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7 Habits of Highly Effective Music Producers

For the latest entry in his Mind Of A BlapGod series, GRAMMY-nominated producer Illmind hands out free game.
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Illmind, producer

My name is !llmind. I'm a music producer and I'm passionate about sharing my experiences. 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."

Over the years, I've compiled a sort of "to-do" list in my brain of what makes a music producer tick. Being a producer myself, and having interacted with and interviewed many successful producers—via my podcast BLAPCHAT, which you should absolutely subscribe to—I've come to learn that there are seven common denominator habits among the most successful and highly effective.

Here we go...



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Work ethic. It's simple. It's obvious. It makes total sense. I call it "sweat equity." Take the time to get good. Realize that you're not going to be good at making music when you first start doing it. Every new piece of music you create, you get better. You sharpen the sword. It is absolutely essential to put the hours into working on your craft. If you have a day job, make time. If you go to school, make time. If you do both and/or have other "life things" on your plate, it's up to you to make time to do it. Everyone has their own personal set of circumstances, and no two are the same, so don't feel bad. Get motivated and get going on that "sweat equity."


I'm talking about the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Get comfortable and get GOOD at knowing your equipment and your process. Trust me. I've been there. I've tried every DAW and almost every piece of hardware. I'm not saying to avoid trying new systems. Be mindful of the fact that at some point, you're going to have to get really good at knowing your equipment. The more you jump around, the more time you are wasting that should be going into creating the actual music. Don't get stuck and don't get obsessed with jumping around from DAW to DAW. You'll quickly find yourself in limbo. Try them out and find the one that clicks with you.


Actually "mastering" the art of creating music is impossible. Everyone knows this. You should know this, and if you don't know, now you know! (I'm on my old school references today and I didn't even mean to do that.) Every new piece of music you create should feel like a learning process. Learn how to play an instrument. If you already do, learn a different one. Read books. Lots of them. YouTube is your best friend (especially my channel). At this point, there are thousands of tutorials (most for FREE) that you can watch and literally learn anything you need to. Surround yourself with people you know you can learn from. People that are better than you. Plaques, accolades, and money should never replace your hunger to continue to learn. You're always going to be a student to the music.


I've said this many times on YouTube and on my podcast. You won't succeed unless you know the right people. It's a people business. Get to know them. If you don't know who they are, find out. Surround yourself with people. That's a great starting point to help get you to the people that will change your life. Understand that the more people you meet, the better your chances at success. Make sure you nurture those relationships over time and don't go out of your way to piss anyone off or be an a$$hole. Good people skills go a long way in any business. There are thousands of awesome self-help books to improve your social skills. Read them. I've read many and I'm still learning.


You need people by your side. You can't go at this alone. You might be able to do it for a short while, but soon you'll realize that it is all too overwhelming. There are no websites or services (that I know of) to help you find an experienced manager, or a trustworthy attorney, assistant, or team member (that would actually be kinda scary if there were). There's really no right or wrong way to develop your team. Your childhood friend who loves your music and always supported you could one day become your manager. Or maybe you met someone at a show a few years ago and kept in touch and realized that person could be of some assistance.


40 & Drake. Dre & Snoop. Future & Mike WiLL. Preemo & Guru. Timbaland & Missy. Clipse & The Neptunes. The list goes on. Get with the artists that you believe in and that also believe in you. You should have the instinct to know. To spot "it." You will soon find that your best music will be made with the artists you click with the most.


Every failure is a learning experience. With every missed placement opportunity comes 100 more. From Einstein to Kanye, everyone has suffered failure at some point in their career. The difference? They never gave up.


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