Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To Have a impact on someone!

Have you ever felt like you made an impact on someone with what you do for your profession? Have you ever left a great first impression on someone by just simply taking the time to say hello, or by saying thank you after you've been praised for something? 
It's astonishing to see when people don't do it. Here you are, this amazing person with all this talent and people come to check you out and your rude, and ignorant to the fact that you can't even make a fan night by saying hey, thank you for coming out, I appreciate it!
Sad to say, there's a lot of those entertainers out there . I've seen a few in my time in working in this industry and it makes me always wanna do the right thing.
We're all human, so take the time to take that picture after the show, or greet a many fans that walk up to you!
Pause......…I'm not going on a rant or anything but these are things I think about when I greet people. I always wanna be that respectable person, where you can always come to me and ask me questions about things. Every now and then you get that one person that ask more then they should, but at the end of the day, you have to remember that people love what you do and they are passionate about it.
It comes with the territory you know!
My journey has been great so far. I've met lots of folks throughout my career and developed friendships and most importantly grew as a musician and producer that I am today. If those particular people didn't make a great impact on me, would I have become the person I am today. Its fair to say I don't think so. 
It's a real blessing to have someone around you, while they are already amazing at what they do, in turn, they have an impact on you, and you go on to be the person you knew you could become. That's the greatest feeling in the world.

There's a few people I wanna share with you guys today that have had a major impact on my career. I've spent my last ten years on the road with these guys, Often sleep at their houses, hung out with them all them time.  
They are Tone Whitfield, Bilal Oliver, Robert Glasper,Donald Robinson,Lee Patterson, Adam Blackstone, Chuck Treece, And Danophonic Dan
I know I'm putting them on blast but, those guys were a huge anchor in my musical paths, and all of them believed in my sound,personality, everything it took for me to be in this position.
Adam and I worked close together on a number of projects and still does to this day.
He's a great Bassist/Producer and he's working with Everyone in the game right now! Just name them, and he played for them. We share a brilliant sound in the studio. He has his own ear and techniques, and I offer my fair share of things and we make it work. Its magic, its almost like, whatever were  feeling, it comes out.
The part In which I find is cool that, we have limitless possibilities, whatever sound it is, we'll crank it out

Robert and I, well I'm sure most of you guys are familiar with him, he's amazing. He makes everyone around him that plays with him for an extended period of time that much better. Innovative at its best, he made the things that I didn't think were cool, a regular commodity. If I banged on a wall next to the drums to create another ambience, he did the same thing with the piano, or keyboards. He has an amazing array of ways to place chords, and changing all in one song. That has impacted me to use the same methods in my playing, in which is not like a bunch of people that are playing. We're great friends as well, and I'm glad we've shared all those crazy and fun moments on the road, and in studio.

Tone Whitfield. What more can I say about him, he introduced me to Bilal back in 1999. Yes, I said 1999, seems like such a long time ago. Around those days, music in Philly was cranked on all levels, and it was so much going on, you could easily miss a well crafted guy like him. He's also an amazing bass player like Adam, who could play on any stage, any style, and posed the skills of a dope producer/writer.
Tone and I played many jam sessions together with a few great friends. We developed a style that cannot be duplicated!  It's our own sound! Don't believe me, listen to any live show from bilal, or the new album. It's all there.
I'm forever grateful for him and his ability to help me craft my sound and style.

Donald Robinson, A great Producer and musician, well respected in this game!
He saw me a while back while I played a short stint in church, playing for a gospel choir. After every performance, he said to me, man you're getting better and better, keep practicing.(You know the kind of tone where your positive and you wanna encourage a young player) But He keep telling me, and one day he would eventually invite me to dinner, and we talked and he said, If your serious about music, then you have to do it NOW. This is your road from now on, and he gave me a list of things to do, that has forever helped me in this crazy Business.
He told me every in and out possible, still to this day, he's telling me things and believing in paths. Thank you don, I always remember that moment.

Leroy Patterson, this guy worked at my high school and he played bass at night.
He gave me amazing opportunities as a teenager and it helped me out so much, by the time I was 19, I was playing music professionally. He gave me a chance on gigs that I shouldn't have had any business on. Some of them I wasn't quite ready for, but them most of them I was. He picked out the third string kid, who came to class, played everything, soaked up everything conversation on what you should be doing.
As a result of that, I'm the only one from that band who's on a bigger stage at this point. He also, like everyone else I mentioned so far, has believed in my sound.
He put me in a great position to make myself better.

