Producer Spotlight - Dean Miller
©2012 By Bronson Herrmuth
Dean Miller has lived his whole life connected and surrounded by music. As a recording artist he's been signed to Capitol Records, MCA, Universal South and Koch. As an award winning songwriter his songs have been recorded by George Jones, Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, Joe Nichols, Jamey Johnson and Mark Chestnut, to name a few. His career as a producer started while producing songwriter demos, then his own records as an artist, and transcended into producing other artist albums, artist videos and documentaries for TV, as an independent producer. The following is taken from a 30 minute interview from his office on Music Row. Meet Dean Miller:
You can listen to this entire 30 minute interview:
Part 1 of 2 (4.2 MB) mp3 Part 2 of 2 (4.3 MB) mp3
Bronson: Were you born in Nashville?
Dean Miller: No, I didn't live here until I was 25 years old. I was born in Los Angeles, raised there and in New Mexico, a little bit in Texas, and then I went to college back in L.A., and I moved here when I was 25.
Bronson: So what did you go to college for?
Dean Miller: I studied acting and film making and during my college years, you know I grew up with a somewhat well known songwriter in the family (laughing) and so when I was making up songs I was exceptionally intimidated. I kept my songs kind of hidden to myself and I really didn't think I was good enough to do it for a living and I was probably right at the time, but when I got to college I kind of got out from under the shadow of my father and I met some musicians and we formed a band and music started taking over. By the time I got out of college I had a fever for music and I just really went for it.
Bronson: What was the first time that you actually went into the studio to record?
Dean Miller: I had gone in L.A. several times and I learned a lot about it out there through trial and error. I've never been formally educated, and then when I came to Nashville I got a publishing deal with Sony and I started having to do my own demos. I had an engineer, Pat McMakin, started taking me and through working with him I learned what happens in the studio and how to work it, and in my life time I've gone from real tape, to Dat, to CD, to now Pro Tools and digital, and so I've been through all the formats and it's all just kind of instinctual what I do.
Bronson: Besides producing songwriter demos and producing records, you also produce videos?
Dean Miller: Yes, I went to film school and I've directed a lot. I actually co-produced a television series called Legends and Lyrics for PBS and I've produced videos and directed videos and short films so I have a lot of experience in television and video as well. Their are samples on my site of my directing.
Bronson: When you produce an artist, how do you start?
Dean Miller: Basically what I do is I look at myself as an interpreter, so I say to the artist, "How do you see yourself? What do you want to be? What kind of an artistic thing are you trying to achieve? What songs fit you, don't fit you?" Then it's my job to frame you in that way. Like I said, Tony Brown's one of my heroes and if you look at the records he's made, Reba McEntire and George Strait and Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett, none of these artists sound like each other. That's the mark of a great producer. He's framing the artist, like he's creating a sound for an artist. My first step with anybody is to have long conversations with them and then I'll say, "Well then I know the right song and I know the right guitar player and I know the right studio and I know the right thing for you." I have a network of musicians, many drummers and many guitar players and many bass players that I love but it depends on the artist. So I know who to call and I'm going to frame it in that way.
You can visit Dean Miller for more info at his web site, www.deanmillerproductions.com
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