Mark Batson is an American Music Producer, Music Arranger, Songwriter and Keyboardist. He is best known for working alongside Dr. Dre in Aftermath Records, producing some of the best in the game and as far as I am concerned he is one of the top music producers in the music industry to date. I was blessed to be able to converse with such a talent in the industry for an exclusive interview. Batson has many great hits coming out with Alicia Keys (Posted Above) and Leanne Rimes so stay tuned for all the great work that is still set to release.
Mark is the prime example to show that it doesn’t matter to where you come from, but only where you want to go. Believe in yourself and believe in your vision, because all things are possible and never let anyone say that you can’t accomplish whatever your goals may be. Exclusive Interview with Mark Batson Below:
For the Music Producers out there who are not familiar with who you are please introduce yourself as to what you do in the music industry?
My name is Mark Batson. I am a primarily known as songwriter and music producer who helps artists actualize their artistic dreams. I’ve been a music performer, promoter, producer, musical director, film composer, orchestrator, arranger and pretty much done every music-oriented job in the entertainment business.
How has it been co-producing and co-writing next to Dr. Dre in your career as a music producer?
It has been an incredible experience to see the best producer who ever did the ‘damn thing’ at work. It’s been incredible to be a part of history, to sit next to Dr. Dre in the recording studio and watch him do the stellar work that he always does and to witness the discipline of creating fine art at the highest level.
When you delve into the legacy of hip-hop and start using the words “Greatest Of All Time” or top 5 you would see that Dre not only wrote, recorded, produced and mixed magnificently classic records with Tupac, Nas, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Jay Z, but also has Eminem and Kendrick Lamar signed to his label. Having been producer of the year at the Grammys, being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and being the highest paid music mogul in history with Beats pretty much makes him the G.O.A.T. in my book.
You are an amazing Keyboardist! When did you first know you wanted to pursue a career in music and when did you start taking it seriously?
Playing music was the thing that came to me naturally and the easiest. I have perfect pitch and can hear single notes when played on a piano and tell you what they are. Everyone has some gift that they are allotted in life and music was mine. I love to create all kinds of music and sounds and to make a living at it is a life of gratitude to the creator.
I’ve taken different phases of music creation seriously at different times. In college, I was serious about jazz styles and vibed with the music of Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen and Kenny Kirkland as well as stride pianists from the early jazz era like Fats Waller and Jellyroll Morton.
The entire time though, I was always engulfed in hip-hop music and the hip-hop lifestyle. When Eric B and Rakim dropped their first single it furthered my commitment to wanting to work in the hip–hop music that I watched the birth of in New York City. When Wild Style first came out when I was in High School my dream was to be a superstar rapper. Even in my dreams sometimes I’m on the mic rocking huge parties like I did when I was a kid in the projects in Brooklyn. I’ve been serious about being a dedicated musician my entire adult life, piano, keyboards and synths, drum machines, songwriting, lyrics, melody…just serious.
What are some of the previous work that you just finished and what are some records and music artists that you are working with now?
I just finished and released Anthony Hamilton’s album, ‘What I’m Feelin’ and we have the title track on the radio now. I produced some of Skylar Grey’s album with Mike Elizondo and Eminem and have Sky and Em’s duet on Youtube now, “Kill For You” with 7 million listens. Leann Rimes album I also produced with Darrell Brown and that drops October 28th in the UK and Alicia Keys album drops November 4th that I also did writing and production on. This is a hot season for me. I did some cool keyboard work on Eminem’s freestyle “Campaign Speech” that just dropped. I am going back in with new projects for the fall, two new movies, the soundtrack to my graphic novel and back in the studio with my home team at Aftermath.
At what point in your career did you realize you made it to the next level?
It was 2001 and I was nominated with India.Arie for Album Of The Year at the Grammys. I was sitting in the audience on the ground level and I was looking around at superstar producers, singers, musicians, actors and athletes and felt that feeling I feel when I go to an NBA game and realize that it’s just a blown out version of a high school gym. I felt like I fit in with ease and nothing was going to stop me from creating and competing on that level. The next day I talked to Bono for a while in the lobby of my hotel and he told me it was only the beginning for me. I took a picture with him that sticks in my mind.
What inspires you to keep going forward even when life gets real tough for you and how do you stay humble through it all?
I’m from the projects in Brooklyn during a rough era for New York. At a very young age I was fighting for my life against treacherous opposition. My parents instilled in me the moral structure and also the discipline to make the right choices at the right time that led me to the success I have enjoyed. I always remember where I came from, and honor my commitment to be in service to humanity. When things get rough I think about how much tougher they are for others. I work with charitable organizations and also have traveled to Africa and helped with kids in schools while I was there. So many people have to struggle more than we do. I love helping people make their dreams come true which in turn allows my dreams to mature.
So what is next for Mark Batson? I feel like greatness is surrounded all around you. What is the next big thing you look forward to doing in your careers future?