Chuck Treece and Danophonic Dan were amazing people to me, we grew as friends and they also noticed something in me and gave me great opportunities as well. Chuck the amazing musician he is, would always jam with me and show me important techniques that I missed out on, and would always show me about sounds in the drum! How to hit it, how to develop yourself in the band, and how to use certain snares and stuff. Even to this day, Chuck is rolling around with snare drums and other things giving me great idea's to toy with. ALmost forgot to mention Chuck plays a slew of instruments and is amazing on all of them! What a pioneer that dude is. Danophonic Dan, what a great friend, he introduced me to portis head a while ago, and got me started listening to different bands to craft and open my ear and playing to different standards. We've played in countless jam sessions with Scott Sturch and many other folks, he introduced me to the recording world, and how to get good sounds out of the drums and proper mic placement. He kinda took in a lost kid who didnt know jack. We now share a studio together in Philly, in which all these creative and dope projects were made! He's an awesome guitar player, turned Dj.
Bilal, What more can I say about this guy! You all have your opinions about him, but here's mine. Bilal is an Icon in every right you can think of. When was the last time you check a person with his ability? He's another big impactor! He makes you better even when you're not realizing it. He took me in and once he heard me play, he believed in what I could become. I already had enough in my playing, but he knew that once I joined his band, along with Robert,Tony, and the other guys that I would blossom. I didn't know at the time and I was just along for the ride. When your young, you like to hop from gig to gig to think that you're the hot commodity!
Little did I know that I would take place of such a band and grow into who I am today. His amazing vocal ability has spoiled me from ANY other gig I've played on.
We built such a cool vibe on stage and off, you would think we're best friends.
Every person in the band has grown to such high levels, its expected almost.
When a bunch of people counted me out, he gave me the chance to share the stage with him and develop my signature sound. Who knew that years later me and him both would produce a well put together album in Airtight's Revenge. That's like us though,we like to push the boundaries, and think outside the box. Do music that we think will inspire others. He's like a brother now after all these years, on stage I know his dynamics well, and off, well, we're like brothers. We've done everything from arguing to, fighting in bars together, cracking jokes, hanging, tipping the waiter too much! Lol That's my boy, and he'll probably won't ever read this, but I thank him dearly and always will be appreciative of him letting me be apart of his career.
I had a few honorable mentions but then that would cause for a  short story as well, and I didn't want you guys complaining saying how long of a blog I typed today.

In closing, I just want you guys to remember that who ever it is, in your life, in your class, anywhere. Your able to make a huge impact upon these people's lives' and it goes along way. 
I've been impacted upon and maybe I've even inspired and impacted a few people. We all can experience it one way or another.
Who has impacted your life?
After Rob saw mike and his new attire, he bursted out in laughter! His costume, pretty funny.
Mike Severson,Steve Mckie,Bilal,Tone Whitfield, Chris Turner,Corey Bernhard
The Band
Why do I look so angry? Oh I remember,  The guy wouldn't let me back stage, after I just got finished performing, He took his job so serious, so that explains the look!
Always joking and smiling, never a dull moment in this band!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On the Run.....throwback production credits.. New moves

Over the past few days I think I've gotten an average of 8 hours of sleep total. I'm sure you guys know I've been busy with the Release of the album ( Airtight's Revenge ) Bilal. We had the release party at Johnny Brenda's and then traveled on to Boston to Play Scullers Jazz club! 
I feel so drained at this moment but I wanted to express a sincere and deep thank you to everyone who have supported  me thus far. Its been a crazy journey doing music and putting it out there for all of your listening pleasures.

Its hit or miss most of the time, but I like to think I make timeless music that will build a legacy for some time to come.
Philadelphia, what more can I say about it! Home of so many great musicians, its ridiculous! For awhile I found myself trying to figure out where is my place here, but its pretty safe to say I've earned my stripes.
We have John Roberts,Brian Frasier Moore,Erik Tribbet,Darrell Robinson, Spanky McCurdy,Booty Green,Ahmir Thompson, all who are down right amazing drummers! Throw me in that core and you have some awesome players! All the time, people ask me, what is it about Philly, I have no clue, everybody is playing on some big time stages right now and I'm sure you've heard of them.
For instance, I had a show playing with Bilal in philly at Johnny Brenda's and then Spanky is playing the same night At the wachovia center with Lady Gaga! Need I say more, I won't, I won't brag like that. Everyone knows what Philly is doing!

