We had the opportunity to sit down with multi-platinum, super producer George ‘G1’ Archie to discuss his music, future plans and his musical legacy. A record producer is probably the most important member of the creative team, and at times the busiest; especially if you are selling millions of records every year. Good record producers understand the physics of sound, but also understands the dynamic of performance and the craft of songwriting. G1 incorporates all of those elements, working under his diverse resume with artists such as Tupac, R.Kelly, Will Smith, DJ Quik, and Dwele.
G1 started his career by playing percussion professionally, but was soon introduced to DJ Quik. He performed and recorded with Quik on his second album, ‘Way 2 Funky.’ During his third album, Quik found out that G1 played other instruments beyond drums, allowing them to incorporate a true live element to the production of the tracks. Quik taught G1 how to produce, and in turn, they ended up doing the whole album together. G1 states it wasn’t intimidating learning how to produce at first because it came natural to him, and he was excited to be able to put his own style into the music. He realized that he was able to produce great quality music quickly on his own; opening up the door to a very successful career. He also notes his primary inspirations as L.A. Reid and Babyface due to their authentic style and genius musical ability. Each have launched many talented artists, but have incredibly maintained their own individual sound.
Aside from talent, the qualities that stand out to G1 is a vocalist with melodic ability and having a unique sound that has never been heard before. "I’m a melody freak and I look for the special tone coming from that artist, something that grabs me as soon as I hear their voice." G1 is unique in his craft because he refuses to do what everyone else is doing. He will always maintain his style and originality as a producer, and in being that way, he will always have life in this business. Anyone that knows his music, knows his signature, because they know his sound. G1 stands by originality because he’s a strong believer in boldness having a longer lifespan. It has proven itself over and over. There are a lot of records that still sound fresh today. Looking at R. Kelly, G1 states, "He has always been original, and even when he switched lanes, he was able to maintain his originality as an artist."
What irritates me the most about the music industry is when music takes a turn and goes through the microwave stage. In other words, when real original music is phased out and you get these bubble gum, ass beats that are considered hits…The thing is, it always comes back around to that ‘real music,’ but it irritates me when it takes a turn to the bullshit music. Every beat maker is calling themselves producers today. It’s like cooking something in the microwave and calling yourself a chef.
Looking back at his favorite records he ever worked on, he referenced a few including ‘Let’s Get Down’ by Tony! Toni! Toné! because of his ability to produce what he envisioned based on their trust in him as a producer and writer. To this day, it is still a hit club and party record. He made reference to R. Kelly’s, ‘Home Alone’ as being the first record outside of DJ Quik that G1 produced himself, eventually selling over 10 million copies worldwide. He notes his ability to work seamlessly with R. Kelly and trusting in each others creative vision. He describes R. Kelly as still being relevant today because of his determination to respect his originality as an artist, and by creating timeless music. He has proven that by continually going up against new artists, artists of his era, and new phases of music; but has managed to maintain his position as one of the greats. G1 worked on records with artist, Dwele and describes ‘Find a Way’ as a challenge for him because, at the time, he wasn’t really tuned into the Neo-Soul world musically. "I had to find a way to successfully mesh that club and R&B sound with something that wasn’t really widely known and understood." He also continued by describing the message of ‘I’m Cheatin’ (featured above) of a guy who fantasizes cheating on his girlfriend with his girlfriend, the other person he knows she can be. "When I worked on this record, I was amazed by what he wrote to it. I think that, honestly, a lot of people go through that in a relationship…where you wish your girl was that other person."
G1 is currently focusing on a lot of independent projects, and with much innovation. Many people seek his direction when they’re ready to take their company to the next level. One project he chooses to place much of his focus on and is excited about is a new independent label out of Ohio, S.O.M. (Sounds of Ohio Music.) He is executive producing along with the two other executives of the company. He sees them as the next biggest thing to come out of the Midwest; starting with two notable artists, Akbad Dupree and Big Semi. He describes them as having strong star potential and being blown away by their talent. With extensive focus and working hard between the two artists, he plans to have completed projects launched in the second quarter of 2014. He continued by saying, "another project I have spent a lot of production time and direction on is D List; which is a group of brilliant musicians who don’t play by the book and have nothing to prove….’they are really indescribable.” He is also working on separate projects with both Mike Epps and Faizon Love, details to be announced soon.
Looking in to next year, G1 says he would love to work with a few artists including Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, John Legend, and Mack Wild. He feels that these artists would fit creatively into his musical production style, starting the beginning of a great collaboration. He notes that they are artists that have true talent. He has his eye on recent Grammy nominated Mack Wild because he has that unique voice and the qualities he looks for in an artist. He finishes by commenting on Justin Timberlake. "I like how Justin Timberlake transformed from the whole boy band image, fought tooth and nail to find his lane and is still in competition with all of the R&B and soul singers…and holding his own."
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