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Student Spotlight

Cate M.

Cate has been training as a vocal student for the past 6 years, and it’s been an absolute pleasure watching her grow up. She’s become a fixture at every recital, and it’s hard to imagine someone more prepared, enthusiastic, and poised on stage. Over the last few years, she began producing her own music under the guidance of her teacher, Phil Allen, who won a Grammy for being on the music production team of Adele’s mega-hit, “Someone Like You.” Since then, Cate’s found a passion for music production and wants to make it a career. At Molly’s Music, we’ve all loved getting to watch Cate’s musical development, and we’re all rooting for her.

Q & A with Cate

MM: What made you decide to get into the various aspects of music that you’re into? Singing, production, etc.

CM: When I was 13, I decided to start taking voice lessons for fun because I have always loved to sing. Then when I got into my sophomore year of high school I decided to take a music production class. I immediately fell in love with it and I really enjoyed working on the various projects. I continued until my senior year and now I want to be a music producer as a career.

MM: Do you have a favorite song you’ve sung for a performance? If so, why?

CM: My favorite performance I did was “Primadonna Girl” by Marina and the Diamonds because I got to show my personality! It was fun to get into character and be sassy.

MM: What about a favorite project that you’ve produced? What did you like about that particular project?

CM: My favorite song I produced was “Superstar” by the Carpenters because I performed all of the instrumentals–such as, drums, vocals, piano and bass, did the mixing, and learned how to master a song.

MM: What was music production like in school?

CM: The classroom was set up like a mini recording studio. I was able to record live instruments and learn how to mix and record using Pro Tools. I also learned how to use Ableton Live as well. My teacher was Phil Allen, who won a Grammy for being part of the production team for the song “Someone Like You,” by Adele.

MM: Walk us through the process of producing a song.

CM: First I do the pre-production, which is making a demo of the song, which is like a rough draft. Once I am done with that I evaluate the demo to see what changes I should make. I re-record the tracks to make it sound more cohesive. Once that is done, I mix the song, which is balancing the volume levels, and I add effects to the the song to make improvements to make it more “radio-ready.” The final step of production is mastering, which is finalizing the song and then I bounce it down onto one audio file.

MM: What are your music goals? If you could design an ideal job for yourself in the music industry down the line, what would it be like?

CM: My goal is to work for a major record label, like Capital Records and discover new talent. It could be fun to own a recording studio.

MM: Do you have a favorite genre to produce? Is there anything you try to avoid?

CM: My favorite genre to produce is pop, but I would like to avoid rap/hip hop as it is not my favorite genre.

MM: Congratulations on applying for colleges! What are you hoping to do there? Do you have a dream school? How did you pick it, and what’s special about it?

CM: My dream school is the Jacobs School of Music, which is a part of Indiana University. The reasons why I picked it is because they offer a hands-on experience starting your freshman year, and they have a class size of 15 students! This way you get individual attention and get lots of studio time.

MM: Do you want to incorporate singing into your music career eventually, or mainly work with other singers?

CM: I mainly want to work with other singers, but my knowledge of singing and performance experience at Molly’s will really help me relate and will help encourage future clients to get the best vocal performance from them.

MM: If you could eventually collaborate with any artist, either as a producer or a singer, who would it be? Or would you prefer working with new artists?

CM: I would prefer to collaborate with new artists because it will be fun to watch and help them grow as an artist, as they become famous. Last February, my school went on a field trip to a recording studio in Santa Ana called Hybrid Studios. The students were able to help set up for the session with one of my teacher’s clients named Celeigh Chapman. I had a lot of fun participating in the session, and it will be fun to watch her career take off.

MM: You’ve been a student for a very long time, both in voice lessons and in your high school music production classes. If you could give advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

CM: Just have fun with it!

MM: Have your conceptions about singing and/or producing changed at all since you began?

CM: When I first started singing 6 years ago I went into it blind because I did not know anything about singing, I have always enjoyed singing around the house. But now I know singing is a lot of hard work and dedication and that vocal exercises help a lot. When I started producing, I really felt like my singing background has really helped me a lot. It gave me a head start from other people who are starting because I was familiar with how a song works. It also helped me with training my ears so I can use effects such as autotune, EQ, compression, reverb, and echo appropriately so the song sounds professional.

MM: Any social media handles or songs you’ve produced you want to share?

CM: Here is a link to my SoundCloud page! I hope you enjoy the songs!

MM: Anything else you’d like to add?

CM: Thank you Molly for making this a wonderful experience!

Voice Lessons for the 21st Century

Traditional voice lessons are great! The Inside Voice is Better.