It was a great day looking at all the twitter/face-book responses we got from the album, and the show was icing on the cake!
Hard work that pays off in the end. Lots of people came out the show and it was a great feeling. Seem like something was missing from helping me celebrate that moment, I couldn't really pin point what it was, I know it was something though. Maybe it will come back to me soon.
I was planning on doing a blog on how The album was created, but over the past few days, There was not enough time for anything it seems. So I've decided to work on it and gather some photo's and clips from the sessions and put it all together. I wanna explain my side of the process, sort of like an unplugged version. Very insightful I think it will be! Stay tuned for that one.

Driving in to Boston today was a killer! I was so exhausted, I feel like a need a day or two to get my battery level back to green, right now I'm deep in the red.
Two days of rest shall do me well, Back home to check on my Kids, Sheyenne and Samarr, do a few teacher/parent conferences, you know, all that good stuff!
Then I head back out to New York to do this Album release party at BB Kings.
Bilal's second home. I gotta take a moment to thank him for letting me be apart of such an Epic production! He believed in me when I was developing my sound long while he was already in his prime, but somehow, someway, he heard my sound that would eventually go on to be a tandem for 10 years now!
He's become a brother of mines, and it's amazing how we came together and shared a vision of sound for this new record.
Those sessions took so much time, we tweaked records, erased records,and made great records, some of which did not make the album. I Feel like some could have made it, but maybe I can save them for a Steve Mckie Beats Producer Album!!!!!

Back to Philly, We have to drive from Boston to Philly, its gonna be a wild one!
So let me go and get some sleep, thanks again to everyone for all the support, check out my Interview I've recently done talking about the album and my career so far!

There it is people! Airtight's Revenge Wow sometimes it shocks me, no album released in 9 years
So far, it's been some very good reviews and I've added a few links just below, read them carefully folks
Along with Bilal, I Produced All Matter,Move on,Robots,Restart,The Dollar,Who are you,and Cake and eat it too
If you didnt know I produced Back In Love, Dope Record
I've produced on this grammy nominated Album For Songs "Hate on me" which was also nominated for best r&b song and "My Love" Great Album to be apart of
Some great friends of mines Aja and Fatin are, they have a beautiful family, they took me in and gave me a chance to Produce on Their In This life together Record In which I Produced Sneak A Freak.
Then On this album The Arrival I produced "The Struggle" "Hey" And classic song "Can't Help it"
Thank you guys! Love you much
Me and Tony Produced Sneak a Freak, which was landed in Sanaa Lathans Film "Something New"

I produced "Selfish" Off this record with My Boy Adam Blackstone! banger
Also I Produced "Sweething" We recorded a few records around that time, those were the two that made it. Grateful I am
Here's Some great footage, I encourage you guys to pick a copy up from amazon, The dresen soul symphony with a some great artist I've worked with Including Joy Denalane singer from germany, I produced her new abum, Dwele, Tweet, and my Buddy Bilal, we played with an orchestra performing all the classics, from Mrs jones, betcha bow golly wow, Man's world, Sir duke, this show has it all, and you got me on drums! Here's the link.

Later folks!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Today is the day when most of us would say thank god its friday, but I'm not really feeling that way.
I'm blessed to have the career I have and almost everyday feels like friday!
I get to wake up and decide at any point of the day what I'm going to do. Unless there's some particular plans already scheduled. If I'm on the road then its pretty simple, wake up in enough time to make soundcheck and lobby call, and make sure you don't over sleep when its time to go to the airport.
Simple right, yes, I know.
There's been a few things I've been wanting to adjust in my life and as always, if you have children, you have to make them the center of your life, regardless of what you're doing. For me always being on the road has made that task a bit difficult, and frustrating because you wanna do both just as much, working towards your dream, and being  great parent to your child.
So what do I do? Balance the best way possible and all the little things that seems like it's so small to you turns out to be the biggest things for the kids. For my ten year old daughter, She started private school  yesterday and  I got up and walked her to school, a few blocks from my place in University City, and watched her to her class. She's beginning fifth grade at an elite school called "Jubilee"

