There is no room for laziness while trying to climb the ladder in the entertainment world. Whether you’re a burgeoning screenwriter or a hip hop artist believed to be on the fast track to stardom, you’ll only get as far as you’re willing to work. Oh sure, there’s the minuscule percentage of entertainment hopefuls that luck into their success, but for the vast majority it’s all about hard work, determination, and knowledge.
It’s an exciting time when you are able to see all the hard work finally come to fruition. When the small victories begin to accumulate and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As an independent producer, the music industry can be a tough one to break through to find that mainstream success.
For Damon Humphrey, CEO of After Midnight Productions (AMP), it’s all about staying power. It’s about staying true to his vision regardless of the obstacles. It’s about treating his passion for music like a business and not a hobby, because that’s the critical mistake many people trying to break into the music industry make. These days anyone with a music program believes they’re a producer, and any kid with a microphone thinks they’re an emcee. They think it’s as easy as throwing a clip up on YouTube and waiting for the record deals to file in. That’s just not reality.
Damon has been working hard at his craft producing Hip Hop, R&B, and Soul for 10 plus years, wearing the hat of CEO, promoter, producer, manager, record label, and sometimes psychologist. Years of working connections, following up on leads, and pounding the pavement are finally starting to pay off for Damon and his San Francisco, California based production company. Things are really picking up for AMP, as company founder Sean Fields has had to step back into the producers chair after a small hiatus.
They’ve been heard on several internet radio stations, but they had their first radio play locally at San Fran’s KPOO 89.5 in 2006, which led to some other California based stations playing their music. Places like Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Salinas, and Stanford have led to getting spins in Ohio, New York, New Orleans, and Canada. It’s been a slow build, but the last few months has seen an uptick in radio interest for AMP music, with now close to 20 stations across the country playing their songs.
I first met Damon about 8 years ago through a mutual friend, and I had the chance to write some lyrics for a couple of his tracks that were awaiting artists. But as it sometimes happens in the music industry noting ever came of those songs.
We’ve stayed in touch through the years, and I recently had a chance to chat with Damon so he could share his exciting journey thus far.
We Got This Covered - You’ve literally had a chance to collaborate with artists from all over the US and even some in the UK, how did you manage to link up with so many different people?
Damon Humphrey - I heavily utilize Twitter (@AMP_STUDIOS) and Facebook, I would put out tweets or Facebook statuses saying that I was working on a new album and I wanted to collab with any and everybody, as long as they had material for me to hear first. Or I would go and take a few hours just to listen to different artists music online. Basically the artists hit me up and said; ‘hey I like your production, can we work on something together’. Also a lot of word of mouth, especially local, a few of the local artists knew each other, and the rest was history.
WGTC - So on your end AMP provides the track, and they would provide the vocal; Do you find that harder to make a song that way rather than being in the studio with the artist at the same time?
DH - Most of the engineers on their end mixed down the vocals well, so I rarely have to touch them. If the engineer has a grasp of what she/he was doing, there wasn’t an issue.
WGTC - You collaborate with various producers off and on, but of late you’ve done a lot of work with up and coming Hip Hop and R&B producer DJ AbbiCo, how do you guys collab?
DH - Yea, we freelance together, he has artists he also produces for. On occasion he will come to my studio and we will work on production together, but most times it’s done remote. He has pushed some artist in my direction, but since they are so busy on other projects, we haven’t had the opportunity to work yet on anything exclusive to AMP. Most of the work DJ AbbiCo and I have done has been with artists I have reached out to, or they have heard our production through YouTube, SoundCloud, or other sites.
WGTC - To what do you attribute your new found success with radio stations?
DH – I am using a company that services our songs to key radio stations, if the station likes the songs submitted, they notify me that they are going to play the songs. Recently radio stations in Illinois, New Orleans, North Dakota, New Jersey, L.A., to name a few, and also internet stations like starzzradio.com, bigmusicradio.ent, and Spotify have all picked up our songs.
WGTC - What do you have in the works right now?
DH - Right now we’re working on some music for a few other artists, and we also have some tracks in the pipeline. We’re in talks with 2 licensing companies right now too.
AMP has four Executive Produced full length CDs under their belt, along with a number of tracks produced for other working independent artists. Their new found success has led to them starting a publishing company. You can find AMP on iTunes and Amazon.com, just to name a couple, and numerous radio stations, both traditional and internet.