Brian London: "You Are The Future Of The Music Industry"

Author: 
Honor Milton, GRAMMY Camp Los Angeles 2016

It is Guest Professional Day at GRAMMY Camp LA and the fourth day of camp held on USC’s campus. Musical director and keyboardist Brian London has just finished a question and answer panel in Carson Soundstage when he sits down to talk with Kaicey and I about his career, inspirations, and the importance of music education. Having made a career out of constant collaboration with artists including Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, Katy Perry and Rihanna for close to a decade, London is well versed in the ways of the music industry. It is because of this experience that he is focusing on the next generation, beginning with the 74 campers currently attending GRAMMY Camp LA.

You came to GRAMMY Camp in 2007, what made you want to come back and why do you think it’s important to talk to kids like us?

Because I think you guys are the future of the music industry and if you’re here at this age, you already want to be knowledgeable about what goes on in the entertainment industry, then you guys are set. You’re already set.

If you had the opportunity to come to GRAMMY Camp which track do you think you would want to go to and improve your skills in?

Probably music business, the music business side is kind of where it’s at and publishing.

How has working with the artists that you have influenced your music? Has it changed anything?

It’s made me a better producer and also helped me find myself. A lot of times when you see a lot of different pictures of an artist, you’ll see like, “Oh, okay that’s not it.” And then you end up finding your own self within those pictures. I finally have a definitive self outside of the other artists.

Has travelling helped with that as well?

Yeah, definitely, seeing new things and cultures, experiencing things for the first time, it really opens up your mind.

Have you learned any life lessons while you’re on tour that changed you?

Everybody’s really got a good heart, you just have to talk to them, have a conversation with them. I was in Jerusalem and there were these two people arguing on the side of the street and one was Christian and the other was Muslim and we thought they were arguing but we talked to them and one of the guys was like, "No, we’re just having a conversation, everything here is peace.” It was the most beautiful thing to see.

You collaborate with a lot of artists, one of which is Tommy Joe Ratliff, has he changed how you approach music?

Oh totally, his guitar playing is great. That also helped me out as a producer, recording a lot of guitar. We did an entire album together actually. Just recording guitar, cutting guitars, making it sound to where it has that band feel. Tommy’s great, he’s my buddy.

If you had the opportunity to collab with any artist, dead or alive, who do you think that would be?

Why’d you do that to me? That is so hard! I’d have to say Aretha Franklin.

What is one song you wish you’d written?

 “She’s So Heavy” by the Beatles, I wish I’d written that record.

You have a wide range of music that’s influenced you from James Brown to Led Zeppelin.

Yeah, if something’s a good song, it’s a good song, it doesn’t matter what genre it is.

Are there any present day artists that are changing how you approach your music?

I have a writing partner, he’s a producer as well and an artist, and I think we give each other really good color. I’m blue, he’s red, but together you get different purples and shades. Yeah him, Austin Brown.

Do you like collaborating more than working by yourself?

Yeah, I do, I can do either or. I can work by myself and then I can work with other people, like my writing partner. We get some pretty good stuff done and a lot of that’s due to trusting yourself.

 

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