By Wayne Ireland
Today’s popular music is rap and hip-hop; there is a lot of work that goes into making the music for this growing industry.
Junior Max Slepian is a part of this vast business where music is highly profitable, but only the outstanding will succeed. In this industry, Max makes beats (instrumentals in a song) and sells what he produces to others. He creates many of his own songs, too, on his Soundcloud, which is essentially a website like YouTube that is exclusively for music.
Max learned how to make beats for songs in 8th grade. His favorite instrumentals to use are old funk and jazz numbers from the ‘60s and ‘70s. He edits these instrumentals to fit the style of hip-hop and rap songs.
In 10th grade, Max attended a class at Woodlynde called Creating and Recording Music with music teacher Dr. Simmons.
When asked about Max in his class, Dr. Simmons replied, “He had a real handle on the programs, especially the soundtrack he made for his video project because it was exceptional. He showed a lot of creativity for his soundscapes. Max definitely has the aptitude to work in the music industry in the future.”
Max sells his beats to about four to five clients per week. Max markets his beats toward less recognized artists because he believes they will have a shot in the future. If any of his clients make beats of their own, they can contact Max over the internet and ask him to be a sound engineer -- which is someone who takes the song and polishes it to perfection -- for their upcoming track.
Max makes music because it’s a way to express himself, and by selling what he creates to others, he can show more and more people his songs and the beats he produces.
He doesn’t make much money from this job, but it was never about the money. He does it to get his name out on the internet and become well connected in the music world. Getting one’s name out there is not an easy task when so many people are also trying their best to achieve the same goal.
“The rap scene is oversaturated with beatmakers, producers, artists, and songwriters,” Max said recently in an interview. “I think the [hip-hop/rap] industry is growing, but the originality of the music is dying because there are a million kids out there doing the same thing I’m doing.”
Even though there is big competition for producing and making music, Max still sees himself making songs and beats in the future.
“I used to just do it as a hobby, but now it has become a passion. It brings people together; there are tons of career opportunities, different ways to be creative, and the internet has allowed musicians to get their music out there.”