Name: Susan Tucker
Title: Artist development at Kim Copeland Productions and at Professional Artist Coaching.
Some artist I’ve worked with:
Rachel Williams (Universal/MoTown Records)
Sim Balkey (simbalkey.com)
Taylor Henry (taylorhenrymusic.com)
Top Ten Texas artist, Keith Norris
FEMMUSIC: How did you get started in studio production?
ST: It’s been a long and winding path. Actually not something I set out to become involved in.
I’ve written a couple books, The Soul of a Writer and The Secrets of Songwriting. Years ago, one the writers I had interviewed for the first book, invited Kim Copeland and myself to a recording session. Seeing how the professional’s work was an amazing learning experience and started us on a new path. Kim started “producing” all of our demos and before long people were hiring her to produce their demos and albums. In addition to being a great writer and musician, Kim is a trained vocalist and really knows how to get the best out of a singer. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
I’d say, 95% of people who record don’t know what to do after they have their new music in hand. With all of my experiences in song plugging, artist management, music publishing, etc., I signed on to be part of the production process. My role is to help our clients get in a great position to launch their music career, by filling in the knowledge they may be missing and areas of their talent that need developing.
I’ve met so many awesome people along the way. It’s been a great way to give back.
FEMMUSIC: Why did you want to start your own studio? What benefits & drawbacks does that have?
ST: Our studio is what we call a production studio. Meaning we don’t “rent it out”. We use it exclusively for our production clients. Its always busy, but the important thing is its always busy working strictly on our client’s music. On any given day, there may be tracking of music, recording vocals or background vocals, or mixing. We’ve found this to be a huge boost to the quality of the music that goes out our door.
Drawbacks? Only one I can think of is that we’re responsible for taking out the trash.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges do you see for women in studio production?
ST: I suppose it’s possible there are challenges, but we do what we do and never worry about that. In fact I think being women make us more nurturing which in turn benefits our clients.
FEMMUSIC: What mentors did you have when learning?
ST: Wow, I think most everyday I learn something from the great people in our industry.
One person who stands out is George Clinton. He was a world-renowned sound engineer who had worked with tons of superstars. George taught me, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all about everyone having fun while giving the project 110% effort. If it feels like work, you’re not doing it right.
FEMMUSIC: Are women in studio production treated differently than men? How do you see this?
ST: I think there probably is a “glass ceiling” that exists for women in most careers. But for the most part, its hasn’t prevented us from working with some awesome talent and having a great life. Can’t get any better than that. We just do what we do.
FEMMUSIC: What advice do you give to women wanting to go into studio work?
ST: My advice to women wanting to go into studio work is to not focus on learning one thing. Learn everything about everything and never stop. Develop a network. And don’t expect someone else to do it for you. I suppose I’d give that exact advice to a guy as well.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
ST: That’s a really hard one! I’d like to say, it would ne nice if the industry could find an easier way for people who think they have talent to get in front of the “right people”. But honestly, I think it works the way it needs to. In reality, being a famous artist means understanding that this is the music/entertainment business. Which in turn means that if you hope to find that success, you have to become so good in business and performance that you don’t need a record label. Then, they will be interested in you!
That’s our business model in working with an artist. We always strive to give them a strong base upon which to start their career. If they become great performers and great business and marketing people, I believe there will be great success for them.