Music Producer Charlie Midnight Tells Us What It Takes to Be a Successful Musical Artist
Are you looking to start a music career? Showbiz Cheat Sheet chatted with Charlie Midnight, music producer and founder of Midnight Production House, to learn more about what it takes to become a chart-topping artist.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: How do you know a new artist has what it takes to become successful?
Charlie Midnight: I don’t think you can know absolutely what it takes for an artist to become successful but there are elements that I think are important. First, you have to be able to emotionally survive the pitfalls, the naysayers, and what seems to be overwhelming odds against anyone breaking through. Making the creativity an end in itself will help you do this.
If I know an artist can do this, then I feel there is a shot. Add hard-headed determination and an unquenchable thirst to have your music heard, and I get closer to feeling you have a chance to succeed. Then, of course, there is your talent and that is a subjective determination. Having had the privilege of working with many wonderful singers, I look for a voice that immediately affects me in a positive, relatable way. Where this is concerned there is a wide spectrum that can affect me.
CS: Is success as a musical artist always about having technical skills?
CM: It is my belief that successful vocalists are not necessarily the ones with the greatest range, who can hit the highest notes, but those whose voices are unique, immediately identifiable, and can connect emotionally with an audience.
Then it’s about the song. The material an artist does defines the artist and what audience that artist will attract. I have to feel that there is the quality of material that when combined with the artist’s inimitable vocals will attract a devoted audience to the artist. If the artist is an excellent writer then that’s a big advantage. But the artist can also be a great discerner of wonderful material to sing, which is also a talent. In today’s music landscape, artists are expected to write for themselves and, as a result, many develop that skill. But it is always good to be open to singing a great song in your own unique style. It then becomes your song.
CS: How important is stage presence?
CM: There’s a presence I look for that makes me want to watch the artist perform. Again, this is subjective, but I first have to react viscerally to the artist’s presence and persona. In Zach Brandon’s case, he brought all of these elements with him and I wanted to be a part of his journey. Fortunately, my production partner, Jan Fairchild, felt the same. And so, we became a team.
Finally, how do you define success? Most artists I have worked with who know that music is their true calling have told me that success means waking up every day and being able to make music; having an audience for that music and being able to make a living with it. I concur.
CS: What advice would you give to aspiring music artists? How can they be successful in this industry?
CM: Pay attention to the elements I mention in the first answer. Strive to be great and focus on the songs, the performing, your growth as an artist. There are no easy formulas to achieve success but use whatever is available to you to hone your craft. Collaborate with other artists. Relationships are important. There is always something to be learned.
We are forever students and teachers in a never-ending symbiotic relationship. There are many platforms to record and expose your music. Work them all. Be committed and keep creating and don’t whine about how hard it is or think, “why them and not me?” It is counter-productive and will drag you down.
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