Hi Friends, I’m thrilled to introduce you to film composer, record producer, songwriter and keyboardist extraordinaire CJ Vanston.
CJ has over 600 records under his belt and is well versed in many different areas of the music industry: From being a renowned session player and musician and recording for legendary artists such as Prince, Celine Dion, BB King, to touring and with Joe Cocker and Tina Turner. Scoring film music for movies such as ‘Sweet home Alabama‘ and many others, producing and writing records for Ringo Starr, Joe Cocker, N Sync and Toto, Richard Marx and Spinal Tap. – This guy has done it all!
In the interview, CJ tells us how he worked his way up in the industry and points out the skills he believes are essential to being successful. He shares many cool insider stories about Spinal Tap, Joe Cocker and Jeff Beck and Carole King, but most importantly, he lets us know about his approach to composing and record production:
“The more you see the more you feel, the more you can write about…. emotion is what we’re doing, we’re not doing sample rates.”
“When I produce records, we’ll try anything, always. Don’t let yourself be pinned into a corner.“
CJ shares secrets that he picked up by working alongside some of the top producers, writers and engineers in the industry: From Al Schmitt, to CLA and Barbra Steisand and gives you tips on how to work with bands and artists to produce the best records possible:
“The job of a producer is to create a vibe and a save environment where you are not afraid to fuck up. That’s where the music grows. “
Learn how to create music that connects with your listeners, touches them emotionally and turns them into raging fans:
“I learnt to make music for the people. You’re not just making music for yourself. You’re trying to make people feel something. You want to elevate people or pull them back and make them think about something. Don’t ever lose that connection.“
I hope you enjoy this interview and are able to pick up lots of great insights to move forward with your own career and music!
We’ll be back with CJ to take a tour of his studio and his amazing vintage keyboard and syth collection. Even through this was a long and in-depth conversation, there is a lot more where this is coming from.
If you have any questions for CJ, please leave them in the comments below and we’ll make sure to cover them.