I recently made a video explaining the 5 ways I make my beats sound more professional. If you're more of a video person, go ahead and scroll past the words to the video at the bottom of this post.
If you're more of a reading person, hi! Here are my 5 tips for making your beats sound more professional.
I use a 7-band Pro Tools stock EQ, and on almost every sound except for the kick and the bass or 808, I create a low shelf and cut off the bottom 50Hz. These frequencies are generally not noticeable to the human ear, but they can still crowd the mix and cause distortion when combined with the kick and bass/808. I also often cut low mid frequencies and slightly raise the high middle frequencies as well as the high frequencies, especially on my synth sounds. This is not always necessary, but it can clear up any boxiness and add some brightness to the mix.
2. Sound Selection With References
If I'm going for a commercial, polished sound, I will choose songs that I love that are at a current commercial level of quality and use them as references. As I pick my sounds for the beat, I try to make sure that I pick sounds with similar frequencies in them as my reference. This is especially applicable with drum sounds. The sounds don't have to (and shouldn't) be exact, but starting with quality sounds makes it much easier to have a quality beat. What you don't want is to get to the mixing phase of the beat and realize that you have to mix the mess out of every sound just for the beat to sound decent when you could have started with picking quality sounds.
I use white noise, fx risers, drum rolls, pauses, etc. to transition between the different parts in my beats. Transitions add a level of complexity to let the listener know when the next part of the song is coming. If you don't quite understand what I'm talking about, listen to some of your favorite commercial tracks and listen for how the beat lets you know when it's going from the verse into the chorus, the chorus into the bridge, etc. Use some of those techniques in your own beats to help give a more professional quality to your beats.
4. Drum loops
I know, I know, "everyone uses drum loops in their beats." True. But something I advise you to do is wait until you're getting close to finishing your beat, and listen for what it's lacking. Does the beat sound too narrow or mono? Find a drum loop that's wider or more stereo to make up for it. Does your beat sound too boxy? Add some drum loops with some higher frequencies in them to balance it out. In addition to adding a sense of complexity to your drums, drum loops can help fill out the beat and add what the mix is lacking.
Sidechain is a compressor setting, where you set the compressor to only act when it is signaled by a particular sound or channel. I sidechain my bass or 808 sound using the kick in almost every beat I make. Sidechaining helps make the mix clearer and keeps the 808 and kick from distorting when they play at the same time, and a clear mix is key when it comes to sounding professional.
I hope that all made sense! If you need some extra explaining, feel free to watch the video below.
It was Saturday night, and I looked around the room at all of the different artists, producers, managers, and A&Rs who had come out to LA for this networking event. Feeling a combination of excitement, nervousness, and the caffeine from the coffee I just had, it started to happen.
I felt like an imposter.
Maybe the person who put on the event made a mistake. Maybe he just asked me to participate in this beat showcase as a way of "promoting diversity" because I'm a girl producer. Maybe he never really listened to my beats and just assumed I would be good for this. Maybe he didn't realize that I've never worked with Kanye or Rick Ross or Lil Wayne like the other producers in the showcase.
Have you ever felt that way? Like you somehow lucked into an opportunity that you weren't qualified for? Like people are going to find out that you actually don't deserve to be in the position you're in?
If you answered yes, you've experienced imposter syndrome, and the video below is for you. You're not alone, and spoiler: you're not an imposter.
Recently, someone on YouTube asked if I would make a video breaking down my different leasing terms. He thought it would be helpful for new producers looking to start selling beats online. I thought it would also be helpful for artists who need more clarity on the different leasing terms and prices I offer.
You can check out the video below, and if you still have any questions on my leasing terms and prices, don't hesitate to email me at BreeKaySounds@gmail.com and ask, ok? :)
I recently posted a snippet from my newest "Breewind" video on instagram. The video shows how I made the pop beat on my site called, "Don't Call Me". I received a comment on the instagram post that I thought was interesting enough to share. This person said:
"Hey Sis! I love your passion and creativity! Speaking as a producer myself, and no harm intended, I don’t think it’s wise to share your process for free via social media outlets to gain exposure or followers. I’d recommend possibly sharing a sample of the finished product, then inviting others to learn of you for a fair price. To me, that’d be a win/win for you. Other than that, I think you’re VERY talented and are really good at what you do"
I read the comment, and thought about it for a bit, then ended up responding:
"I appreciate your suggestion. I don’t know that I think it’s ever unwise to give and share my creative process. Part of my mission in life is to help others maximize their creativity, and if sharing my creative process for free does that, I’m down to continue doing that. Thanks for watching."
Years ago, I might have agreed with this person. And being an independent artist with full-time dreams, I understand the importance of monetization. However, after some years in this thing, I've come to realize that understanding WHY I do what I do and putting that at the center of everything is even more important.
Like I said in my response comment, part of my mission is to help others maximize their creativity, and I hope that if you stick around for a bit, I'm able to do that for you personally by continuing to share my music journey and by offering artists and content creators beats that cultivate creativity.
Over on my YouTube channel, you can see the full video of how I made "Don't Call Me". (Because don't you hate it when you're texting someone and they call you? But I digress.)
If you're interested in seeing what went into that beat, you can click the thumbnail below. If you just want to hear the beat and/or download it for free.99, you can click here.
Thanks for reading. I hope this is helpful to you in someway or another, and I hope you're having the best week of your life thus far.
What does "these are the sounds" mean?
I was asked this question by a friend who had just purchased a These Are The Sounds T-Shirt. She wanted to know the meaning of the phrase printed on the shirt that she would now be wearing to the gym.
I gave her a quick summary of where the phrase came from, and she told me I should make a video about it. In case you too were wondering where “these are the sounds” came from, here is that video:
Who knew the phrases, "these are the sounds" and "this is the hoodie" that seem so obvious and almost comical would actually have meaning for me lol.
I hope that anyone who purchases beats from me, sports a hoodie, or just supports what I do would recognize the contribution they make to the meaning...but that might be a concept for another day.
Thank you for hearing my heart. I hope you're having the best week of your life thus far.
It was New Year's Eve, and there I was--at home, sick, and attempting to be deep and reflective because that's what you're supposed to do as a new year approaches, right?
I pulled out my journal that has my ideas, dreams, and goals written in it, and saw the most recent entry dated August 28th, 2018 with "TheseAreTheSounds.com" written at the top of the page. It then hit me that I had done absolutely nothing in the last 4 months to move this idea forward.
With 2019 just hours away, I immediately got to work. I gave myself a deadline and started flushing through the hard tasks that I had been putting off. I'm now proud to say that two months later, the idea is no longer just an idea.
I just posted a YouTube video about my first two weeks selling beats online. I told all of the juicy details--the main one being how much money I made. Check it out:
As a generally private person, why would I share this information? I guess because I wish somebody would share this type of detailed information with me, and I know I'm not the only who wants to know the juicy deets in real time lol.
I'm planning to continue sharing the juicy business business of These Are the Sounds, so if you haven't already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel!
However and whenever you happen to see this, I hope you have the best week of your life thus far.