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There really is not a clear definition of what a Music Producer is, but there are two types. One is someone who develops an artist’s sound and image, and helps them grow into a marketable product. This column focuses on the other type — an Audio Producer, like Jaron Henderson ’10. Audio producers are responsible for conducting musicians, engineers, and artists during recording sessions. It is their job to compose, arrange, mix, and master the music into a final audio product. Some notable producers that may come to mind are Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, The Neptunes, and Timbaland.
Interview by Soleil Grant ’10 | Special to The Stampede
BMHS STAR: Jaron (J.J.) Henderson
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a great artist in our midst, right here at Bishop McNamara. He is a talented music producer aspiring to break into the music industry. If you have not yet gotten to know this month’s BMHS Music Star, Jaron “J.J.” Henderson, you should definitely add it to your “to do” list.
You might not know him, but if you attended Sankofa Night or BMHS’s Talent Show you’ve certainly heard him. One of his beats was used in a rap performance. Also, he performed himself, playing the piano, alongside a singing act. Now he still drums in Afican Dance III and IV. Most recently, his outgoing personality charmed the Class of 2010 to vote him as their Homecoming Prince.
Soleil: Hey Jaron!
Jaron: Hey Soleil-lay! Wussup!
Soleil: Nothing, How are you?
Soleil: Okay, so let’s get this started…Where are you from?
Jaron: I was born in D.C. When I was two I moved to Clinton, MD, and I’ve lived there ever since.
Soleil: What producers inspire you?
Jaron: I have a top three, with no specific order: Timbaland, Kanye West, and the Neptunes.
Soleil : Why are these people inspring to you?
Jaron: They are all on their own level. They are unique, They branch out to all genres, and they have a lot of experience in the game. (Music industry)
Soleil: Do remember the time, place, how old you were, etc. of your life when you decided that producing is what you want to do?
Jaron: I was in the 5th grade and school just got out, and I heard “Grindin’” by the Clipse for the first time. That was when I decided to make beats. (“Grindin” was produced by the Neptunes)
Soleil: How much of your daily time do you devote to producing?
Jaron: When I get home and finish all my homework, I’m just at it until late at night.
Soleil: I know this type of commitment can be a costly one. How much money have you invested into studio equipment, etc.?
Jaron: All together, about $935.00.
Soleil: Wow! Is it hard to persuade your parents into letting you spend this kind of money?
Jaron: Yes, very hard. They would rather me do things more practical.
Soleil: Like what?
Jaron: Like business, something that I can fall back on if the music doesn’t work out.
Soleil: I remember you telling me about a manager and studio time. So what’s going on with that?
Jaron: I am waiting to find the right people who will spend money and time to pay for studio time, people who are dedicated to putting projects together.
Soleil: On average, how much does studio time cost at studios that you look at?
Jaron: Like $60.00 an hour. I don’t always go to the same studio, though. It’s different everytime.
Soleil: At home on your computer, that’s where you work right?
Soleil: What software do you use?
Jaron: I use a combination. They’re called Reason 4 and FL Studio 8.
Soleil: How do you find the softwares you use and how do you know if they’re good or not before you buy them?
Jaron: I get demos of the software from friends of mine, and then I go on the internet and research on the stuff I’m looking at to know if it’s good or not.
Soleil: How much does the software cost?
Jaron: Reason 4 was about $300.00 and the same for FL Studio 8.
Soleil: In general, how do your parents feel about you devoting so much time and money into this? Do they support you?
Jaron: They like it because it’s something constructive. It keeps me out of trouble and it keeps me busy. They like jammin’ to my stuff, my mom likes the stuff.
Soleil: Who would be your dream artist to work with? You can give more than one…
Jaron: Right now, definitely Lupe Fiasco.
Jaron: because his style of lyricism is completely different from everything else that you’re hearing.
Soleil: Anybody else?
Jaron: T.I. and Jay-Z.
Jaron: The reason for Jay-z is because, he’s Jay-z. He’s timeless!
Soleil: Yayyyyy!!! Ok, so who would be your dream producer to apprentice?
Jaron: Because he’s been around it all. He’s worked with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake, T.I., he’s worked with everybody.
Soleil: What instruments can you play?
Jaron: I basically just play the piano.
Soleil: Can you describe your style?
Jaron: It varies, but most of the time it’s dark.
Soleil: What do you mean by dark?
Jaron: Like an ugly, like ugly face beats.
Soleil: (Laughs) OK, so give 5 adjectives that describe your style of production.
Jaron: I don’t have beats in my head like some people, I just sit down and go. Whatever happens happens. One word I can think of is complex: you hear a lot of sounds in my beats, I use a lot of different sounds, and you notice new sounds the more you listen to them.
Soleil: Cool. So, have you ever heard a beat and tried to make a beat that basically mimicked the one you heard?
Jaron: Oh man, I remade “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” in like forty five minutes. And I remade “Foolish” by Shawty Lo.
