My name is Ryan D. Neely and I am a former rapper turned beatmaker and music producer from Louisville, KY. The reason why I mention both being a beat maker and a music producer is because the two titles are not the same thing. Not everyone who can make beats can produce music and not everyone who can produce music can make beats. Beat making is something a person can pick up pretty quickly if they understand sequencing or get ahold of a nifty beat creation app. However, music production takes time, study, and craftiness to get the sounds right. By God's grace, I am able to do both as I started out buying equipment as a teenager and became a one-stop shop.
What Genres I Like
I mostly enjoy producing pop and hip hop beats. As a 1980s born 1990s teen generation African American male, I was very much into New Edition and Michael Jackson. As rap music took its prominence, I eventually became fascinated with hip hop culture, but my first love is still pop. Honestly, I think a lot of African Americans do not realize just how much they have a craving for pop music, until you bring up Michael or Janet Jackson.
My Favorite Sounds
I really like the drum sounds of the 808, 909, and 606 drum machines. They are my main go to. This comes from the hip hop culture influences which I was introduced to by Ken Eversely, better known as DJ K-Razor. Our fathers were Soldiers together in the US Army and stationed in Nuremberg, Germany. I would go to K-Razor's house and watch BeatStreet with him and his brother and later try to copy the breaking moves.
Stint As a DJ
When I became a teenager, I put my younger sister (Erin Neely) on to the BeatStreet film and we watched it repeatedly. While watching the movie one day in those years, I took notice of the creativity displayed by the character known as DJ Double K as he used whatever sounds he could sample in his mixes. My interest in him led me into a 10 year stint as a DJ as well.
Music Producer Beginnings
I was 17 when I started producing. I purchased a six-track sequencer Radio Shack keyboard with my second paycheck from a fast food job. I already had a knack for stringing together Melodies as I received a keyboard for Christmas when I was 6 years old. It was one of the first Casio half-size keyboards that came out back in 1987 if I am not mistaken. Therefore, when I got my hands on the full-size keyboard from Radio Shack, I immediately was on another level with the new possibilities.
A year later I got a Zoom sampler for Christmas. As hip hop culture had become very prominent in the late 90s, I quickly learned how to sample cama remix, and make drum patterns with it. I even became familiar with bending pitches which would soon become extremely popular by a producer from Texas by the name of DJ Screw. Eventually, having to sequence up drum loops was a tedious thing even though it was fun. Therefore, the final piece to my setup was an Alesis SR16 drum machine. From there I began building a studio in my parents basement.
In less than a year I released my first independent rap album called "Wakem' Up." The best salesman for the album was actually my mom. She would take the cassette tapes to work and sell them to her teacher friends. Four years later in 2004 I released a Christian rap album called "Look Into My Heart." That was the album that open up the door for me to do shows. Throughout the creation of both albums, the process that I liked the most was the beat making process. Therefore, after years of contemplating whether I should rap or not, I released most of my unreleased songs at the end of 2020 on my final rap album called "Rapper Turned Producer." Three weeks later I released my first full album of beats and self-titled it "Ryan D Neely."
My goal in producing music is to build relationships that turn into friendships while having fun. I could honestly care less about being famous as sometimes fame may open the door to loneliness. But, if my notoriety increases because of the people I have touched, then I am good with that. With that in mind, I would be lying if I did not say that I would like to have a following of some type or a number of fans who appreciate my music. It feels good to know when people are listening to your tracks and even better when they are listening consistently.
Things I Want Others to Know
I want the readers of this post to know that I do this (making beats) as a hobby. Even if the money were to never come in, I would not lose my appreciation for creating beats. It is truly quality over quantity for me and pleasure before business. By keeping a mindset like this, I have a better chance at being happy while serving others. It also helps me to ensure that I am putting out solid caliber compositions. Even if I lose money on an offer, I do not have a problem with making somebody wait for a beat if the beat does not sound right.
The biggest thing I would like any dreamer, visionary, or hopeful person to know is that they are going to need others in order to be successful. I know a lot of musicians like to call themselves self-made but that is very far from the truth. Somebody else had to be on the other side of the studio booth, behind the instruments, in front of the computer, on the radio giving them publicity, building their website, showing them love on social media, writing about them on blogs and magazines, and more. If I had to go deeper, somebody had to build all of the equipment to make the things I mentioned possible.
We all need each other in this industry and overall in this life. I have seen over people in the business eventually have to make truce with people they were in disagreements with in order to continue their progression. I am not saying that we are not entitled to our feelings, but we have to learn to forgive each other in order to thrive. I totally believe that if Tupac Shakur I and Biggie Smalls were alive today they would not be beefing in these times.
I hope to be an inspiration to all of the people that come across my work and maybe one day make a beat or produce for somebody on a larger scale. Finally, to whoever is reading this, do not give up on your vision. It took me over 20 years before I ever had something sold, moved, or has something streamed over 1,000 times.
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