September 20, 2011

Producer Happy Perez Finds His Bliss and Earns his Success

By Tamone Bacon with additional reporting by Joncier "Ms. Boogie" Rienecker

Happy Perez

Happy Perez

Producer Happy Perez has a reason to be - as his pseudonym would suggest - blissful. In 2006, the multi-platinum composer earned a Grammy Award for his work on the song "End of the Night" on Ludacris' winning LP Release Therapy . More recently, his infectious R&B instrumentation on Miguel's "Sure Thing" garnered him major success on the Billboard charts, solidifying him as a top-notch producer.

Happy Perez took a moment to make Playback smile, discussing his introduction into the music industry, the song that defines him and the greatest lesson that he’s learned in his career thus far.

Most recently you scored a hit with Miguel on "Sure Thing." How did that collaboration come about?

I met Miguel through Baby Bash, and he came through to Houston. We began to work on demos, and "Sure Thing" was a part of the many songs that we worked on together.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I bought a $20 Casio keyboard from Wal-Mart. With that, I began to make beats that sounded like they didn't come from that keyboard. I eventually began working for No Limit Records with Master P. I did his record, "How Ya Do Dat." After that, it was like a snowball effect, and I started to get a lot of calls from people who wanted to work with me.

Where are you from originally?

I am from a place called Victoria, Texas, but I've spent much of my life in Houston.

Why the name, "Happy Perez?"

There isn't really a meaning behind "Happy Perez," it's just a name that I got, when I was about 13 or 14 years old.

According to the bio on your Twitter account (@happyperez1), you're not only a multi-platinum producer, but you're also a Grammy Award-winner. Describe how it feels to have these two major accomplishments under your belt.

Man, it feels incredible. I actually got that Grammy for Best Rap Album for producing a record called "End of the Night" on Ludacris' Release Therapy album. It wasn't a song that was a single or anything, but just to be a part of that and get rewarded for it was incredible.

How was the chemistry between you and Ludacris on "End of the Night?"

Well, actually, we never worked in the same studio. We made the track and wrote the hook, and we sent it to him. He did his thing on it and then it went on the album. It was one of those things where we didn’t know it would make the album until it was released.

If you could choose one song to define you, which song would it be?

It would definitely have to be Miguel's "Sure Thing" because there's definitely an emotional attachment to that record. I believed in Miguel, before anybody even knew who he was, before he was even signed. We recorded "Sure Thing" in April of 2007, and we knew it was hit.

You produced "Songs For Women" and "We All Try" for rising R&B sensation Frank Ocean's Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape. How was that experience?

It was cool. We actually met in early 2010. I knew of him, but I only knew of him as a writer. He came in to check out some beats that I had done and he loved them. I also heard some of the stuff that he was working on at the time, and I was impressed. He held onto some beats, and when it was time for him to do his album, he asked if he could used them.

Thus far, what's the greatest lesson of your career?

I think the greatest lesson I've learned is to know that I'm meant for this. I've been doing this professionally since I was a teenager, and I always tell people who have a passion to follow what you really want to do.

Who do you aspire to work with, next?

I'll work with anybody. I'm hungrier now than when I first started out.

What are you working on, currently?

I have a few placements pending. I worked with Mary J. Blige a couple of months ago for her upcoming project. I am going back in with Miguel for his next album. I'm also doing a lot of work with artists from Houston, like Paul Wall and Chamillionaire.

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Save your money. Be wise about it. It comes and goes.