She seemed to be pretty relaxed and happy about her new school, I noticed a whole different swing in herself coming from pubic school. It was all about work and I've even gotten some great reports.
I was a little worried that since being in public school, it's not a fair deal to learn anything while the classroom is almost thirty kids to one teacher and maybe a helper. Her class, at least fourteen kids to one teacher! Amazing! Its important that the kids get one on one attention from their teachers, just in case they miss something, or need help, its right there.
I worried that the kids in her new school would be way to advanced, but throw a kid in the mix, and they catch up so fast that it was all worth it! Her education for the next two years shall set her up nice for the next few grades that she will be facing.
I figured I would be tired since I left the studio around 4-am that night before and then had to wake up at 7 am to get going. That feels like a job already! Come back at noon to check on her and bring her lunch, (Went grocery shopping last night, packed lunches it is) Seems she's doing just fine!
Meanwhile I'm hanging with my son because Public schools are closed due to jewish holidays? 
Two days in row, thats a little obscured man, I can see one day, but two? Thats a little ridiculous!
I'm thinking to myself, hey man, this is my time, they should be in school, meanwhile he was enjoying every bit of riding his bike and watching Disney channel. I got his number today though, its gonna be book reading time soon as I'm done this post!
After all those festivities were done, I was able to do my regular routine and jog! I hit a surprising seven miles! And I didn't even feel too messed up! Funny how your mind tells your body to stop and your body can keep going, but the mind just says, your fine if you don't run an extra couple of miles, your fine, you've already ran five! Your body is saying, hey, we got a few miles left!
Funny stuff right! Stay dedicated and commit. It will happen, that is, if you have a goal in mind.

I wanna thank everybody who's been supporting me thus far, it's really a good feeling to know you all follow me and like what I'm doing, I'm forever grateful to you all!
Since the new album from Bilal has surfaced and you guys found out that I produced it, I've heard some good and encouraging comments. So that explains my gratitude!

Enjoy everything about this fall season and have a good evening!

Later folks

Early as ever walking to school  Sheyenne & LeShe'
They call themselves "sisters" They're in the same class!
Skinny jeans, chucks, graphic Tee's and Bookbags, oh and hair done! 
Ten year olds Off to school!
Never saw Shey so happy for school
My Brother's Son Naiem he turned ten this year, we had lunch at silk city and he loved the fries!
My Brother Omar and Naiem on His birthday at silk city
This Kid will have you cracking up! He's just too funny!
Later folks come out to Johnny Brenda's on Tueday for Bilal album release show!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Busy day Today and traveling.

Dear readers, welcome back, thanks for taking the time out to read my journey.
Its good to be back in a space where I'm creating and sharing. Times are busy again, and work is good.

Back on the train with Conley "Tone" Whitfield-Bass player of Bilal's band, to rehearsal, this goes back to the year 2000, when we took New Jersey transit everyday for gigs in Nyc and rehearsals. Now days Amtrak is the way to go as you can tell from my previous entries. Sometimes I can deal with mega or bolt bus when convenient, They have wifi!
I hung out last night with some of my best and close friends I haven't seen in a while, one in particular, Lil' Darrell Robinson  an amazing drummer and producer! We've been cool for a good while now, and it makes me really happy to see him doing his thing, as he holds the musical director title for the Nerds band,and a host of other bands he played for throughout his career.

Last night he played at this place in Philly called "Time" A rare occasion it was to see him playing there. So I decided to come and check him out. That scene was pretty cool, musicians playing trying to get a gig. Lots of them were good, young, but good, but then something happened.

They started playing a Michael Jackson song, while I sit there in company with another seasoned brilliant musician/Producer in Anthony Tidd, we were listening and they were jacking this song up.
I said to ant, there has to be a requirement for young guys coming up, before you reach a certain point, Its mandatory that you learn top 40 songs and standards before you come out to a place and wanna jam. Playing a song like,Dont stop till you get enough? And you dont know it, and you are feeling your way through! I was like what....… Are they serious, we shared a laughed and made a joke about it! But if you're reading, and your that young cat, Learn classic material, I'm sure somewhere down the line it will be helpful to you.
It worked for me years ago, but my practice scheme was a bit different, I played to albums that were classic and studied it for days and just kept playing to it until I could play out, or create my own identity from shedding it.

Rehearsal time again, and I must add, I have to take the once famous Allen Iverson's practice outbreak!
I'm not a practice player at all! He said, "Man we talking about practice man, Not a game Practice"
That is exactly how I feel about it. Too long, going over the same things, of course it will be helpful for you and make you ready for the game/gig, but I feel like I always do better in shows verses rehearsals.
I wonder does the same apply to most musicians?
I guess practice makes better, it definitely helped out in the band today. We were playing new music from the album the wrong way because no one never had a copy to properly learn the songs, and yesterday and today made a huge difference!
I'm a firm believer of playing a show and playing the music as it is on the album!
Ever been to a concert and your band is playing the song you like, but you can't tell because they're playing it in some certain kind of way?
I cannot stand that, so I had to figure out a way to prevent that from happening to us, so we can put out a good show for you guys.
Tonight I'm back in the studio, hopefully we can get some footage and post it for next time around.
Hope you guys have a great evening, and if your around or live in any of these cities I've posted below, then come out to the show and grab the cd and have a good time with us!


