Recording Connection grad Dre McNeil Gets Skills and Gets Going in Music
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We recently caught up with Recording Connection graduate Dre McNeil. The hardworking music producer is a graduate of both the regular and Advanced Audio Engineering & Music Production Program. Like many who find their way into music production, Dre started out on the performance end of things, as a rapper who was focused on building his career as an artist. Dre’s natural talent led him into the studio, and to a fateful meeting with producer CL McCoy. Read on to learn more.
Okay, so rapping led you into the studio where you connected with music producer CL McCoy (not affiliated with our program) who gave you some choice advice.
“I ended up going to a studio one day, and the guy there introduced himself as CL McCoy, and he kind of sat down with me and said, ‘Man, you have potential, but if you really want to have longevity money in the music business, learn the background as audio engineering.’ And that’s how I kind of got started, because he said making beats and editing music would never die down, but you only can rap for so long in your career. But you always can make beats and be behind the scenes and continue to make money.”
So you found Recording Connection and enrolled. What made you choose us?
“I wanted to advance my music career. So I figured for me to advance it, I need to actually study it and get a proper teacher. I looked at Recording Connection and it was hands-on and a better experience than going to a four year college…I went to college in New York. In a big classroom, a lot of times the teacher wouldn’t get to your question, you know? Or they’ll explain it, but they won’t explain it thoroughly enough for you to understand, whereas in the studio it’s one-on-one, so all my questions are answered and we don’t move on until I fully understand the lesson that I’m being taught.”
You completed the Audio Engineering Program with mentor Dano Harry at Prismic Studios. What was that like?
“That was a great experience. A lot of energy with Dano…He taught me the basics of making beats from the beginning, counting tempo, and just making sure everything lines up. He took me step by step as far as editing music and stems, then showed me various ways to make beats from learning the keyboard to drum machines and piano. He’s also the type to want to play with different sounds and synthesizers. [Now] I can create a sound that nobody ever heard of. Dano said I should just go from there, because, he said, if I separate myself from everybody else, then I’ll definitely get noticed.”
And you are getting noticed with your project Globally Inclined. What’s the vision behind your project?
“My logo’s a world, and it symbolizes that everybody’s trying to climb up to a certain point in their life, [whether] it’s music or fashion, whatever they desire, so we try to motivate everybody to just keep moving forward in their path…I do music on my side, but we also have guys that do logos, t-shirts, everything. It came to me in a dream one day. Then as soon as I woke up, I got the LLC, then started designing the logo, and then I moved on from there.”
So tell us about Globally Inclined’s 3 albums which you’re releasing in stages throughout 2018:
“I feel like everything in your life is delivered to you by energy in the atmosphere. So that’s why I called it “Atmosphere,” and I try to make my beats so you can feel the emotion behind them (Atmosphere was released in May).
So my next album is called Faith, I’m going to release in a month or two. Then my last one I’ll release this year is called Destination…
So your mentor Dano actually gave you leave when a pretty rare opportunity with CL McCoy presented itself.
“I was probably in my third month with Dano, that’s when I started touring with CL McCoy. He just invited me one day, he’s like, ‘Would you like to go on tour with us, see what’s going on behind the scenes and travel with us and make beats?’ I was like, ‘Yes, I would love the opportunity.’ We got to go on tour with the various artists, like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, LL Cool J, Riff Raff, Doug E. Fresh, so we got to travel quite a bit.”
So you got back from tour, finished the entry level with Dano at Prismic, then started the Advanced Audio & Music Production Program with Josh Franklin at Fifty50, where you actually started working on Atmosphere, getting Josh’s help and guidance along the way:
“And he definitely takes the time because he definitely helped me with this album I put out, Atmosphere. We worked on it for about a year before we put it out, and he’s my main guy I go to…We work a lot of hands-on…He’s very open to hearing the sounds I try to create, so I describe it the best way for him.”
So as a writer of music, how do you operate? Do you hear something in your imagination first, and then try to create it? Or, are you playing with various sounds until something inspires you?
“I like to let a lot of things come to me. So I don’t rush it…I can sit there for hours until there’s a sound that clicks, and then I start building from that one sound. Or like, there will be days where I hear certain things in my head, then I try to make those. I’ll find the sound that first [matches] what I hear in my head, and then I build from there.”
So let’s compare who you were before Recording Connection as opposed to who you are today. Do you think you’ve become more confident throughout this journey?
“Oh yeah, definitely. Even as far as when I started rapping compared to now, because now I know how to edit my sound the way I want it instead of relying on somebody else. I can make my own beats to fit my sound. I’m definitely more confident in my music, and as far as giving information to others, like other artists that are trying to get out there, I’m very confident in relaying my information just from the knowledge I know from Recording Connection. I started taking the music business more seriously, and actually learning the steps behind it… My mentors always told me that if I’m going to do this, make sure I take it serious and make sure I have the knowledge behind it, because if I have the knowledge behind it, I could go far.”
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