Pascal Guyon is a three-time Grammy nominee. He is a French music producer who has found much success working with artists known for their big voices, such as Leona Lewis and Anthony Hamilton. He has also done work in the Latin, jazz and classical scenes. I wanted to hear insight from a seasoned producer with a diverse resume.
Q: How has your background in jazz and classical music influenced your approach to creating more modern dance or R&B tracks, like the work you did for Steph Jones?
A: People often say my pop records sound very musical. It certainly comes from all the studying I did, like practicing the piano 10 hours a day, transcribing hundreds of jazz and Latin music albums and being mentored by elite classical, jazz and Latin music artists. I think this path led me to understanding music on a much deeper level than a lot of producers.
Q: Has working on Latin music impacted the way you feel about Latin culture? What does it mean to you, in today’s world?
A: Let’s be clear, my trips to Cuba were the best ever, the most soulful experience ever, which is highly meaningful to me because soul is the number one quality I look for in people in general.
Cuba is an incredible mix of African/European/U.S. culture. There is so much depth there compared to rich countries. It made me think that the money chasing in rich countries is taking people away from their true selves.
Q: Record sales are down, music can be streamed for free so easily, and it is difficult to make a name for yourself in this industry. What would be your advice for young professionals just starting out in the rough world of the music business?
A: This is the kind of stuff I talk about in my mentoring program for singers/songwriters. I tell them they shouldn’t want to be in the music business, they should aim to be widely recognized for their unique self well beyond music circles. You have to create content around a unique thing/skill and aggressively show it off on social medias and learn how to make the most of social medias. This is THE key to growing a following and a long career.
Q: How do you feel about many stars relying on the same, select few producers, like Max Martin? Do you think that they should branch out?
A: The problem is that artists going to Max Martin or any other huge producer often get these producers’ own sound and not really something unique that they could have developed with another maybe less known and less skilled producer.
I’m a big fan of Justin Timberlake (and I told him a long time ago!), but I didn’t really enjoy “Can’t Stop the Feeling” that he did with Max Martin because it’s sounding like another Max Martin record and much less like a Justin Timberlake record. Justin’s sound used to be defined by his collaborations with The Neptunes and Timbaland, with whom he found magic combinations — there was something quite special there.
Q: It seems as if less and less mainstream artists are actually contributing a notable amount to the art that is making them famous. How do you feel about artists that rely on others to do the heavy-lifting? Do you think the integrity in the industry is going downhill?
A: I actually openly call these types of artists useless since they’re not bringing anything to the table. I think there’s only a very, very few of these useless artists who will manage to have long careers, maybe helped by their looks, but this is not a business model to follow for artists. Once again and by definition, an artist is a very unique character who gets recognized for his uniqueness.
Q: How do you feel about the Music Has Value campaign verses streaming systems like Spotify, that have been accused of not fairly compensating artists?
A: I think these are just steps towards being fully handled by the block-chain technology. Middle men like ASCAP, BMI and many more will disappear (not tomorrow though). Imogen Heap already understood this and started to distribute music this way so that anybody who participated to the song get paid instantly after purchase thanks to this technology; no need to go through publishers, managers and PRO societies. It will certainly take a while before the majority of music get handled this way since cryptocurrencies are still quite new and not yet adopted by everybody, but this is the obvious future.
Halle Weber is a freshman studying journalism with a focus in news and information at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. How do you feel about latin-influenced music? Let Halle know by emailing or tweeting her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @HalleWeber13, respectively.