Veteran producer and songwriter Bryan-Michael Cox has an undeniable ear for new talent.
While his résumé boasts collaborations with artists such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Trey Songz, he’s also credited for helping launch the careers of numerous musicians.
That’s why the nine-time Grammy Award-winner has launched a global search for the world’s next producer. By utilizing Blazetrak.com, a website that provides up-and-coming musicians access to industry professionals, B. Cox will pick a winner and fly them out to Atlanta to work in the studio with him for two days.
After launching in 2009, Blazetrak has become wildly popylar. Users simply pay a fee to submit audio or video files to be critiqued by a professional.
B. Cox’s competition kicked off March 8th and will conclude April 7th . Shortly thereafter, all participants will receive a response from the producer by May 10th. Finally, during the week of May 20th, he will announce the winner of the competition.
TheGrio caught up with B. Cox to discuss Blazetrak, his passion for R&B production, and his future projects.
theGrio: How effective do you think Blazetrak is in finding untapped talent?
Blazetrak weeds out all of the unnecessary stuff. Back in the day, you could get a box full of demos and your assistant would have to go through and pick out [the best]. Even now, with everyone being so accessible on social media, I get flooded on Twitter with a million sound file links. Having to go through thousands of links to get to a decent one–not even a good one–can be tiring. With Blazetrak, the person who’s sending the music knows that they’re going to get a direct response, no matter what. In turn, you’re going to want to send your best stuff. I’d rather get 12 quality submissions and pick four or five, rather than get a thousand submissions and only find two.
Do you see this type of technology eclipsing traditional methods of getting discovered in the future?
I don’t see it eclipsing it, but I think it will definitely be more streamlined. People are always going to try to get their music heard. The fact that you can get a personal response from me [and other musicians] is what gives Blazetrak the edge.
You’ve discussed the difference between producing and beat making in the past. Can you elaborate on that?
A lot of times people mistake beat makers from producing. I don’t like using the term beat makers…I like using the term composer, because composing is obviously the most important part of the process. I think a lot of beat makers in their mind believe they are producing, but they are really passing their composition off to a songwriter. Then a songwriter will put their vocals on it and then cut the record. Producing is not only composing the beat or finding the beat, but it’s also connecting the beat with the song. A lot of times, beat makers will just pass off the track to songwriters and they won’t hear the finished track until it’s done. That’s not producing. A producer is someone who is there throughout the whole process. He sees it all the way through from the business side, to recording the vocals–the whole nine.
You’re definitely a veteran in the music industry. How would you say R&B production has evolved since you first came on the scene?
In general, as life happens, things evolve. Music is one big cycle. The transition that’s happening with R&B music right now is a good one because we have young people representing R&B culture and doing it their way. I’m fine with what’s happening and I’m evolving myself. I think it’s great that artists like Frank Ocean, Miguel and Trey Songz have stretched out in their R&B lanes. Everybody is trying to make up their own version of R&B and I think it’s the perfect time for experimentation.
What other projects do you have lined up for the remainder of the year?
Jermaine Dupri and I are finishing up Mariah’s record, and I just started with Usher.
I’m also launching a company called SCMG with J. Que Smith from The Clutch, who is a Grammy award-winning songwriter. We have a girl group coming out, so we’re in the process of finishing that project and getting that out. I’m in the new artist business, you know, trying to break out new artists. So, outside of the usual suspects that I normally work with, that’s what I’m on. At this point, I’m just building–putting the pieces together to build that mansion.
Gregory Dale is a Washington, D.C- based writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @Da7thletter.