Don’t Be The Smartest Person in the Room!!

Kenny’s Tip of the Day - Don’t Be The Smartest Person in the Room!!

I have been around a lot of record producers and heard from many of them who seem to think that the job is to know more than everyone else in the room. Sometimes taking it to the extreme and actually belittling the artists they work with as they “clearly” know more than them.

This is a big mistake on many fronts. First, you’re not going to get anywhere as a record producer if you make the artists feel small. You’re trying to create great musical performances and you’re not going to get the best out of them if they don’t feel comfortable working with you and in the environment you create. Your job is to nurture them. Not show off for them. Or worse, stroke your ego by pointing out their ineptitude.

But more importantly, your career is going nowhere if you’re the smartest guy in the room. If I’m producing a band and I’m a better drummer than the band’s drummer, I’ve made a terrible mistake somewhere. I have not utilized my talent as a producer to get better musicians to record on this project. And the creative result will obviously suffer.

Our goal is NOT to be better than the people we record. If you think that, you’re just wrong. Because the smartest guy in the room certainly isn’t the one spending his life recording terrible music. You need to work on that. Get good and get better clients.

The goal is to have everyone in the room being the best at their respective roles. Sure, as the producer you might know more than the musicians at certain things. Maybe you have a better arrangement idea that will keep the song moving forward in the most impactful way. Something the band might have overlooked. Or maybe you can hear how the piano part might work better up an octave in the breakdown to make it feel more intimate for the recording. Something overlooked by the piano player. But he or she better be the better piano player in that room.

The other people in the room should be able run circles around you with their expertise. The Bass player better be the best Bass player in that room. If not, you messed up. The recording process should be like a think tank where each member excels at something and everyone respects the knowledge of the other members. And how they also come from a different perspective but it’s not thru ignorance. Or that they had the biggest garage to rehearse in.

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I hope this message finds you well. Kenny Gioia