The Big Break Podcast
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for the songs you hear on the radio? Thousands upon thousands of artists pour their hearts and souls into work that most people will never even know exists. What separates the hits? Every week I sit down with songwriters responsible for some of the biggest songs that sweep the world to find out: how did they get there? What was their journey? My name is Gary Young, and this is The Big Break.
Emile Ghantous is a grammy nominated record producer and songwriter. He has credits with artists like Pitbull, JoJo, Charlie Wilson and dozens of other household names.
But, before he was producing songs for big-time artists, he was just a kid buying the latest R&B CDs in his hometown- Peoria, Illinois. Listening to groups like Boyz II Men and New Edition had him hooked on music and he began experimenting with creating beats and making songs with his friends in high school.
Flash forward a few years and Emile is hustling artists back and forth to his friend’s recording studio, spending sleepless nights producing music, and meeting with some of the most influential managers in the industry. All of that dedication eventually paid off when he landed a huge deal to produce an album for an aspiring artist.
What happens when one of your songs is picked up by a superstar before you’re even 20?
That’s exactly what happened to Tami LaTrell. She is a multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated songwriter with an unbelievable resume of work under her belt. She started out singing and performing with girl-groups in her teens, and when she was just 18 years old, one of her songs was picked up by Whitney Houston. That propelled her through college to an entrepreneurial life as a digital marketer, music industry educator, and songwriter.
She's since worked with R&B superstars Monica and Keyshia Cole, as well as artists like Love and Theft and Chamillionaire. She has a youtube channel with hundreds of thousands of followers, and is currently an executive at “The Labz” - a platform that helps artists manage their rights and protections of their work.
Jahlil was born into music. From the age of 3 he was learning about music production from his father, and grew up developing his musical skills. After college, Jahlil took advantage of the blossoming world of social media, and online mixtapes to build a network in his local hip hop community. This led him to work with the likes of Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and many other rap icons- ultimately netting him a Grammy in 2019.
Jane't started her career at a young age. A blend of business and creativity, she dedicated herself to the music industry the moment she realized that she could make money while making music. She took internships with industry heavy-hitters, taught herself how to be an engineer, and spent her nights making music all while maintaining her day job. After a sudden epiphany, Janet quit her day job to follow her dreams in music and never looked back.
Today, she and her husband run an international record label and are continuing to write hits, and change the game.
Jamie Sanderson, better known as Sermstyle, grew up in Newcastle in Northern England. He started off as a hip hop producer, but as he networked and grew his following on Twitter he developed a fascination for Pop music and the global influence it has. He would spend hours and hours studying pop songs until eventually his dedication paid off, and he got connected with the Artist Partner Group.
This ultimately lead to the creation of his first smash hit “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Kesha. He’s gone on to put his name on many more world-sweeping songs.
John Chisum is a lifetime singer, songwriter, and Christian music producer based in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a young man, John moved to Nashville to pursue his dreams of songwriting. There he connected with legendary gospel songwriter Bill Gaither. That meeting presented him with the opportunity to grow as a writer and to learn the ins-and-outs of music publishing. John is a strong believer in mentor’s and learning from the people you surround yourself with. Because of his mentors, he's flourished as a producer.
Now, John helps develop and coach songwriters through his company Nashville Christian Songwriters. His journey resulted in deep friendships all over the world, and a celebrity status he never would have guessed he'd achieve.
Eric Dan is the man behind ID Labs, a Pittsburgh recording studio that oversaw the development of superstars Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller.
Eric dove head-first into music at a young age, trying his hand at various instruments and stage performances, while running multiple jobs as he slowly built his own recording studio. He began specializing in hip-hop, and when a young Wiz Khalifa walked in the door of his studio, he saw the opportunity for a partnership. That relationship propelled his career to several gold and platinum hits, and ID labs to being the premiere recording studio in Pittsburg.
Frankie Storm is the songwriter behind hits like “Don’t Stop The Music” by Rihanna, and “Lightweight” by Demi Lovato. Listen to Frankie tell her story – from being discovered singing in her church choir and breaking into the New York and Philadelphia music scene, to finding the balance between success and stardom while writing hit-after-hit.
Bruce Waynne - Part 2
Where we left off, Bruce and his partner David Swift had rented a large studio house and were diving into the R&B scene. From there, Bruce learned about loose ends, protecting yourself as an entrepreneur, and as a person. He learned about the world of Youtube and brand recognition, and how to expand the breadth of his work to service more than just listeners. He started making waves in film and television space and now owns one of the largest hip-hop music libraries in the world.
Bruce Waynne of Midi Mafia joins us to discuss his journey through the music industry. Bruce grew up in the Bronx, slinging mixtapes and CD’s in his local neighborhood, and his experiences creating music helped propel him to heights he couldn’t imagine as a young man.