Producing for Jhené Aiko
In this tutorial, we produce a beat for an R&B singer like Jhené Aiko. When I think of Jhené, I think of a chilled, laid-back vibe. And so that’s the vibe of the track in this tutorial.
As a bonus, this week, we focus on manipulating pitch and using EQ to create “interesting” and unique sounds.
I start this production with the use of an arpeggiator. Arpeggiators are great ways to come up with melodies. And are a tool we use a lot in R&B production. R&B legend Dark Child (Rodney Jerkins) is famous for his use of arpeggiators. Especially with songs in the late 90s, early 00s. Think Whitney Houston, “It’s Not Right But It’s Ok”, or Brandy and Monica, “The Boy Is Mine”.
And once I had the melody down, it was time to add some effects and dirty it up a little.
Lo-fi is popping in R&B nowadays. And when I say “lo-fi”, I mean low quality, low fidelity. It’s ok to sample a recording off of Instagram and use it in a Billboard-charting record, for example. It’s ok for your sounds to sound weird and unclear; it’s half the point. It creates interest. In the video, I use a tool called Half-Time. Not only does this half the speed of the main loop, but it also adds a bit of a warping effect. I also use a plugin called RC-20 to further the effect.
Automation is one aspect of production that is easy to skip over. Don’t. Automation is the tool, outside of mixing, that can bring your track alive. I show you how using simple pitch automation on an 808 bass adds flavour and interest.