A&R SUNDAYS had an opportunity to interview Don Destin (owner) of DDP Music Group. Don Destin’s credits include: Drake, Nicki Minaj from Young Money, T.I., T Pain, Tynisha Keli, Young Dre, Jay Lyriq, Young Joc, and many, many more. Don Destin is a multi-Platinum Super Music Producer.
Read the interview below:
A&R SUNDAYS: Thank you for doing this interview. How are you today?
DON DESTIN: Fine. Thank You.
A&R SUNDAYS: Can you tell us about your record label DDP Music Group?
DON DESTIN: DDP Music Group is a dream that I was finally able to make a reality. It’s my brainchild that is now starting to come alive. Everything here starts from making hit records. I call this company Lil’ Motown because we discover, develop, record, produce, and release our own artists from beginning to end.
A&R SUNDAYS: Where are you from, what city do you represent, and when did you start producing?
DON DESTIN: I am Canadian born raised in the Greater Toronto Area. I moved to America in my early twenties and lived in NYC and LA. I currently live in Austin, Texas the music capital of the world, this is where I felt would be the best place to build my empire. I look at producing as composing and I began doing that at 8 years old by writing musical notes onto sheet music and creating short violin concertina’s. Then by 12 years old I took composing into the recording studio and started the process of learning music production.
A&R SUNDAYS: Did you start out using a drum machine, keyboard workstation, computer, or all the above?
DON DESTIN: It was an evolution. I remember going into Long & McQuade and my dad telling me choose something you want to learn on son. I spent 8 hours in the store that day using all the equipment and programming beats. I finally had to make a decision between a drum machine or a keyboard. So I grabbed the Korg Trinity and mastered it. Then I went back and bought the MPC 2000xl and mastered those two together. Then I bought the fantom keyboard and hooked all three up together. Then I bought a computer and started understanding DAW and workstations. There was so many phases to the development of my production that I ended up learning all the gear that was on the market.
A&R SUNDAYS: How many instruments do you play, and which is your favorite?
DON DESTIN: I play countless instruments but I have mastered most string instruments. I was trained in Violin, Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Saxophone and Viola. I love all instruments for each of there own sound qualities but playing violin is the most fulfilling it is like a human voice. Piano allows me to use multiple colours to create beautiful chords and melodies. Guitar is an extension of the soul and your attitude you can put so much personality into your playing. So I really love all instruments in there own right.
A&R SUNDAYS: Should everyone that calls them self a music producer, be able to play a musical instrument?
DON DESTIN: If you call yourself a music producer then in my eyes you should be a musician. If your playing on your records or not like the conductor of an orchestra you have to know all the instruments and what there capabilities are and how to compose to make them all work together. You have to have a creative nature and understand how to pull sounds together to make a cohesive product.
A&R SUNDAYS: Do you prefer hardware or software when producing music? Fruity Loops, Reason, Garageband? Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase? MPC, Miko, Maschine? Motif, Fantom, Kronos, Neko?
DON DESTIN: I believe in both methods hardware and software. I started out on all hardware and grew into software but a good balance of both is great. I used fruity loops when it was still in version 3. At the same time I was still programming on drum machines and keyboards. I probably have used all keyboards and drum machines over the years. Protools is what I solely work on now. I program, arrange , and mix all in protools now.
A&R SUNDAYS: How did you get started in the music business, and who gave you your first break?
DON DESTIN: I started in a R&B group while I was playing in the symphony. It was a great change to all the classical music I was learning at the time. We quickly grew and performed all over the city and before long we had Universal Records, Motown, and Sony interested in us. It wasn’t long before I realized I could have great success in the music industry and I could hang with the best out there.
A&R SUNDAYS: Who would you say your music is most influenced by?
DON DESTIN: I have a few major influences spanning different timelines and generations but I would have to say that Babyface, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Quincy Jones, R Kelly, Dr. Dre, Timbaland really influenced my production over the years.
A&R SUNDAYS: You have worked with some of the greatest artist in the business. Drake, Nicki Minaj, T.I., T Pain, Tynisha Keli, Young Dre, and the list goes on. Who was your favorite artist or company to work with, and why?
DON DESTIN: The best artists to work with are always the ones you have a personal relationship with and can really create and connect with the music. Tynisha Keli is a true “Artist” we have conversations all the time before we actually create and find a wave length that we both relate upon to create great music from. Those organic records are always the best because you have an actual story and experience that goes along with creation of the record. Some major artists you will never even meet and you “work” with them. I like the old school way of getting in the lab and really creating some magic.
A&R SUNDAYS: What does it take to become a platinum producer? Is it more of who you know, or more of what you?
DON DESTIN: It takes relentless ambition and sheer determination. It takes years of honing your craft and developing your technique and production abilities. You will know your ready because the music will speak for itself. That coupled with the right people recognizing your ability and having the right record at the right time and making something magical happen. If the record is successful or not is in God’s hand you just do the best job you can.
A&R SUNDAYS: Our platform is based on giving tips, advice, and opportunities to indie/unsigned artist. What advice would you give to up and coming artist/producers.
DON DESTIN: If your a creative person then don’t allow the politics of the industry to effect your musical process. There are a lot of people with great music out there and I would hate to not get to hear it because someone quit on themselves and let the game beat them down. Don’t get discouraged from the low points and don’t get too high when things are great. Stay the same if it’s a hit or not. When you make it about the music everything you do is successful. You determine your own destiny in life.
A&R SUNDAYS: What is the best way for up and coming artist/producers to send music to you.
DON DESTIN: Send your music to firstname.lastname@example.org. But please note that DDP has an extremely strict criteria.
A&R SUNDAYS: What would you say is the biggest misconception about Don Destin?
DON DESTIN: I honestly wouldn’t know bro, I’m not in the habit of talking to people about what other people say about me. If there talking then it’s all good all the time for me. This is 2015 people have a million different things they can interact with. If people talk about you if it’s true or not there still talking which means your doing something right.
A&R SUNDAYS: What is the name of the most popular song you produced?
DON DESTIN: I have a few but Young Dre “ I Love LA” is a special record for me because it really was a tribute to Tupac. It was my last day in Los Angeles and I was moving to Houston the next morning. I remember waking up in Santa Monica overlooking the ocean and the record just came to me. I knocked out that record in about an hour and it was powerful. I was blessed enough for Young Dre to feel that energy and write about his hometown on my beat. Then to top it off Sims 3 Game picked it up and sold 10 million copies of it for us. So note if your ever playing the video game there is a high probability that you have heard my song thousands of time during gameplay.
A&R SUNDAYS: What are you working on right now, and what projects, or artist should we be on the look out for?
DON DESTIN: It’s a really exciting time right now. After signing Tynisha Keli, of the Warner Music Group Camp. We are planning on doing great things with her career. We already have put out two new singles in a short period of time and are getting ready to get to work on her album. She is one of the best vocalists I have ever heard. I know Tynisha is gonna take the whole game to another level.
A&R SUNDAYS: We want to thank you for doing the interview with us. Please tell us how you can be reached on twitter, instagram, facebook, and any other social media sites we can network with you on.
DON DESTIN: Thank you, follow me on twitter @http://www.twitter.com/teamdestinddp, on instagram @http://www.instagram.com/dondestin, or @http://www.instagram.com/ddpmusicgroup, and @http://www.facebook.com/dondestinentertainment.