Positivity, personal warmth and a can-do view on life makes for an overall outstanding musician. David McLorren’s “Deeper Than the Ocean” carries those qualities with its chill vibe that gets under your skin. Hear him saying “whoa!” in the background? That’s because the music is so infectious, it’s impossible not to participate. The Grammy establishment agrees; he’s on the ballot for 2018. Exciting news for this genuine, real-deal musician.
When did you first realize you wanted music to be your path?
At an early age, I realized that music was my destiny. My mom told me shortly after birth that she put Walkman headphones to my ears and I was bobbing to the music. She knew then. So I would say all my life.
Your primary instrument?
Keyboards. I also play drums, percussion, am a sound engineer, I sing and I dabble with the bass, among other things.
Do you have a vision before you start producing a song?
My vision is to tell a story, while at the same token trying to create a soundtrack that others can imagine their own story to. I draw inspiration from almost anything in life.
What is the lesson from “Life Happens”?
“Life Happens” is a dual lesson, one being that life will happen with or without you, so you might as well get involved and participate before it takes on a life of its own (just look at our elections; many people sit by and complain about the outcome, but refused to do their part).
Lesson 2 is this, life happens and we either choose to deal with and go on; or just lay down and take it. Truth is, regardless of which lesson we can be sure it won’t wait for us to decide. It’s gonna happen.
When you are composing, where do you go in your head?
I don’t resort to any particular formulas. For me it’s an organic thing and not forced. I immerse myself in a thought and the moment as I let the music flow freely. It’s a form of escape, not so much from reality, but from the constraints of obligation to do things a certain way. I see it in my head before it flows to my fingers, like pieces of a puzzle.
Are you constantly thinking of new melodies and harmonies?
It varies. Sometimes it’s a nagging melody, sometimes it’s just a thought that’s asking to be voiced through music. Other times a combination of the two making it harmonious.
How do you find the balance to create something fresh and still make it listenable, accessible, understandable?
The key is really to be attuned to life, people, our world and circumstances. It cannot always be self-promoting otherwise people do not feel a connection.
What bands do you produce under your label?
I’ve worked with a few artists in the capacity of producer, engineer and post-production, including Moon Chylde, Karma Jade (my newest artist), Bernadette Harold (gospel artist), and I have some pending music with Joyce Spencer, Sam Hankins and many more.
What is involved in establishing a record label?
It’s a bit complex. I’ll try to do a quick version.
It starts with having credibility as a producer (not just making a beat) – being able to take a song from concept to final production.
Getting recognized and affiliated with a rights management company. Creating a brand that is distinct, having a business infrastructure. Taking care of all the legalities, trademarking, selecting a business type and being able to legitimately have marketable tracks under your belt. And lastly, having a means of distributing music whether directly or through a third party (aggregate). Then, to have the ability to publish music under that label.
For people who want to go into production, what are the top things they need to know?
Most importantly you must have the ability to create from nothing or be able to communicate your vision to a musician to bring an idea to life.
Secondly, an ear for sound quality and musical content.
Thirdly, the ability to take someone’s idea and make it come to life, the technical know-how to record, mix and put together several elements to create a work of art that is pleasing to your client and their audience. The software and hardware aspects are usually a matter of personal preference…which is an even longer conversation.
How did you feel when you won for “Tremors” in 2015?
Tremors was a surprise hit. The awards were an even bigger surprise. It’s started out as a more laid-back track, but when I got to post-production I decided to remix it even before we released it. Sent it back to Sam Hankins, and we both we blown away by the remix. So we decided to release it as the main track and first single of my album “Reesonz.” It was well-received and took on a life of its own.
Cooking, photography, graphics, composing/arranging, producing, so when do you sleep?
Seriously, we are only limited by not trying. My dad when we were children told us there was nothing we cannot do except nothing itself. Moreover, don’t come to him and say we can’t if we haven’t at least tried.
That has always been my anchor for doing everything I do and with excellence, because it’s gratifying to strive for excellence. Besides, I love most things creative and technological.
What is the jazz scene like in Dallas, especially after the hurricane?
It’s not been affected too much by the recent hurricane. My friends in Houston have been doing a lot of benefit concerts to help the city recover. I’m heading out there next weekend to hang with my good friend Preston Smith, who’s been instrumental in getting a lot of things done in aid of the victims on and off the stage.
What inspired “Deeper than the Ocean”?
“Deeper than the Ocean” – it’s the old adage that there are things even the wisest of us do not know.
The ocean is still one of the largest entities on this earth and there are undiscoverable things in it. And our minds are as such. There is so much we do not even know about ourselves. That track confirms that we simply only scratch the surface, and at the same time there’s a place of peace that is as deep and gratifying as the ocean.
Playing abroad; one in particular is the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. Locally though, the House of Blues or other intimate settings.
Must-have piece of studio equipment?
A Mac laptop and music keyboard.
What do you always have on hand no matter where you are?
My iPhone or iPad. I can access my music, record ideas and use virtual instruments to compose ideas until I can get back to the studio.
What do you like about being a radio co-host?
I like the ability to communicate with the audience, to share ideas, encourage or inspire and to hear feedback from the listeners.
Plans for the rest of 2017?
I’m going to focus a little more time on finishing production for a few artists and compose more music. Get ready for Grammy voting, and do a couple more shows to close out the year. There might even be a track or two in the works that may hit the airways from me and some collaborators.
Musical goals for 2018?
Hopefully, attend the Grammys since “Deeper than the Ocean” is on the ballot. Produce and release some more of my artists. Release some tracks from the upcoming project. To grow and learn more in my craft to be even more viable for myself, clients and colleagues.
I wanna thank you, Debbie, for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and your audience. I would like to thank my good friend and colleague Joyce Spencer for recommending me to you. To encourage you to keep this platform going, your work is commendable. Here’s to 2018 being even greater for you than ever.
For more information visit www.davidmclorren.com.
Photos courtesy of and with permission of the artist.
(c) Debbie Burke 2017