Songwriter and producer Stixx talks with “On the Come Up” about his news for you.
Where are you originally from?
Stixx: Milwaukee, WI.
What was your first introduction to the music industry?
S: I’m a drummer first. I started out playing drums when I was five at my dad’s church. I grew up in church and was always playing music. I was in jazz band in middle and high school, then I played in a band right out of high school. I got so much exposure with them. We did some shows in New York. That’s when I got the call to do the Angie Stone and Anthony Hamilton gig. I started touring with Angie Stone and Anthony Hamilton back in 2004. I ended up meeting Eric [Benet], while I was on tour in 2005. Eric heard me play. He liked my drumming. I started touring with Eric. I’ve been his drummer ever since. I’ve always had the passion for production, but writing was just a personal thing I did on the side. I didn’t bring it to the surface until I had the confidence to bring it to the surface. Once he [Eric] heard it he said, “You’re nice. We should do something.” So, Eric is my greatest accessory to getting in. I also give credit to Angie Stone.
What do you think sets you apart from other songwriters and producers?
S: Well, I try to think out the box. I feel like my sound as a producer is just a fresh new sound. It’s just timeless. I think that sets me apart. Also, understanding and not being afraid to have your own sound.
What are you currently working on?
S: I’m working with artist Beandrea Brakensick who’s currently on Truth Records. He was on American Idol last season, and he did very well. I was honored to get on the project. George Nash, Jr is the executive producer of the album. He’s like Terence Trent D’Arby meets Bruno Mars. I’m excited about the project. I’m also excited about working with the writing team, The Soft Boys.
What inspires you to compose music?
S: I hear music in my head. I’ll hear a song in my head and just want to get it out. I would hear songs in my head and it would be a release to get a song out that I had trapped in my head. Music is just in my head and I just have to get it out.
Who is your musical mentor and why?
S: I feel like my musical mentor would be Prince. I love Prince. A lot of my music has stemmed from his sound. I’m a ‘80s baby and I love ‘80s music. He is definitely the ‘80s king – besides Michael Jackson – and he dominated. It’s something about Prince. He went outside the box. He just covers all of the bases. He’s a good writer, producer and he makes hits. He’s just not afraid to be himself. Also, Teddy Riley set the trend for his sound. I feel he had the industry in his hand. He had the sound back then. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are amazing. They created a sound. They branded themselves and they had a system. I try to keep a system because systems work when it comes to making hits. Rodney Jerkins also created his own sound and branded himself. J Dilla, too. I must mention him. You knew when a J Dilla beat came on. One last person, D’Angelo. Voodoo is one of my favorite albums of his. All of these people have things in common and they all inspire me.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming songwriters and producers?
S: My advice would be to take the risk. If you want to be successful and if you have a love for what you’re doing, everything will come. When I say “everything,” I mean the placements, meeting people, etc – it will work itself out. Also, put yourself in situations where you’re able to make connections. It’s all about putting yourself in situations where people can hear you. And stay humble. Don’t do 100% – do 200%.
For more information on Stixx, follow him on Twitter at @wyzze.