Showbiz Cheat Sheet chatted with Charlie Midnight, music producer and founder of Midnight Production House. He told us more about the music industry, his career, and what it takes to be a successful entertainer. Here’s a peek inside our discussion.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: When you think of all the artists you’ve worked with, who was the most memorable and why?
Charlie Midnight: That is difficult to answer becauseI have been blessed to work with quite a few great artists. However, workingwith JamesBrown, of course, was exhilarating once I got over my anxiety about it,which happened very quickly when we were in the studio recording “Living inAmerica.” There is only a small window for being nervous and then you have todo your job. It was the only time in my career when I thought, ‘If only theguys in the old neighborhood could see me now.’
Then, of course, producing Joe Cocker was a thrill sinceyears before I had actually opened for him with my band when I was on tour insupport of my own album. It was ironic and gratifying and Joe was a pleasure towork and hang out with. Also, watching Joe sing in the studio was like being ata Joe Cocker concert. Each vocal take was a performance.
But the gift I was given in my career was to become thewriting partner of that great artist, producer, songwriter and person, DanHartman. Working with him was educational, inspirational and enjoyable. He gaveme my break as a songwriter and then as a producer.
CS: What are your thoughts on talent shows such as ‘AmericanIdol’ and ‘The Voice’?
CM: American Idol, The Voice and showsin that genre, as it was for Star Search years ago, are great, enjoyabletelevision that showcases some wonderful singers who are given good exposure.There is some worthwhile, honest advice given to the performers and I find thatvaluable. Above all, I admire the singers who are ambitious and so determinedto pursue their dream that they are willing to put themselves through thegrueling process it takes to even get on the TV show. That determination is amajor asset for an artist.
CS: At what point did you know you finally ‘made itin the music industry?
CM: There was a hip-hop soundtrack album from a moviecalled Breakin’ that Dan Hartman and I had a song on that we performedas 3V, a name that has no meaning, but that Dan thought sounded cool. We sangit because the film was low budget, hip hop was new, and we couldn’t get anyoneto perform the song.
The film was a success and the album sold over 3 millioncopies. I was able to quit my job working the graveyard shift as a legalproofreader. That was the beginning. “Living in America” happened a few yearslater. I started feeling that I had made it.
CS: What isyour advice to new musical artists?
CM: The path to success in music has always beendifficult. It used to be that you could put a band together, do shows, makedemos and hope to get a label interested to sign you to a record deal. That isusually not the case today where an artist is expected to use social media inall its forms to promote their music and build an audience. A label might thencome to you and offer a deal. Maybe not. Regardless, it is possible to build anaudience and a career through your use of all platforms and tools that areavailable. But it is a hard road to travel without some help.
You are unique, so grow your uniqueness and don’t follow amusical path simply because you have seen it be successful. If you have themeans, you can find entities to supplement your efforts while you work it. Thenkeep your fingers crossed. And be certain that you chose this path because youneeded to, because it is in your blood. And make the creating an end in itself,so that you can survive emotionally until all the elements align to make you asuccess.
Read more: MusicProducer Charlie Midnight Tells Us What It Takes to Be a Successful MusicalArtist
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