Tony Visconti has worked with an array of performers including Thin Lizzie, Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers, Kaiser Chiefs Manic Street Preachers and T.Rex in his career, but it was his collaborations with David Bowie that made him a household name in the music industry, the pair having worked on 13 albums together, including his final album Blackstar released in January 2016.
Described as one of the most important and influential producers in the history of rock, he was in February of this year awarded the PPL-sponsored Music Producers Guild Award for his Outstanding Contribution to UK music.
Here are his five top tips on making a successful career as a music producer:
1. A producer is boss. You get more out of an artist when you are comfortable enough to give constructive criticism.
2. Listen to what’s come before you. Whether you like it or not, you don’t have to say that the Beatles were the best group ever, but you have to say that you listened to the Beatles. Before the Beatles the world was kind of black and white, and the Beatles opened up the possibilities, so get to know their music.
3. Broaden your musical education. Learn scales and chords and what they’re named. The more you know, the better it will serve your career. Your career will be long lasting.
4. Know exactly how to get your work out there. What labels look out for is success at grassroots level. If a young producer can make a YouTube hit or a Facebook hit – it will bring the attention of a label in. If someone is really trending, they will get signed.
5. Learn many instruments and be computer savvy. It’s ultra-important to have a little bit of music training. The technology doesn’t make a hit record, it just makes it easier.