I have some great art projects I am developing. I have a graphic novel series called LoadedSeries.com that I am developing for film and TV. It is a story of a guy and girl who grow up in two different cities in gangs and both wind up excelling at military operations. I have consulted with military specialists from Army to Navy Seals. I have unique music and artwork that are attached to the projects and a lot of people are digging it and helping me with taking the vision to the next level. I am telling the story with my narration and classical music combined with hip-hop. Dr. Dre is also going to do some interesting beats with classical music with me on the project.
A major festival promoter in Europe is asking me to make an album for festival season of some unique dance music and I started developing music and visuals for a large audience presentation. I want to make a project that incorporates meditation, positive visualization and affirmations that is built to entertain an audience of festival proportion. I want to include songs and performances with some of the artists that I have worked with over the years. I’ve already started collaborating with some cool DJ’s and have a few songs done. Social Media can create an environment for negativity to grow until the point that so many people feel that we are approaching a dystopian society when this we could possibly be on the verge of the greatest time in human history. I want to make music about our possible utopic future. Our future is glowing if we claim it.
I am also working on an operatic piece about black recon and spy soldiers at the end of the Civil War called God’s Soldiers. The music feels like Paul Robeson meets Wu-Tang. It’s a brand new sound. I am so interested in presenting my personal sounds and artwork in the next few years. I’ve spent so much time developing the artwork and musical dreams of my friends that I’m excited about presenting some of my own, unique personal visions.
For inspirational purposes what’s some advice you can give to the early music producers out there who intend on taking their careers to the next level and are contemplating on making that big move to Los Angeles, CA?
The race goes to the ones who stay in it the longest, the ones who methodically chisel at the rock every days Keep going, get better, create with others, help others, get busy, make magic every day and see the magic in life that is around you, in the voices and conversations of your friends and family.
How can your fans find you online and keep up with all the projects you are currently working on?
I’m the most active on my personal Facebook page. It’s where my friends and family are and although it goes out to Twitter and I sometimes post on Instagram being a friend or follower on my daily Facebook page is the best way to stay grooving with what I’m cooking up.
Just in case you missed out on Eminem’s latest “Campaign Speech”7 Minute freestyle this past week here it is! Dope Keyboards and Drums by Mark Batson. Denaun Porter, and Emilie Haynie. This is the exclusive only at The Official AO!
Ever wondered what a film composer does and what their job title consists of? Has your heart ever skipped a beat while sitting at the edge of your seat because of the build-up music suspense? Well I want everyone to meet Matthew Head, an Emmy Award winning film and television Film composer who is the man behind the suspenseful music scenes. He has done some great work with some of your favorite actors, directors and music artists like Goapele, Terri J. Vaughn, Rickey Smiley and a many more to name. Matthew is the creative genius behind the music and is currently working on bigger projects to date. It’s great to work with such a talented individual in the entertainment industry. I have had the opportunity to sit down with Matthew a few times over the phone about what exactly he does and what’s next to come from his work. For the full interview with Matthew read below.
What do you enjoy most about being a film composer?
The art of building the music and emotion around the film. Creating new sounds and feeding off the energy of the film is very enjoyable. It’s not about making music that fits the scene, but adding the emotion that will push the scene to another level.
Who are some notable people that you were stoked about working with in your career thus far?
I usually do not have the privilege of meeting the actors, I only deal with the directors and producers of a project. But with that being said, I’ve had the opportunity to share projects with Actor/director Terri J. Vaughn, singer/songwriter Goapele, comedian Rickey Smiley and others.
Do you feel like you have achieved your ultimate goals in your career or do you feel like you haven’t reached your peak and why?
I don’t think I will ever reach my peak. My goals get bigger and more extravagant each day. I just put my head down work and let everything fall in place. I really don’t think about it, I just take the opportunities, Thank God, and do what I do best.
What are some current projects that you are working with and what networks will be airing it?
I am currently scoring the film The Woman on the Ledge, directed by Trey Haley and starring Rumor Willis. The film will be airing on LIfetime Television in 2017. I just finished scoring the comedy, #DigitalLivesMatter directed by Terri J. Vaughn starring comedian DC Young Fly. There are a few other projects that I can’t really go into detail about. But stay tuned…
How tough has the road been to success for you?
The road hasn’t been tough because I enjoy the journey. I never sought out to be a film composer, so everything has been new and happens so fast. I take every experience as a learning tool and I apply it to my next project. I truly enjoy and love what I do.
What kind of legacy would you like to leave to your loved ones after everything is said and done?
My legacy is based around who I’ve touched and how touched them. It doesn’t have to be music. Music is a love and a gift that I have and I don’t want it to define me as a man, father, husband. etc. I use music as a tool to mentor and teach others. My legacy can be defined by living my dreams and sharing my gift.
What’s some advice you have to the future film and television composers out there in the world in staying focused towards success?
KEEP WORKING!!! Take advantage of ALL opportunities. Always say yes and never try to say No.
How can everyone find you on social media?
You can follow me on twitter at @mattheadmusic and on instagram @mattheadmusic. My website is www.matthewheadproductions.com
Also, Check out Matthews’s latest Film Reel Here only at Official AO