Interview by Louie Lopez (@ThatzCrack )
is no stranger to the industry, with a more than impressive resume on his back which includes artist like Drake, Sir Michael Rocks, Mims and more he has proven that he is here to stay. There’s a lot to say about Keeynote, he’s a creative and unique producer that offers so many different sounds that you just can’t put him into one category. As a producer, Keeynote has stacked up an impressive catalogue in a short period of time. Recently JENESIS Magazine got the chance to sit down with Keeynote and discuss his upbringing, main influences and what the Keeynote sound is all about.
Who are some artists that you have worked with?
Some of the artist I’ve worked with are Drake, Sir Michael Rocks of the Cool Kids, Kyle Lucas, Add-2, Que Billah, Sacario, Young Blaze, I also did a campaign for Nissan featuring Mims and a couple more other people
Who is Keeynote and how did you get started?
I’m a producer/songwriter it’s what people know me for. I got started in the church choir when I was younger and I took a liking to Bad Boy Records and everything like that it was the whole 90s era. The name Keeynote came about when I use to stay up late at night and watch Steve Jobs doing keynote address for the new apple products and all that. I would watch that and I would be interested to see how he would roll out the product. At the end of the day apple would be so successful because of how he presented it. I want everything I do to be more of an event and be something you would download. The presentation is a key part of the Keeynote brand.
At what age did you realize that producing is what you wanted to do?
I realized I wanted to be a producer when I was about 17. I was in a few rap groups back in the day but with production I liked to control the sound and all that. I was always into being in control and I‘ve always liked the way Diddy arranges records and puts all the right songs together.
Growing up in Chicago, what inspired you to make music?
I was born in Virginia and raised in Connecticut, but I moved to Chicago and that was a very crucial decision for me because I went to school for journalism but I always knew I was going to pursue a career in music. I was big on Common and really liked Do or Die, so I tried to merge things in a natural way. It took elements from the south east and west and combined them in a genuine way.
How long does it usually take you to make a beat? Do you ever feel like your completely done with them or you know when to stop?
Back in the day it took awhile to make a beat because I wanted it to sound professional and unlike anyone else’s. But now it honestly doesn’t really take that long because I can do the math in my head, so I would say only about 15 or 20 minutes. The song however takes a lot longer. The producer’s job at the end of the day is to put the right record on the right melody with the right people and really create the product. You have to understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can intuitively understand how to work with the song. You have to always try to create something better than what you’ve already put out.
What’s one of your favorite beats that you’ve made?
I would say Heroine is one of my favorite beats. I’m big on attitude and the record that came out a couple days ago “yes man”. I get a lot of satisfaction on having it all come together.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
The main project I’m working on now is with a group from Chicago called Fam Squad. The project will be featuring Dizzy Wright, Camp Lo, and Sir Michael Rocks, and hopefully some other people. The project should be dropping around February in 2013. The song “attitude” released earlier this year will be featured on there. The group itself is ‘’hip hop’’ but it’s incorporating a bunch of different sounds like Dubstep and dance hall. That project will be composed and executively produced by me.
What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?
I would say definitely Quincy Jones, Stevie wonder, Prince, Rick Ruben and someone a little more contemporary Diplo and Flosstradomus. Also Mike will is really dope and seems to have some signature elements, but I don’t think they are like the copy and paste he makes and ominous records like the 2Chainz and Drake record ‘’No Lie”. They sound eerie and ominous but they still chart well.
What is distinctive about a Keeynote production?
I try not to let the same record go over and over again. I try to tailor a sound that goes with each artist as opposed to having a signature sound that can just be burned out. I like to have a catchy quality to the song. The distinctive thing about a keynote record as it really brings out what the artist is trying to do.
Aside from talent, what qualities in an artist really stand out for you?
I would say vision, when somebody is really trying to pursue their. At the end of the day I would say really knowing what you’re trying to accomplish, finding a way to persevere through all the tedious things. People will pick you up and drop you off when they feel like it. When people do that that translates to the creative and lets them work on what they need to work on.
How would you describe your sound?
I think the most important thing for sound is pulse. When I put records out I want someone to have an initial response as soon as the records comes on. I produced a record for someone called “Heroine” that had Sir Michael Rocks on it and that was more of a dubstep record.
Make sure you check out Keeynote’s website at: http://www.keeynote.com/