…I have so many ideas, but first I’d like to start helping kids create their music early on. Me and my producer have talked about starting a laptop drive where we collect used, old, and even new laptops. We’ll load them up with production software and give them to the kids. We hope this will help them make beats, and record themselves after class or in their free time. We wish we had that growing up so we’d love to play our part in providing it for the next generation of musicians!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cranston who is a professional record producer & recording artist from Dallas, Texas. He’s produced records for artists including Drumma Boy, Chamillionaire, Dorrough Music, and has worked with several recording artists from Atlantic Records. He has also released 3 solo albums as an independent artist — ‘Late Bloomer’, ‘Halfway’, & ‘Missing My Memories’.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for having me, I really appreciate this! I was born into music. My grandfather, Classie Ballou, started a family band well before I was born. My dad played the drums, my uncle played the bass, my aunt played rhythm guitar and several other instruments, and my older cousin played the accordion. We played music of all genres, Blues, Country, Zydeco, Rock, you name it. When I was 10 years old, my grandfather started me on the scrub board to learn timing, so my music education was well-rounded early on.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
I have an older cousin named Cedryl who got me into the Zydeco music scene when I was a kid. He was the lead singer and accordion player of his own band. I always wanted to play drums behind him since I joined the family band. That was my dream. There was a moment when Cedryl fired his drummer, he then looked at me and said “I’m going to teach you how to play drums and you’ll be my new drummer.” We practiced every night for a few weeks at our grandmother’s church in Waco, Texas. Sure enough, we were on the road playing everywhere across Texas and Louisiana. I was only 12 years old & getting paid for it too. I thought all of it was crazy.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’ve been working on new music that I plan to release next year. It’s a special mixtape for my fans to let them more inside my life. There are so many stories I haven’t shared yet. I’m taking my time with it. I’ve also been working with other artists as a producer. Look out for production credits by ‘Lucky Genius’, that’s the name I started with before becoming an artist.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I have quite a few stories! A career in music is never short of those.
Growing up in Dallas, I started getting into Rap / Hip-Hop / and R&B as a producer. I remember tweeting Tum Tum when I first started making beats. For those who don’t know, Tum Tum is a legendary rapper from Dallas. Period. He’s known for being part of DSR (Dirty South Rydaz), a music group responsible for the rap music coming out of the city early on. I asked if I could send him beats because I always wanted to work with him. He gave me his email and I sent him my best beats. I didn’t get a response and figured I just need to get better. Fast forward two years later, I started working with an artist from South Dallas named ‘Lil Man’. He loved the beats I was making and was really cool with Tum Tum. Lil Man ended up getting Tum Tum on a song with all of us called ‘Too Gone’. That was a dope moment for me. You just never know when things will come back full circle.
Drumma Boy is another big inspiration for me. I’ve always been influenced by his production. I had the opportunity to work with him in the studio and we did a song together. I played him beats and he started rapping. That caught me off guard because I believed we would collaborate on a beat. He started recording in the booth, even going as far as to help the engineer with the mixing. That was a priceless experience because I got to witness someone who can do it all once his mind is set. That’s where we had a connection. He doesn’t operate within limitations, and neither do I.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
My dad inspires me the most. He’s been a drummer, band director, recording artist, producer, and has traveled with several bands on the road. Looking up to that really made me set the bar high for myself.
When I wanted to start producing, he told me I needed to learn the piano if I wanted to be the best at making beats. So I did exactly that. We would go to Guitar Center and buy studio equipment. I started writing songs & recording them myself. He has helped me with everything from song-writing to mixing and arrangements. His understanding of the music process, and support for what I do has been invaluable to me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As an artist who puts his soul into the craft, I intend for my music to be the ultimate catalyst of impact and joy. I embrace the journey, smile with it and never take any of it for granted. Music is my gift, so I have to share it back with the world. That’s my purpose.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Thank you, that means a lot! I have so many ideas, but first I’d like to start helping kids create their music early on. Me and my producer friend, Nineteen87, have talked about starting a laptop drive where we collect used, old, and even new laptops. We’ll load them up with production software and give them to the kids. We hope this will help them make beats, and record themselves after class or in their free time. We wish we had that growing up so we’d love to play our part in providing it for the next generation of musicians!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Appreciate what you have at the moment and be patient. Gratitude, love & time cure all. Don’t rush your art and don’t let anyone else rush it either.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Be Yourself, Be Authentic — When you tap into your creativity, you become vulnerable.
You’ll constantly experience being uncomfortable outside of your world, so you’ll need to get real comfortable in your own skin.
2. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, just do you.
3. Embrace the journey, every feeling and every facet — Use music as your outlet to express it.
4. Aim high and make your dreams so big, it scares you. Then overcome that fear to become the best version of yourself.
5. No Excuses. Remember this quote: ‘Everyone is self-made, only the successful will admit it.’
*Bonus — Read ‘The Rules’ by Bob Lefsetz –
Drake tweeted this article a while back & it’s still worthy advice for all aspiring musicians out there: https://lefsetz.com/wordpress/2012/10/22/rules-2/
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Drake, Pharrell, & Quincy Jones.
They are some of the most creative and colorful musicians of our time and I’d be honored to meet them!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram: @iamcranston & @lucky777genius
Originally published at medium.com