Brad Allen Williams
Anyone who works passionately toward the creation of music develops, in time, a unique set of creative priorities and core values. These define us as artists and craftspeople, inform our collaborations with others, and help shape the work to which we contribute. Here are a few of mine.
- People most enjoy art that communicates some kind of feeling (or compelling anti-feeling). I feel it’s unwise to lose sight of this in the process of chasing perfection.
- Flawlessness is an aesthetic, but it is only one possible aesthetic—a relatively monochromatic one.
- Personnel is everything. Any personality invited into a situation impacts the comfort level. In particular, negative, self-serving, or judgmental personalities can sterilize a session by discouraging us from exposing our vulnerability. Since few emotional states are more artistically compelling than vulnerability, this can be of grave consequence.
- Good communication is crucial, and being a good communicator most of all requires being a sensitive listener.
- It’s foolish to argue against a potential course that hasn’t yet been tried in good faith—especially if it would be really easy to try.
- Deferring the identification of a problem (and its attendant solution) to ever-later parts of the recording process is tantamount to denial, which rarely ends well. Willingness to suspend disbelief, however, can have immense artistic value. Hopefully, experience teaches us the difference.
- Technology is non-linear. Some of the best processes and tools were created decades ago; others are on the bleeding edge of the technological curve. Allegiance to either old or new for its own sake is to miss half of it.
- Finally, the biggest mistake a producer can make is to fail to recognize when the artist needs no input at all.
Ultimately, it all leads to one thing: there are near-infinite “correct” ways to write, arrange, perform, and record a piece of music. This remains, to me, the single most humbling and inspiring thing about doing this. I learn something new from my collaborators on every project, especially when we work together and end up surprising ourselves. Let’s make a record!
Brad Allen Williams is proud to count among his collaborators such diverse and creative artists as José James, Denitia, Blessing Offor, Sly5thAve, Kimberly Nichole, Melany Watson, Jen Dale, and many others