My name is !llmind. I'm a music producer. I f*ck with everything and anything that has to do with music production. Over the span of 14 years, I've produced records for everyone from Kanye West, Drake and J. Cole to Lil Uzi Vert, Future & Lin-Manuel Miranda (the genius behind Broadway's Hamilton musical) and everything in between (movies, commercials, you name it). In 2011, I decided to release a "drum-kit" at a time when no one was releasing "drum-kits" and it turned into a six-figure per year business and ushered in a multi-million dollar industry. Along the way, I also managed to snag four GRAMMY nominations and more than 10 RIAA certifications.
Enough bragging. The real reason I'm here is that I'm passionate about sharing my experiences as a music producer. Things that worked, things that I f*cked up and what I learned from it all. No guidance and no mentor. I know what it's like to want to create music but not know how to start, where to go or how to turn it into a living.
I don't have ALL the answers, but what I can promise is that I will always touch on topics that I have personally experienced. At the end of the day, I hope to empower you to be your best self, regardless of what industry you're trying to pursue. For more inspiration, subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel and my PODCAST "BlapChat."
This is such a touchy subject. Reality is reality. Our own individual circumstances are a result of every decision we've made in the past. Technically speaking, "now" is all we know. The future will become inevitably what we do "now." So how can we gain a sense of control to produce the best possible outcome for our future?
Balancing passion with the realities of life is a struggle—I believe—every human being deals with. So many unanswered questions. So many internal battles to be fought. Some we win. Some we lose. Sometimes we don't even step onto the battlefield. Sometimes we struggle to even find where the battle is happening. Oh, life. Why must you be so complicated? After all, there are more grains of sand on the Earth than there are galaxies in the universe. And even more cells in the human brain, all firing off in directions and patterns that our own brains can't even comprehend.
I can only speak on this subject based on my own personal experiences, and those I've observed.
Let's cut right to the chase: Want to know the big secret to following your true passion (whether it be producing music, painting, designing, dancing, singing, rapping, etc...)?
*Cue dramatic portamento string*
You must "become your passion."
Become it? Yes, become the very thing you're passionate about. Every aspect of your life must become that very thing. Most of the hours of your day must be spent on doing said passion. Most—preferably all—of the people you know must be passionate about your passion too—whether they do it professionally, are aspiring to do it, are successful at doing it, or just love talking about it. When you eat breakfast, you're thinking about your passion. When you go to the grocery store, your passion influences what you purchase. When you take your kids to soccer practice, you're somehow incorporating your passion into that experience (Wait. What? How? Soccer and FL Studio don't mix!) Most of the money you earn should be spent on—*cue drum roll*—you guessed it, your passion.
So. Wait. How do I become my passion if I work at a 9 to 5 job that I hate? I have a mortgage. I have kids. I have to provide for my family. I have to get out of mom's basement because I turn 25 next month and I told her I'd be out of here by 22!
At this point, you have TWO choices.
- Keep the 9 to 5 and spend whatever extra time you have pursuing that passion.
- Go ALL THE WAY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR PASSION.
Well, life is scary.
Keeping your 9 to 5 would be the responsible adult thing to do. This means that you are pursuing your passion PART-TIME. That means the results in favor of your passion will be "part-time" results. Kinda, almost there. Kinda, almost getting along. Kinda, almost seeing some results, but not quite manifesting as quickly as you would like. You're also experiencing "part-time" euphoria and joy. (I'm not saying other things in life don't bring you joy, we're just speaking from the perspective of your actual passion). Everything seems to be very half-way. It's going to take you twice—if not, more—as long to get to where you want to be because you're moving at a snail's pace.
So, if I GO ALL THE WAY in the direction of my passion, you're telling me to quit my job, abandon that nice chunk of money I get every 1st & 15th and, based on my own faith, believe that everything will be OK?
But on ONE condition: Be prepared to face the initial hardships and have the discipline and faith to keep going.
Know that you've got to be REALLY GOOD at your passion if you want to succeed. Getting good takes TIME.
A lot of it.
And it never ever stops.
I lived in mom's basement until I was 26 years old. That was tough. Not only on my parents and family but sometimes on myself. No money. No job. Yes, I did have the comfort of living rent-free with hardly any responsibilities. I'm humbled by having been afforded that luxury. While I did have a roof over my head, I lacked in basically everything else. No resources. No knowledge. No money. No mentors. No schools. No SoundCloud or YouTube. No social media. Just me, my keyboard, my records, and my ideas.
What kept me going was my excitement, energy, faith, and discipline to create music all day, every day.
And that's exactly what I did. I started getting pretty good. My first beats were terrible. They sounded like Dilla knockoffs. But because I was spending so much time creating, I was getting better. And better. And better still.
This path ultimately led to me getting into the ears of one person. And then five people. And then 20 people. And then 200 people. And then three out of those 200 people just so happened to be in the industry. And then those connections turned into an opportunity. Then, the opportunity became reality.
All of the people I met were in the industry. They were writers. Producers of music. Rappers. Singers. Musicians. A&R's. Managers. Bloggers.
I started to go to more events. I met more people. When I wasn't going to events or networking on the internet, I was in front of that keyboard. Making music. Creating music.
I did this long enough to the point where I had a realization: I've become my passion. I've officially become a music producer. It's all I did, from the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to bed. All of the people I knew were also in the music industry. A lot of these people became my friends. When I talk to relatives, music is all I talk about. When I drove in my car, I played my own beats. I'd listen to music and dissect the hell out of it—I still do that to this day. What little money I started to earn, I reinvested back into my passion.
Today, I still feel like that same kid. I live it. I breathe it. The people I'm surrounded by every day, they do it too. It's become who I am. It lives in my bones.
I am a music producer.
I am an entrepreneur.
And I will continue to be for as long as I'm passionate about it.
!llmind is currently traveling city to city to link with aspiring music creators. If you're interested in meeting him, go HERE to find out which cities he's coming to and book your slot before!