LUXELIFEATL.COM Producer Spotlight: Pascal Guyon
Being a 3x Grammy nominated producer and working with major names in the industry like Anthony Hamilton, Joe Budden and Leona Lewis is no small feat. Doing this while going all over the world, from France to USA makes these accomplishments even more noteworthy! Grammy nominated producer/ songwriter Pascal Guyon shares with us how he reached success in the music industry and his own views on music.
How did you first get started in music production? What mainly made you interested in Hip Hop and R&B production?
– When I was 3 years old, I used to hit my tiny music instruments to play along with the songs I liked on the radio (I destroyed quite a few Lego boxes this way haha!). My parents found a keyboard teacher for me in the French countryside where we were living. I quickly got addicted to sounds… I got an arranger keyboard with a small sequencer function and some pre-programmed loops in it. I felt frustrated by the limitations of this keyboard, so by 11, I asked my parents for a real sequencer and a real synthesizer. After getting these I started to imitate all the hits I liked on the radio and started composing/producing a bit. Then, I got my classical piano graduations at 18 and became a teacher in the same school a year later. I also spent 3 years learning from the top jazz players in Europe and became a Cuban music specialist, playing with elite Cuban musicians/artists and ended up being invited to play on a Cuban stage with a legendary salsa band called Bamboleo. These events were obviously key in my evolution as a producer. In 2007, I got invited to Los Angeles by 1 of the biggest songwriter/producers of all time, Walter A and music executive, Chris Ivery. This started my US achievements.
You’ve worked with stars like Anthony Hamilton, Leona Lewis and the legendary Heavy D. Who would you say gave you your first big break as a producer or songwriter?
– Getting on albums with Leona Lewis and Anthony Hamilton is definitely life changing even though my involvement with these was somewhat small. I don’t think I had a specific big break as a producer, it’s been a slow progression and producing is just a small part of what I do.
I’m a musician first, so collaborating with some of the most incredible musicians around the world was certainly the most fulfilling and rewarding. New producers often forget or don’t even consider that producing involves a lot of knowledge in instrumentation, orchestration, performing and understanding what an artist is looking for in order to properly serve them. Magic is made when you work so much on your craft that it becomes 2nd nature. I used to practice the piano 10 hours a day…It does make a major difference when working with artists.
As far as production goes, what is your favorite genre to work with?
– I like soulful stuff, which is why I got involved with salsa music early on. I like to deal with strong, unique human beings with depth. I enjoy working with people who are the most centered, in tune with themselves. Authenticity is rare nowadays, therefore it’s an edge.
But you can find elements of soul in any kind of music even if it “sounds” pop. It’s all about what the artist and the overall song feel like.
As a Grammy nominated producer/songwriter, how do you feel about the current state of mainstream Hip Hop and R&B?
-Everything works in cycles. We’re obviously in an area where urban music is at the lowest quality point it has ever been. Though, it’s not about my personal opinion, it’s about the definition of music. Music is defined by tension and release. The less tension and release the lowest quality a piece of music is. This is what we’re lacking in today’s modern music.
I studied all the historical albums for R&B and hip hop music; I don’t think there is anything worth mentioning nowadays since there’s nothing new or beating the quality of what has already been done. However, I do enjoy Kendrick Lamar and appreciate his music work.
What other endeavors do you have a passion for outside of music?
-People can check out on my website that I cook, I trade stocks, I draw and I’m involved with some of the most disruptive technology companies like Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (new way of transportation) and Project Nourished (The 1st virtual reality gastronomical experience).
What are some current musical projects and who are some current artists that you are working with at the moment?
-I can’t really say who I’m working at this point but 1 of the things I’m working on involves music influences all over the world. The rest of the time I’m producing and mentoring independent artists who hire me for these services. I teach them how to think outside of the box to grow their career in unique ways, just like my own story growing up in a tiny French village, getting my music all the way to the Grammys multiple times, working with Hedgefunds and top technology projects. The time of “being signed” is over. Big labels and music executives have been unable to adapt. It’s all about building your brand around your music skills. New artists mostly explode off social Medias. I teach all that in my mentoring program at pascalguyon.org/mentoring.