Advice For Any Musician Thinking About Moving To Los Angeles by Harvey Mason, Jr.
Film Courage: So let’s say there is a young person in their car driving from Arizona to Los Angeles, and you have a quick phone call with them during this trip, what would be your tough-love encouragement?
Harvey Mason, Jr.: They are coming here to work as a music producer, songwriter?
“Come here with the mindset of I’m going to have to really bust my butt to make it. Because a lot of people come here and think “I’m so talented.”
Film Courage: [Yes]…Music producer or it could be anything within the industry, but just the general foundation [of what you would advise them]?
Harvey Mason, Jr.: It would be a pretty long conversation, but I would start with saying if you’re going to come to Los Angeles, be prepared for how competitive it is. There are so many people doing whatever it is you want to do. There are thousands of them already here. There’s going to be another thousand of them coming tomorrow and they are all probably going to be better than you. So when you get here, be prepared for that. And figure out what you’re going to do to get better than them. Come here with the mindset of I’m going to have to really bust my butt to make it. Because a lot of people come here and think “I’m so talented. My parents think I can sing. One of my teachers at my college said I’m a great songwriter,” whatever…that’s why everybody here is amazingly talented and beautiful and handsome and whatever it is. That would be my first bit of advice and then the other thing that I would say is be persistent. You can’t quit. You can’t give up. You have to prepare for the long haul. It’s not going to be quick. You’re not going to be able to come out here and land an audition the first week you get here or produce a song that goes on the radio for years. It could take you years. Be prepared.
Question: What advice would you give to an artist who wants to move to Los Angeles?
Watch the trailer to SING here on Youtube
About Harvey Mason, Jr.:
For the past twenty years, Harvey Mason Jr. has not only penned and produced songs for both industry legends and today’s superstars including Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown, but he has been instrumental in producing music for many of the biggest musical films and television shows of the past decade. Everyone from Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls, Whitney Houston in Sparkle, to the eclectic cast in Pitch Perfect, and Mary J. Blige and Neyo in The Wiz Live! have called on Harvey to deliver music of the highest standards for blockbuster musical productions.
Harvey was born in Boston, Massachusetts where his parents attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Harvey’s father, Harvey Mason, Sr., is a noted jazz drummer and founding member of the group, Fourplay. Mason Jr. grew up in Los Angeles where he tagged along to his father’s recording sessions with the likes of Quincy Jones, Carole King, The Brothers Johnson and Herbie Hancock. Harvey wrote his first song, “Love Makes It Better” for Grover Washington, Jr. at the age of eight. Besides being a gifted musician, Harvey was also a gifted athlete and attended the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship and played in the 1988 Final Four with teammates Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr.
Harvey’s first success came when he wrote the song “Truthfully” for Brandy’s 1998 release Never Say Never. He then joined forces with Rodney Jerkins’, Darkchild Entertainment, and continued to write and produce hits for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. In 2000, Mason Jr. formed the production company, The Underdogs, whose first hit was Tyrese’s “I Like Them Girls”. They continued to top the R&B charts with hits for B2K, Marques Houston, Ruben Studdard, Joe, Avant, and Omarion. Harvey topped the charts in 2009 with the number one hit, “No Air” with Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown and again in 2012 with Chris Brown’s “Turn Up The Music”.
In 2006, Harvey produced the soundtrack for the movie musical Dreamgirls. His work on Dreamgirls was the first to produce three Oscar-nominated songs from the same film in the same year. In 2008, Harvey Mason Media produced the major motion picture More Than A Game documenting the incredible journey of LeBron James’ high school basketball team. The movie garnered a second place People’s Choice Award at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival behind the film Slumdog Millionaire. Harvey also composed the score to the film and served as executive producer on the soundtrack Music Inspired By More Than A Game released on his label Mason Music through Interscope Records. In 2012, Harvey was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the song “The Living Proof” with Mary J. Blige featured in the movie The Help. Sadly, he was the last producer to work with Whitney Houston when he produced the songs “His Eye On The Sparrow” and “Celebrate” for the movie Sparkle. Later in 2012, Harvey produced all of the a cappella vocal performances for the hit film Pitch Perfect featuring Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick. In 2014, he produced the music for Get On Up, the film about the life and music of the legendary James Brown. Harvey again joined with the cast of Pitch Perfect with the addition of Hailey Steinfeld to produce new a cappella hits for the movie’s 2015 sequel. In the summer of 2015, Harvey arranged and produced all the legendary NWA music for the theatrical release of Straight Outta Compton. Most recently, he wrote and produced music for the top rated NBC broadcast of The Wiz Live!. Currently, Harvey is in production on music for the animated film Sing from the creators of Despicable Me and Minions to be released later in 2016.
Harvey proudly serves on the National Board of Trustees for the Recording Academy and serves as co-chair of the Producers and Engineers Wing and the Advocacy Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for his Alma mater, the University of Arizona. Harvey donates his time and resources to several charitable organizations including GRAMMY in the Schools, MusicCares Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, the American Cancer Society, and Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Harvey received the Spirit of Excellence Award in 2012 by the T.J. Martell Foundation for his philanthropic efforts.