How did you get started? Tell us your story!
I am Smart Boy of Smart Boy Beatz (https://smartboybeatz.com/) and a member of the producer collective Bounce Gvng. I am a music producer, percussionist, singer-songwriter, DJ, and Sinfonian, and educator. I am originally from a small town in North Carolina, but now I live in Atlanta. I grew up playing and singing in the church alongside my family who served as the head musicians; so a lot of the music I grew up with was gospel. I would occasionally sneak and listen to a few other genres when I could. I was a member of the marching band and chorus throughout high school and college. I started making beats when I started high school and really began to take my production career seriously in 2016. Like most creatives, music is my passion. The creation of music and its therapeutic attributes are why I started to create and why I continue to create music today. Music has been the constant in the life that has kept me grounded and I believe I owe to it as much as it has given to me. Since 2016, I've been able to travel across the country and connect with creatives big and small across the world. Those connections and relationships have landed me a few placements with indie artists. A huge highlight of my career thus far has been becoming one of Patchwerk Recording Studio's in-house producers. I've won several producer battles and competitions along the way as well.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?
I have very limited experience inside the big leagues of the music industry but I have been fortunate enough to build my career around a lot of industry professions for the last 4 years. I studied music for 4 years at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as a classical percussionist majoring in Music Education so I would say that I received the bulk of my musical training from there. I am a very hands-on/experiential type of learner. I like to be inside the situation while I am learning the skill. I have to give a huge shout to groups like [istandard] and 808 Wave for offering educational industry experiences for creatives like me who would not normally have that opportunity. These days, I use Google, Youtube, and my industry-level mentors as my educational resources.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
I am one of Patchwerk's in house producers, I have won several producers battles here in Atlanta. I have worked with and collaborated with several independent artists here and internationally. I have also had the opportunity to compose music for marching bands, winter guard and indoor percussion groups, and promotional compositions. To name a few people that I have worked with: DQ Hampton, Aaron Jordan, Jivinchi, Yuneer Gains, Ruff, Sollilly, Foletic Desire, Riahthejawnn, Tai the Cherub, Caleb Sasser, Macdablacksheep, Chvse, CiMajr, Leni Luxo, Egomi, Rachael Hendrix, The 411 Brand, Allan Edwards, Bianca Sings, Franchise the Rapper, Naj Murp (R.I.P.), Ty Van, Bounce Gvng, Semayah, Dalicia La Fleur, Question ATL, ATM Curly, Trez, Hayden THC, GregDos Reign DB, Decatur Babies, 4ize, Halvcast, etc. I'm sure there are a few people that I am missing so I hope that they forgive me.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
Growing up, a lot of my influences came from the church. I listened to the Clark Sisters, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee. As I got older and started branch out, I listened to a lot of NY artists and mixtapes, Ludacris, T-pain, Timbaland, Missy, Ryan Leslie, with a touch of the 80s and alternative and indie rock here and there. I listen to almost everything now. My playlist is a melting pot of everything. If I feel something in the first 30 seconds of listening, it makes the playlist.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
Time is just one of those things you never have a clear conception of. You think that you have a lot of it and when you look up it's gone and vice versa. The same with money. There are so many opportunities that have come to me in my career that needed a good portion of what I could not afford at the time. Another big obstacle was overcoming that internal voice telling me to hold back or be afraid of jumping out on faith even when I knew I was making the right choice for me and my career.
How would you describe your sound and style?
I would say that my style varies but has a heavy emphasis on the percussive elements. I love texture and movement in music. I want the listener to double take a few times and be surprised by what they hear, so much so that they have to take a second listen.
What are some of your goals this year?
This year I plan to solidify the Smart Boy Beatz brand and establish myself as one of the go-to producers here in Atlanta. I want to aid in developing projects from the ground up and see them through. I also want to establish a residency in a couple of studios so that I am able to have a state of the art facility for my clients to work in. I have also planned a couple of album/product releases for the year; and of course, working with as many creatives as I can and landing placements along the way.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
I want to work with Pharrell Williams, Ryan Leslie, and Mike Dean just to learn under them.
What is your creative process like?
My process varies from session to session but it can be a bit extensive. I want to make sure everything fits and feels good. I like to let my inspiration led me whether it is the drums or the melody. I also believe that nothing should be forced. If I get to the point in the creation where I lose the idea or the inspiration, I will stop and move to something different.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
An order of chicken dumplings with 7 chilis from Gu's with a side of white rice. Always hits the spot!