at being great, and not copy mediocre. I want people to learn how to be the best that they can be. So I may have videos from big songwriters, or producers, on there that they can see, so they can learn how to be good and not just guess.
Listen to his latest release “Trippin’ On Me” featuring Travis Scott and Eric Bellinger: