Q: What do you love about entertainment and what you do?
I love being able to create something new every day. It’s amazing that fragments of a melody or lyrics can be turned into a full on production in a matter of days, and then played on the radio shortly after its completion. I also love that technology has advanced so much, we can access any form of entertainment within seconds.
Q: What do you hate about entertainment?
Hate is such a strong word. The biggest concern of mine is the social media bullying among entertainers and celebrities. Kids look up to us as role models, so I feel it’s important to lift each other up rather than tear each other down.
Q: What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?
David Longoria has been a major contributor to my development in production and musicianship. I learned a lot from Mark Sarisky, Scott Herzog, Jack Klotz and Phil Nowlan during school in Philadelphia. I have always admired Quincy Jones, George Martin and David Foster. I also really enjoy EDM producers such as Martin Garrix, Zedd, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Deadmau5, etc. and how they have really helped shape a new style within the dance genre.
Q: How did you first get involved in the creation of Baila!?
Baila! was a really fun project for me as I worked with David Longoria on the album, engineering different instruments such as guitars, percussion, strings etc. As we were completing the album, David heard some of the remixes I was working on for other artists and asked me if I would remix a couple of his songs to be included on the album. I am really honored and flattered that he gave me that opportunity. I also helped produce and edit the Baila! TV Special, which is airing on public TV all over the country.
Q: What came first for you, acting, film or music?
I have always loved all aspects of entertainment, but music really stood out. As I started recording songs with friends, figuring out different musical gear and learning how some of the greatest albums were made, I knew I was passionate about having a career in music. A few of my friends in college are filmmakers and I became more involved in their projects as a sound recordist. We also used to make funny videos that we all acted in, so that has always been fun for me as well. After I moved to LA, producing and hosting for 24k Music Network was something I became more involved with.
Q: What is distinctive about your production style in music?
I love so many different genres of music, so I definitely like to combine different elements from those genres as they fit and make sense with each other. In EDM specifically, I really love to incorporate dynamics to the mix so the listener is interested and emotionally connected to the song. I feel each artist I work with is unique, and I like to make their personalities shine in the songs. When I produce a song, I know the format that will work, but ultimately it is what I can bring out of the artist that the listener will connect with.
Q: Besides your keys/phone/wallet what do you never leave the house without?
I always have my laptop with me, as inspiration can hit at any moment. I also like to stay busy, so if I am waiting for a meeting I like to be able to work on different things.
Q: Is there anyone in particular you’d love to work with?
Wow, there are so many amazing artists and performers out there I would love to collaborate with. It would really be an honor for me to work with Andrea Bocelli. He has an incredible voice, and is one of the most passionate performers I’ve heard.
Q: Who has been your favorite co-star thus far?
I have had a really good experience with everyone I have worked with so far. They are all my favorites.
Q: Do you dance to your own music?
Absolutely! I like to separate myself from the song being one of my productions, and listen to it as I would anyone else on the radio. If I’m loving the song, then I feel others will enjoy it too.
Q: What’s the most common misconception about you?
Because I’m young, people often assume that I am inexperienced and sometimes it takes a minute for them to get their brain around where I’m at.
Q: What do you do when you’re not working?
I really love creating music and film, so I don’t consider it work. But when I’m not creating, I love spending time with my friends and family, surfing, working out, photography, traveling, going on last minute trips to Vegas, eating.
Q: What’s your favorite piece of music that you’ve created?
This is a hard question, because whatever I am working on at the moment becomes my favorite. When I listen to music I’ve made in the past, I remember how much I enjoyed creating it, so that song becomes my favorite. My proudest accomplishment is the success of an album I worked on by Rickey Kej and Wouter Kellerman called Winds of Samsara, which just received a Grammy nomination for Best New Age Album. I really loved working with them, as they are both great people, and had a vision with the album that was not typical of New Age projects. It was also my first venture in that genre, which was an experience I really enjoyed.
Q: What is it like voting on the Grammys? Most of us don’t really know the process. Can you describe what that entails?
Being a Grammy voter is such a huge honor, as we chose who gets nominated and eventually wins the prestigious award. The process itself is pretty cool. There is a first ballot, which includes entries from all over the world in many genres. Our job is to choose from those entries what we feel deserves a nomination based on the quality and merit of the work. I love listening to new and interesting music, so it’s also exciting for me as I get to spend time with a lot of albums I may not have had the chance to hear otherwise. After the nominations are decided, the final round of voting determines whom the winners will be.
Q: How did you get started with 24k Music Network? Is working there as fun as I think it is?
24k Music Network is a lot of fun to work for! I started producing shows for the network when David Longoria who hosts an interview show on the network called “Welcome To The World”, asked me to become a producer on his show. The network has really grown in the past few years with new shows and content. My first hosting experience for 24k Music Network was the 2009 American Music Awards red carpet, which as you can imagine was a lot of fun.
Q: What do you listen to when you’re working out?
When I am working out, I really love to listen to music that has a lot of energy like Rock and EDM. I feel music really influences my mood, as it does a lot of people, so I like to push my workout as hard as I can.
Q: Which of your hits made it to Billboard? What was that like for you as an artist/visionary?
I am lucky enough to say I have had songs and albums chart on Billboard. The most recent being Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman’s Album Winds of Samsara, which hit Number 1. It is such an amazing accomplishment to chart on Billboard, as it is something that most recording artists/producers/engineers dream of and many never achieve it. I am really blessed and humbled to have this success with the projects I have worked on. Every time I see something I have been a part of on the charts, I get excited! It’s a feeling that never gets old.
Q: How did you get involved in Electronic music?
EDM has always interested me, as I feel the genre is open to new sounds and experimentation. When I started producing records on a professional level, I was working on a few dance records and it really became fun for me. I love creating songs that people dance to, which have a lot of energy to them as well as breakdown to minimal production. The past few years have really been exciting, because EDM has really established itself in the mainstream and the productions continue to grow with new styles.
Q: If you had to be stranded on an island with one person in the world, who would that be?
I think the obvious answer here is Adriana Lima. But, I’m going to have to choose The Genie from Aladdin. That way I can wish for Adriana Lima, and still be able to wish for food and survival gear.
Q: Where do you think the EDM genre is going in the next five years?
I think EDM will take over the mainstream even more than it already has. Most of the top-earning performers for this year are EDM DJs, which says a lot about the rapid success of the genre. As for the actual sound and production, I know there will be some really interesting developments and experimenting within a lot of genres. Currently we are hearing Pop and Rock artists incorporating EDM elements into their music, which I think is cool. On the flip side of things, we are hearing a lot of EDM songs incorporating live instruments such as guitar, piano, horns and strings, which I find really bold and intriguing as well. It really comes down to creating a great song that the listener can relate to and enjoy.
Q: Can you describe a day in the life of you?
In the entertainment business there are no typical days. But, for some odd reason I wake up at 6:00 am every day without fail. I have an internal clock that likes to punish me. After I wake up, I will exercise for an hour, eat and shower. Throughout the day I am creating, whether it is music with the artists I am currently producing, taping interviews for 24k Music Network, or music video shoots. I like to go out for lunch and dinner to see friends and socialize. At night, I am usually producing music, performing, or at an event. I will generally fall asleep between 1 and 2 am, if I don’t get flooded with ideas and start writing.
Q: If you had a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
Probably Chris Hemsworth, since he has been voted People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Just kidding… I would be flattered that they would make a movie about my life, so it’s a difficult question. I do really enjoy Matt Damon as an actor though.
Q: I think the world paints a pretty glamorous picture of the lifestyle of a producer/musician/actor etc. is that pretty accurate?
Yes, I agree with you. There is definitely glamour in the lifestyle, but most of the day is spent working very hard perfecting our craft. It is very demanding, but the rewards are amazing. People look to entertainers/producers as role models, and I feel with the glamour comes a duty to maintain good morals and values. Also showing appreciation to the fans is important, because they are the ones who buy our products.
Q: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you lately?
The funniest thing lately was being mistaken for Josh Groban on the red carpet.
Q: All in all, how would you summarize 2014 for you?
I am very blessed to say 2014 was a pretty amazing year for me with achieving chart success, working on a Grammy-Nominated album, performing and DJing in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. 24k Music Network has been really successful as well, and I have enjoyed all the events I have covered. I really thank and appreciated my family, friends, fans and also the tremendously talented artists I have worked with throughout the year.
Q: What can we expect from you in 2015?
I am really excited for 2015, as several albums and songs I have worked on and produced will be released. Drew Patrick is a talented teen singer with a new single coming out, April Diamond will be releasing her album and single “Lose Control” that I remixed, Larissa Lam has a new album which I co-produced and remixed four songs on, David Longoria will be releasing a new album, Marc Antonelli, Genevieve Birchman, L.IX. and Zach Bruce also have albums coming out that I worked on. I am also producing my own album to be released this year, as well as DJing clubs and festivals throughout the country.
Q: And lastly, can you tell us a joke?
Why doesn’t Dracula have any friends? Because he’s a pain in the neck….