Soleil: In your opinion what skills set does a person need to be a good producer?
Jaron: Determination definitely. When I first started out I was pretty bad. But now I’m at a pretty decent level, for my age and everything. Also, they need an ear for what sounds good.
Soleil: This is all so cool. Lastly where can people hear your beats?
Jaron: www.myspace.com/bassmentbeatz The “base” part of “basement” is spelled “bass”, like the sound in music…
It’s obvious, that Jaron is passionate about his dreams, and that making music is more than just a hobby. He is not stingy when it comes to sharing his music. So after you listen to his sound on his Myspace page, ask him for a demo. It would be best to get a hold of his beats now before he becomes grammy award winning, because then, he’ll be getting paid thousands of dollars just to make one!
by Soliel Grant
Photos by Grant Hill ’10 for The Stampede
See our Review of Sweeney Todd the Musical for the complete story.
PHOTO GALLERY. Click on image to see caption. Scroll with arrow keys or mouse.
**Update DEC. 2009 — The lead photo in this series won Honorable Mention for Photography in the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Individual Writing and Editing Contest Awards, Newspaper Division.
Joshua Crockett ’10
Today is the day! After multiple off-season workouts, nerve wrecking tryouts, and grueling first week of practice; it is finally time to get your uniform. Your eyes get big and your heart subtly skips a beat as you ponder what number will grace your person for the upcoming season. For returning players, a defensive posture is taken in order to protect what is rightfully theirs. Newcomers look on with optimistic hopes that decent options will be left for you to choose. Whichever person you are, the sense of excitement is heightened every three to four years when used uniforms are replaced with brand new apparel. But have you ever stopped and thought of where those new jerseys or your new shoes came from? Furthermore, have you thought of how much a worker was paid to make the t-shirts you practice in?
On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Wooten High School senior Ethan Miller spoke at McNamara about the importance of worker’s rights awareness. With representatives from McNamara, Gonzaga and John Carroll high school in attendance, Miller broke down the true reality of overseas sweatshop workers. At the heart of his presentation was the present battle of many organizations like USAS (united students against sweatshops) who are against Russell athletics for their sweatshop practices in Honduras.
Many schools have terminated their contracts with Russell Athletics due to student lead pressure. In tough economic climates, the loss of contracts from nationally respected institutions like Georgetown, Michigan, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and Marquette, have made proposals for the improvement of worker’s rights over in Honduras vital. In an attempt to somewhat save face, they have invited representatives from some of these schools in order to show how they have already began making work for Russell athletics a more humane working environment.
Even though Nike presents a sense of quality and style, there is a dark and unjust side of the company that some consumers don’t know or even care to know. Consumers see their favorite million dollar athletes on television commercials and magazine covers with Nike apparel and wish to have the same athletic wardrobe. What they don’t know is Nike pays factory workers poverty wages for long and grueling hours. The exploitation of these workers seems quite selfish due to the vast amount of revenue gained from the finished product.
To be completely fair to these major companies, the employment offered overseas does provide occupation for many citizens in their respective countries. The problem is that they have cut the worker salary to an unlivable wage in order to attain maximum profit.
According to HOLA, a cut of less than 1% of Nike’s advertising budget could double wages for all workers making Nike apparel.
Honestly, as one of the world most famous apparel company they could easily afford to give up 1% of advertising to support those that make them billions of dollars a year.
Over the years, styles and even the company preferred among high school students constantly changes. McNamara teams of the past did not typically feature well known designers like the teams of today. In fact, McNamara Alumni and current Athletic Director, Mr. Anthony Johnson says, “There really wasn’t an outward showing of a brand. Most of the uniforms were generic brand. The most common brand names were Champion and Rawlings.” For the most part, these brands have been out-shined by more innovative and revolutionary athletic apparel with companies like New Balance, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Nike, and Russell.
Mr. Johnson says, “As a fan, I like Nike’s style of clothing and gear. The quality of equipment speaks to the quality of the program.” Many athletes from around the school shared Mr. Johnson’s opinion and would prefer Nike apparel. However, the school is not officially sponsored by the apparel powerhouse known by its trademark “swoosh”. Teams like men’s and women’s lacrosse team wear uniforms made by Russell.
I am not saying in any way that supporting these athletic companies is immoral. However, as long as we continue to wear these overpriced products shouldn’t we make conscience efforts to think beyond the ‘label’? If the label doesn’t change their stance, are we strong enough as a generation to discontinue supporting their product?
Would the school consider discontinuing wearing such apparel produced by these companies?
Principal Marco Clark says, “It is definitely possible. We all have responsibility to respect ethical practices. We will always attempt to make sound and just decisions.”
In honor of the stampede’s Going Green initiative, take some time to educate yourself on the subject more in depth. If you find it interesting, try to become actively involved in the fight for global worker’s rights. Who knows, when you are in line to purchase those new cleats you shouldn’t JUST DO IT!