How did you get into Producing?
I was in an orchestra in middle school where every student had to learn an instrument and be a part of the school orchestra. All of my friends played percussion, so I naturally gravitated towards the percussion section. I already knew how to play congas, but over the years I became one of the drummers who played the drum set. This is the point of my life where I developed a love and passion for playing and creating music. Fast forward to high school where I took a music production 101 course and we started off using Reason, a DAW where you can produce music using your midi keyboard. This was in sophomore year and I became so curious about this specialized art that I asked if I could major in this when I started applying for colleges. The answer was yes, and all I did was apply to colleges who had Music Production or Audio Engineering as a major. Ever since sophomore year of high school, I’ve been creating beats and songs from my laptop and sharing it online.
What did you do to advance your skills/knowledge?
Aside from going to a four-year university where I was taught in an academic setting the ins and outs of audio engineering, how to navigate pro tools and logic, and learning to record live instruments, YouTube has been a huge resource in my search for trying to find new ways to approach music production. I look up videos of all of my favorite producers and study what they do to each song they do, I look up new and creative ways to use VST instruments I already own, and lastly I search for new music and really listen to how the song was crafted and mixed to create a certain feeling.
What did your first set up look like?
My first set-up was literally a beats audio laptop from HP that I won from a writing contest in high school and a portable midi keyboard from Akai that I could take with me anywhere I went. At the time I was producing on Reason because that was the DAW I was most familiar with and knew pretty well.
What does your current set up look like?
My current set-up is now a gamer laptop from ASUS where I now produce exclusively on Pro Tools using various VST instruments I’ve acquired over the years. I also now have a 25-key midi keyboard from IMPACT and a MOTU audio express audio interface alongside a UAD satellite to run all of my UAD plugins. I recently acquired some Avantone Mix cube speakers so I can reference my mixes of beats I’ve produced to make sure the balance of all of my sounds translates well onto speakers.
How did you get your Producer/Artist name?
This is going to sound corny, but I am a HUGE J. Cole fan and when I was thinking of a producer name, for some reason I thought about how J Cole’s artist name is literally his name but only using the first letter of his name and then his last name. I found that to be so simple yet effective. Also, I know he’s a huge fan of Jay-Z who also has the short first name. Growing up my nickname was always Ja, so I wanted to incorporate that into my producer name and emulate J Cole and Jay-Z with the letter “J” at the beginning of their artist names. So I came up with Ja-B, which is my nickname, “Ja” (short for Yael), followed by the first letter of my last name.
If you could be produced for any artist (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would definitely want to produce for J.Cole. His music was so relatable to me growing up because he didn’t rap about having all of the cars, money, and jewelry. He rapped about crushing on girls in his neighborhood, being in debt off of student loans, paying rent in NYC, and so much more realistic things that I could relate to and actually feel the emotions he felt during those times. His rap flow along with his rap voice is so cool and really evokes a unique feeling of nostalgia that I love.
What is your goal when you create?
I look up to this producer named !llmind, who I’ve actually had the pleasure of interning for back in 2015, and he says when he creates the music he wants to feel goosebumps every time. Like its his first time making a beat ever. I want to capture that feeling when I produce records and have the finished product give goosebumps to whoever is listening to it. Whether it be the artist who’s on the record, my producer peers, or even someone who may not be into the specific genre of music. I want to capture emotion. I want you to create at least three different facial expressions by the end of the record.
What's your go-to song right now?
Currently, at this point in my life, my go-to record right now is this song called “Adult Swim” off of Jon Bellion’s new sophomore album. The song was produced by this producer named Tuamie whose drums swing like no other. The beat changes three times throughout the course of the song and it's beautiful.
What is your dream as a Producer?
My dream as a producer is to create records that allow me to travel to different parts of the world I’ve never been to and to create music that people 20 years from now will listen back to and say “ Who made this?” ( in a good way lol).
What is some advice you would give to someone with a dream to become a Producer?
A piece of advice I would give to someone with a dream of becoming a producer is to try and find an internship where you can surround yourself with like-minded people and network. The creative side of producing is really important as well, but having connections and contacts with people who are also on the come-up with you or even already established is equally as important in helping you rise to the top!