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Meet Your Makers: The Power of Collaboration with Angelina Powers


Yessian Music's senior producer on starting out as a rep, skills vs. knowledge and loving all projects equally

Meet Your Makers: The Power of Collaboration with Angelina Powers

Angelina Powers is a senior producer at Yessian, the global music and sound design entity in New York, Detroit, LA and Hamburg, as well as executive producer at Vinyl Mix, its audio post division. Her work experience in advertising includes two decades of representation for production, editorial, VFX/animation, and music companies, and establishing independent repping firm, SuperPowersNYC. Since joining Yessian & Vinyl Mix in 2018, Angelina has produced music, sound, and audio post for brands such as Pepsi, Mercari, Olay, Presidente, WhatsApp, and Amex.

LBB> What first attracted you to production - and has it been an industry you’ve always worked on or did you come to it from another area? 

Angelina> I think what attracts me to everything I’ve ever done is human connection. Collaboration. Contributing my strengths and uniqueness toward a common goal, to help create something beautiful, something bigger than myself. Of course, in this business our creations also have the purpose of selling products, and so there are many parameters we need to work within, and many collaborators. As the producer, I work to help to achieve maximum creativity within these parameters. This role also happens to satisfy my need to organise things, make numbers work, solve puzzles, and just get things done. And as a musician, focusing on the production of music and sound was the obvious choice. It’s just a perfect combination for me.

LBB> What was your first role in the production world and how did this experience influence how you think about production and how you grew your career?

Angelina> My very first job in this business was as a rep for a small music company. My desk was right smack in the middle of our enormous recording space, where I witnessed music being produced, performed, and recorded. It was a really special environment. Ironically, I had to leave music behind for a while in order to realise that it was where I wanted to be.

From there, I expanded my representation to all areas of production and post production, and ended up running my own repping company for years. It was hard work, but also exciting and fun, and laid the foundation for my understanding of how this business works, the people who make this business work, and the array of talent who conceptualise and execute the work.

LBB> How did you learn to be a producer?

Angelina> Repping provided me with a strong familiarity with advertising and the overall process. But I learned the nitty gritty of music production and audio post through on-the-job training, just being thrown into the fire. But I also knew that I was never alone, and I had a strong support system in place if and when I needed it, which was often in the beginning. I’m so fortunate to have learned from the best at Yessian and Vinyl Mix, there’s so much collective knowledge and experience among the producers and composers and mixers here.  

LBB> Looking back to the beginning of your career, can you tell us about a production you were involved in where you really had to dig deep and that really helped you to grow as a producer?

Angelina> The beginning of my producing career was not too long ago, but it’s still so difficult to pinpoint, when I feel that every single project I’ve worked on has helped me grow in some way, even if just giving me a wee bit more confidence, or better understanding of my client’s way of working, and in turn being better prepared for the next collaboration.    

LBB> A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital experience. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why/why not?

Angelina> In theory, yes. But there are skills vs. knowledge. There are many aspects of producing a film shoot, for example, that I have no idea how to execute. But I’m certainly capable with a bit of guidance. But the question to me is not whether I’m able to, but do I really want to? Music is where my heart is.

LBB> What’s your favourite thing about production and why?

Angelina> My favourite thing about music production as well as audio post, is literally producing and bringing new music and sounds into the world, and working side by side with the most talented and dedicated people I know. To see and hear how our music, sound design, and the final mix brings the picture to life, is super exciting and so rewarding.

LBB> How has production changed since you started your career?

Angelina> So, so much has changed, from the drastic reduction of budgets, to the change in formats, to how we share and view the work. The crafting of music, in particular, has become primarily computer-generated, which makes me appreciate the occasional live orchestra recording even more. Almost everything is non-union now. And of course, the speed at which it all happens. My composers are turning around incredible, polished pieces in ridiculously short time frames. My mixers work so quickly their screens are a constant blur. And they do it over and over again, every single day.  

LBB> And what has stayed the same?  

Angelina> The need for great storytellers, and the need for music and sound to establish and/or heighten the tone and emotion of the story.

LBB> What do you think is the key to being an effective producer - and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned?  

Angelina> I can only answer this by thinking about the qualities in producers who I admire the most and aspire to be - knowledgeable; resourceful; organised; unflappable; fair; ethical; and above all, excellent communicators, both verbally and in writing.  

These qualities come easier for some, but I think all humans have it in them.

LBB> Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why?

Angelina> Even though I love all my projects equally. . . I will mention the Mercari spots, for which we re-recorded and arranged the Beatles song, ‘Hello, Goodbye,’ with the lyrics inverted to, ‘Goodbye, Hello.’ The obvious reason is, umm, The Beatles! But also because the arrangement was so original and beautiful in itself. Also because our collaboration with the agency team (Rain for Growth), kept us all striving to achieve the highest level of creativity. And then, it aired on the Super Bowl, which was thrilling.

LBB> And in terms of recent work, which projects have you found to be particularly exciting or have presented particularly interesting production challenges?  

Angelina> Our recent campaign for Penn State University (with agency DeCoded) was really special. Each spot had its own unique score, and each track was equally evocative and moving. They all gave me that goose bumps sensation. The agency trusted us to go beyond the expected. We also incorporated sound design, and then mixed the spots, which was particularly complex and intense and brought it all to another level. I love when we’re responsible for every single sound on a spot. I have a true reverence for my team on that one.

LBB> Producers always have the best stories. What’s the hairiest / most insane situation you’ve found yourself in and how did you work your way out of it?  

Angelina> Nothing too insane, though I’ve worked on a few jobs that had such fast turnaround times that we worked well into the nights and through the weekends too. But that’s the nature of this business, I think we’ve all ‘been there.’ 

LBB> What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer?

Angelina>  I just want to continue working on interesting projects with collaborative people, creating beautiful things, and to continue learning from all of them.  

LBB> As a producer your brain must have a never ending "to do" list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?

Angelina> I literally just turn off my computer and allow myself a break from checking emails in the evening and early morning. My co-workers and clients know how to find me if it’s urgent. Then, and I’ve noticed this about my composers as well, I like to play music to relax, not for anyone else’s enjoyment but my own. 

LBB> Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive?

Angelina> I’ve had a few mentors in this business (including Marlene, here at Yessian), who have all taught me - knowledge is power. There are few things more satisfying than knowing the answers to tough production challenges, and being a trusted resource to my clients. This also includes knowing the right people. They can’t come to you if they don’t know who you are.

LBB> From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production?

Angelina> To me, a successful production is when everybody lives happily ever after - my client is thrilled with our work and my team feels appreciated and proud of what we’ve accomplished.  And then, it plays during my favourite TV show :-)

It’s difficult to give advice, because we each take different paths to the same destination, and there’s no correct path if you end up in the right place. In general, just do your best in whatever you’re doing right now, because it leads to what you’ll be doing tomorrow. Everything’s connected.

LBB> What’s the key to a successful production-client relationship?  

Angelina> Consistent, clear communication, the ability to adjust when the project changes direction or the schedule shifts, and ultimately delivering a stellar product.

LBB> One specifically for EPs: Producers are naturally hands on - they have to be. How do you balance that in the more managerial role of an EP?  

Angelina> I am the EP as well as producer at Vinyl Mix, it’s just me, we’re a small and nimble team, so it’s more a matter of managing my own time between audio post projects and the music projects that I’m producing for Yessian. Some weeks are just non stop busy, and other weeks I’m able to come up for air. I just roll with it, and appreciate the variety and excitement of each day. 

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Yessian Music, Tue, 19 Apr 2022 12:51:41 GMT