[Feature] SMP: Where It All Started

Article by Jamar Thraser (@jdthrasher)

“It’s a good feeling, but now that we been did the label thing. I want people to hear the right records. I know how people are influenced by records,” says producer SMP.

Signed to Desert Storm with his group 1st String, SMP saw how artists are prodded by record companies to compromise their artistic integrity in order to sell records.

SMP’s experiences with major labels might not be as well documented as Wiz Khalifa’s or Mac Miller’s but the experiences are there. He says he was encouraged to make club hits because the more conscious music would not sell in today’s music market.

SMP does listen to club hits and it was club hits that put him on, but he says the more introspective music will make people better their lives.

“Listen to the more introspective thing to help you get through the day,” SMP says.

Like many producers, SMP is largely self-taught and started his career from a home studio. In high school, SMP honed his skills in a class focused on digital recording and he received advice from his brother who was also a recording artist. His brother, who had enrolled in the class prior purchased a Roland VS 880, and that’s when SMP took off.

“That’s where I started to learn the recording ins and outs” says S.M.P.

Like most Pittsburghers interested in music, he gravitated to ID Labs, a recording studio in Pittsburgh that came to prominence with the success of its clients, such as Boaz, Mac Miller, and Wiz Khalifa.

Motivated to make it in music, SMP bounced around to various music hubs in the city. It wasn’t too long that he built a solid reputation as a producer and 1st String had a deal on the table.

The group was thrust into a world of entertainment lawyers and deals. They were challenged in their creativity, but they stood resilient and managed to release music that they wanted to release for their fan base. SMP released his mixtape, “The Workout,” featuring his rapping and production in early December. Still signed to Desert Storm, 1st String is set to release the mixtape “American Pie.” SMP is also working on another solo project.

Check out SMP on Twitter at: @iamticky412

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