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Credit Where Credit Is Due


Mar 1, 2023

"I would like to share how I create music, but more importantly, where my music comes from."

I have been a professional musician for nearly 30 years. During that time I have performed with some of the world's most famous artists. Getting to experience performing music with top professionals is fascinating to say the least. When musicians are asked how they come up with such a beautiful melody, the answer usually surprises me. I would like to share how I create music, but more importantly, where my music comes from.


I was called by a record company executive about one of his new artists. The artist was to open for Justin Timberlake on his Australian tour. There was only one small problem: three days before the concert, the artist said he didn't want to perform with a backing track; he wanted a live band. The record company executive asked me if I could put together a great band and rearrange the music in three days. I told him I could do it in two days but three days would be fine! Clearly, I was joking. Pulling off such an amazing feat in such a short time frame needed an amazing amount of faith. I prayed that everything would surpass all expectations.

Once the music was sent to me, I got to work. I listened to the backing tracks intently to see how I would have live musicians play parts that were synthesized. This is an art form in itself. I would listen and then close my eyes to see what emotion was being conveyed. If the emotion was excitement, I might add a driving bassline. If it were a romantic melody, I would add strings to convey that feeling. When I'm programming music, I open myself up completely. I ask the Lord to flow through me and fill me with clarity, insight, and creativity. I don't feel the ideas are coming from me but through me. This is an important distinction. 

The record company had to approve the music that I had rearranged. It needed to be done to a high degree, as there was little time to make changes. To my delight, the record company loved the music, and we opened for Justin Timberlake. The tour sold out, and we performed to thousands of people every night.


Many years ago I was asked to give drum clinics for a popular electronic drum brand. They sent me their equipment and told me to use it for three months. After that period, I would go on tour to promote the equipment. It's important for me, as an artist, to always put an original spin on things. I didn't want to just go out and tell people a lot of boring information about a product.

After about a month of playing the electric drum kits, I felt burnt out. How could I make my performance original when all electronic drum kits sounded the same? That night I prayed, asking the Lord to help me create something brand new – something that would make people excited about hearing the music I was creating.

The next morning I was working out what samples I would use to highlight the best features of the electric drum kits. I might sample a funky guitar riff that goes for 60 seconds or an R&B piano lick that loops after 20 seconds. This is where things get interesting. As the unit was in 'sample' mode, something extraordinary happened. I accidentally left the delay effect on. All of a sudden the beat I was playing started delaying in real time! If you have ever heard a song where they put a delay effect on the singer's voice, it sounds spectacular. This is a little trick they do in the studio AFTER the song has been recorded. What I was doing was creating this effect in the moment. It changed everything! Once again, I didn't want to take credit for the outcome. I believe my faith is what made the epiphany happen.

A week before the drum clinic tour was to start, I had a meeting with the company. When I told them how I could put live effects on the electric drum kit in real time, they didn't believe me. They said the machine wasn't intended to be used that way. They also marveled at how someone could create music from what they considered a 'fortunate accident.’ I didn't want to take credit for the extraordinary outcome. I wanted to give credit where credit was due. Not to me but to the Lord.

This clinic tour ran for a month and covered all the major Australian cities. It was considered a massive success by the company. Three days after the first show, the store sold over $70,000 worth of their product. Not only was the brand promoted positively, but the audience got to experience music that was truly created out of faith.                         


Image artwork by Magesh.

Magesh has written for “Lessonface,” “Aeyons,” “The Modern Rogue,” “Euronews,” “The Roland corporation,” “Penlight,” and “Elite Music.” He writes several monthly publications on music education. In the past, Magesh has written for parenting, humor, mental health, and travel websites as well.


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