Hi, I'm Dirk Scarlett, a singer/songwriter/guitarist/lyricist/writer originally from Walsall, just north of Birmingham in the UK. I always loved music but writing or performing it never even occurred to me, until I was tricked into auditioning for a band by a friend. I touched that beat up mic for the first time (Shure SM57) and felt an electric shock like a bolt of lightning - and it wasn't just the bad wiring on the guitarist's homemade PA amp. The rest is very obscure music history.
In the music biz it's not about what you know; it's about who you know. So what do you do if you don't know anybody? I like think its your duty to get everything related to your music as good as possible before putting it out there. This is not so easy when you have the budgetary constraints I do (for example the budget for my latest video Taj Mahal was £0.00). But there is no excuse for badly produced music these days, so I realised I needed help getting my tracks from the rough bedroom cuts to radio ready mixes - which is where a producer comes in to the story.
After a lot of searching on Soundbetter, I was very lucky to find the fabulous Aubrey Whitfield, a London based producer who has worked with the likes of Little Mix, James Arthur & Soul II Soul. Her demo showreel sounded fab and I really liked the quality of her productions. Her vision of my music opened up a brand new world to me, illustrating what was missing from my tracks and filling in what was needed to optimise them without compromising the original theme / musicality of each song. She also employs the best session musicians - like the Ry Jones, a sensational guitarist who provided some much needed ear candy to my tracks as well as some killer lead solos. Let me be honest, working with Aubrey costs money - but every track was more than worth it. Pick the right producer.
All of my tracks are recorded on a fairly standard home studio set up - I have a Neumann TLM102 mic, Focusrite ISA one going into Logic Pro X via a Saffire Pro 24 for those interested. I record basic guitar and keyboards and then attempt some woefully inadequate drums - what my producer does so well is take all those and refine them and add to them, brining out the strongest parts of the song. I am a big believer in being able to clearly hear the lyrics in a song so vocal clarity is a must for me. I was always very excited to receive back the finished tracks - all I then needed to do was mix them to my taste; a long and involved process that entailed me learning how to mix. I'm no expert but they sound how I want them to which is key - you can't follow others, be true to yourself.
Having finished missing all the tracks for my debut album Mypersonic I was faced with another dilemma - everyone told me you can't properly market your music with accompany visuals - and there was no way I was going to put out my tracks with just a photo of me grinning for all the YouTubers to suffer - I am not quite good looking enough to pull that off! So, with no budget, I needed to become adept at making my own homemade music videos. This is not easy when you have to do everything (and I mean everything yourself). Oh what endless fun I had clicking record on the camera, then play on the track then running behind the mic to try and give a spectacular visual performance - only to later find out I stood to far back and all that was in focus was the tip of my nose. But there are some fairly good cheap resources out there (Pixabay, Filmora9) and I am very pleased with the results - check it out on my YouTube section below.
So now all that is left is to try and market my music. I am starting with my most commercial track and contacting everyone from Mickey Mouse to the Pope and his best friend Bob. Later in the year I may even be persuaded to venture out in to the real world and make some rare live performances - time will tell!
So I encourage you to share the below, check out my other tracks on YouTube, iTunes or Spotify and comment as you see fit. Thank you for your time and consideration.