In my previous blog, I talked about how I got my first work; in this one, I talk about what that work was like.

This tiny room was my first pro studio!

At the time, my studio was basically my loft. It was a poky little room with a height restriction (anyone over 6’1” had to stoop). I was kind of embarrassed about recording in there so I actually recorded my first few clients in my living room. There was a dining room chair to them to sit on, a microphone and a laptop. It was a hopelessly amateur, but my skills as a producer were there and it always sounded good.

I would then take the recordings and edit them and add extra instruments in my studio after they’d gone.

Word spread pretty quickly about my production work. Word of mouth is a brilliant thing and at one point there was a trail of eight artists that I worked with after one had recommended me to the next.

Within a year, I was working with about a dozen artists on various different projects.

As I worked with singer-songwriters I honed my working methods. I started to realise that music production is not just the musical or technical side of things, but there is also a huge personal and psychological aspect to my job as well. I had to be a problem solver, a motivator, an advisor, a counsellor, and many other things.

As well as this, there was the business side. It took me forever to work out a way of charging that worked for me and the artist. My current tier system is working pretty well.

Meanwhile, my first few composition jobs were corporate/explainer videos, where people wanted the music to precisely match the video content. One company called me, as their regular composer let them down and asked if I could have something for them by the next day. I delivered, and they used me from then on.

Another client asked me if I could do sound effects. I took a look at the video, decided I could do that and now sound effects is another string to my bow.

The thing I probably least expected, but has worked well for me, was voiceovers. Again, a client asked me if I knew of any voiceover artists, I put an advert out on social media and got a few replies, built a database of voiceover artists and now I am the go-to person for voiceover artists for a lot of clients, in the East Midlands and beyond. It was something that I never expected to end up doing, but you go where the work is, and I’m very happy to help people with their voiceovers!

Recently, I’ve got heavily into library music; but that’s a blog for another time.

Like any job, it’s been difficult at times. I’ve had tricky clients who don’t know what they want, I’ve had people trying to rip me off and most alarmingly, I’ve had days when my muse simply isn’t there.

I have one more blog to go – and that is a large list of pointers and advice to anyone thinking about going into this for a living.

Here’s Part 5