Aug 21, 2020
I’m joined by the dynamic Jake Brown on the show today. A man who has written amazing books about the music business, and everything that goes into music writing and production. His books span across all genres, ranging from Country, RnB, Hip Hop, and Pop.
Celebrating his 50th and latest book on the show with me, Jake Brown’s ‘ Behind the Boards’ features behind the scenes stories of country music’s most notable artists, running from Tim McGraw, Clint Black, Vince Gill, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and so many more.
Jake moved into Nashville in 2003 with only two books published at the time. Nashville has been more than a home for him, as it has sparked the inspiration behind his multiple book series. It was here that Jake started focusing on writing his books based on the interviews he booked with songwriters like Jack Douglas, Eddie Kramer, and Bob Ezrin.
In the span of 8 years, Jake was able to write 18 books.
Jake was driven into depression mode when his dog Hanover died. Focused on how to best cheer himself up, Jake started writing his Behind the boards Nashville series.
He began contacting Country song producers and writing the Nashville Songwriter. It was during his book series that Jake began interviewing and learning from songwriters and producers like Dave Cobb, Paul Waley, Shane McNally, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowl, Darius Rucker, Frank Rogers, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, and Nobert Putman.
Different types of Country Song producers.
While interviewing songwriters, producers, and singers. Jake noticed there are basically two types of country song producers.
Track producers - These are producers who play all the instruments and work on the entire track in the home studios.
Old School producers - these are producers who take a more traditional vibe of getting the entire band together for a weekend solely focused on producing music at the studio.
Old school producers can go as far as knocking out a couple of number one hits in an afternoon. Jake tells the story of how Darius Rucker’s friend and Brad Paisley's producer, Frank Rogers worked on a single album in one afternoon which went on to knock out a couple of number one hits in Nashville.
There’s a blend of both unique, short, and long-term
relationships between singers, songwriters and producers in
Nashville, and Country music as a whole. Jake, for one, has
interviewed singer-producer duos that have a 10 - 30 year bond of
In his latest book, Jake also dives into interesting stories of individuals that started off trying to become singers, only to end up working and enjoying songwriting and production. And also how singers, songwriters, and producers build connections that end up being lifetime relationships from the most unlikely of scenarios, with one, in particular, being between Taylor Swift and Nathan Chapman.
With over 300 number one hits included in his book and interviews, Jake dives into the behind the scenes backstories of Country’s biggest stars in the last 20 - 30 years. How vulnerable they were when first starting out and how they’ve been able to grow, adapt, and overcome over time to become the superstars they are today.
Music production is a diverse process and works differently for every producer. It could be a long process of listening to thousands of different songs and picking just 30. Or, it could be an overnight sensation of writing, drafting, and producing number one hits in just one night.
The future of music.
With technology being the driving force over so many industries today, Music has also been majorly affected, both positively and negatively by both technology and the internet.
Streaming, Jake says, is the future of music. With 70% of record sales for weekly billboards coming from online streams and downloads, there’s no denying the revenue powerhouse that the internet has proven to be.
Ringtones used to be a proven phenomenon in providing revenue for singers, but those days are all but gone.
There’s also a trend of 360 types of deals where labels now get a piece of the live show revenues, a phenomenon that wasn’t present in the past.
If you want to know more about the diverse and changing art in music production, you can hop over to YouTube, where Jake has over 100 hundred videos where through the countless interviews, he gives a broader outlook of how hits are produced and distributed.
03:58 How Jake started writing his book series
05:16 Working with different producers
08:09 What Jake’s books entail
10:40 The diverse art of music production
15:15 How the music industry is taking shape
20:26 The business aspect of music production
24:30 Easy E and the Hip Hop side of music
25:51 What Jake hopes you’ll get from the book
27:27 Jake’s backstory and how it’s connected to his production career.
31:41How music in the 70s and 80s was produced
34:48 Support community for different musicians
35:20 the underappreciated value of sound engineers
40:40 The growth of home studios
43:22 What’s next for Jake Brown?
46: 58 Listen to “Connected” by James Kevin O’Connor
It takes you on an entertainment roller coaster and still acts as a reference guide. The main role of my book series is to give you a 3D outlook into how country music is produced behind the scenes.
The most important role of a songwriter in Nashville is to reflect the life of the audience through the music and lyrics. That’s why so many songwriters in Nashville talk about getting their ideas while driving to work or during their everyday conversations.
Through the interviews done, you get an amazing combination of the different ways that records come alive. And ultimately, the more music you listen to, the more educated you become.
Connect with Jake Brown.
Selected links and mentions.