14th Philly Album Release Concert @ Johnny Brenda's
15th Boston- Schullers Jazz Club
18th New York- B.B. Kings
19th Alexandria,Va- Birchmere
21st Toronto- Revival
25th Montreal- La Sala Rossa
No I dont like kobe!

Marsh! She's Promoting her new album and single "Hope she cheat on you with a Basketball Player"
Me and the Blackberry
Jill Scott & Freeway At a jam session i played at
On stage in Nyc jam session

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just thoughts, that i shared with you all

Here we are, back again, getting ready for our respective jobs, sending our children back to school!
Again? Time does not wait. The clock is turning and ticking fast! If you blinked, then sorry to inform you that your summer is over.
Back on the grind. Being a proud parent, I'm looking forward to the Parent/Teacher conferences,surprise visits to the school when the kids are out of control, You have to love it!

I've noticed that the month of August, I've only had a few blog entries to post, and right as someone commented on my recent blog, saying, wow a musician that shares their personal life while being so being, having time to blog is amazing! "Jinx" big time:)

Guess I've gotten too busy for myself, but i credit that to many changes in my life. Most of them are remarkably good!
New Friends,that one special person, time with the kids, work, well touring the world again and again, and just relaxing with my family.
It was much needed, kinda like I hit the restart button a few times over the course of a few months.
I've enjoyed a nice birthday with friends and family, spend a few weeks with my kids, they even developed new friends out the deal.
My son and daughter enjoyed a teen concert in the Jonas Brothers/Demi Devato. Let me see what else, they've enjoyed bike riding with friends, watched Disney channel in HD all day long, went to nice restaurants to eat, all that type of fun stuff kids do when their off in the summer.
As school time approaches, it's a different feel, shopping for supplies and clothes, Its all a major headache for me! On the bright side, if all goes well, one of my kids will be attending an elite private school! Fingers crossed everyone. It's so important to get these kids on the right track in school, it's their future, we know it, but to them, its just going to school everyday and learn something. They aren't thinking down the line, like our parents did for us when we were young. Right? If you have kids, remember to provide them with the best you can offer, make it one of the top things on your to do list, it's your kid, thats your creation, make them the best they can be.
Me on the other hand, is back in the studio, rehearsing, touring, and dealing with all the obstacles that come with being an Producer and Musician.
Dealing with these projects that come along and sometimes it don't pay you well for your time, and dealing with all these people saying, "I Want This" I Want That" FOR FREE.
That baffles me, here you are, working a Nine to Five and you have money, and here I am,  working doing music for a living, I run a studio, and you tell me that you want to do this and that, then when money comes to talk, you can't afford it.
Am I making sense here folks? sure I am.
Sorry for that outburst, but if your reading and your one of those folks, then perhaps you should try a producer who has free time to burn and gets a kick out of doing projects for people for free with absolutely no substance. I don't wanna knock the hustle of your grind, but to be quite frank, its usually not worth my time!

Did I mention Amtrak is my friend? Of course I did, I'm typing my entry and enjoying this smooth and quick ride to New York to rehearse for these upcoming Bilal shows, and more importantly, The release of his Album That I Helped Record and Produce "Air-tights Revenge" an album a bunch of folks patiently waited for!
If you are in philly on the 14th of this month, please get down to Johnny Brenda's on Front& Girad Ave. in Philly, I love that venue, its intimate, and the sound is pretty amazing in there!
Bilal,Myself, and Tony producer of Little ones of the new album, hometown is philly, so there will already be lots of love in the room, so come and witness this special event.

Well my stop is up next, cool thing, the conducter  on the train didn't take my tickets, it appears I got a free ride today! Nice! I'll save that for next time, Thanks for reading, I'm back of course, lets get back in the swing of things, You guys can also feel free to share a few comments with me on how your summer went as well, I'll be glad to read them.

Pick up the album next week on itunes, and stores, lets make this an classic album everyone!
i appreciate all the love you guys have been giving me!
Also, i have New "Mckiebeats" T-shirts coming soon, i'll post pictures on my next blog, if you wanna buy one, hit me up, drop a comment, and I will get back to you of course, until, see you next time!
Samarr and his Bike he just got.
Leshe',Samarr, & Sheyenne
A day of fun and bike riding!
Kids went in and had a fun day with oil crayons
gave their contributions to the studio's Booth!
Rocking in Paris With Bilal, Mike Severson on Guitar
I thought this was a dope picture, taken by Rob of Creative Eye Design