We had the good fortune of connecting with Brent Fischer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brent, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
One of my earliest memories is of lying underneath my father’s grand piano, listening to him play. His name was Clare Fischer and he was a Grammy®-winning producer, composer, arranger like myself. He was taking me to recording sessions by the time I was five. I would listen and learn while he was making music for hundreds of movies (like Earthquake and Enter The Dragon), tv shows (such as Mission: Impossible or Mork And Mindy) and albums (Prince, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, etc.) that people still enjoy today. He got me my first drum set at age six, my first electric bass at age 14 and paid for my first few years at CSUN, where I got my music degree. When I was 15, he felt I was advanced enough for professional work and put me on his next album, which won a Grammy® the following year. So I was literally surrounded by music from birth, understood it readily, was willing to work hard at it, had access to multiple instruments, everyone I knew was a musician and I wasn’t shy around celebrities like Carlos Santana or Chaka Khan. I just fell into my career. By the time I actually realized there were other careers, it was too late! Years later I started to find equilibrium, balancing the demands of my busy career with my other business interests of real estate, space exploration and science in general. This led to my consultation business. Every day is something different and I love it that way. One could say my varied hobbies are what some people make careers out of and my career is what some people have for their hobby!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
How did I get here? I’ll sum it up below, otherwise we’d need 30 pages. Was it easy? Never–I immerse myself completely in every project, whether for myself or for clients. If you’re curious beyond the summary here, Google me. So many crazy things will pop up. Or go to BrentFischer.com, @brentfischer_ on twitter or IG. I’m also on facebook and linkedin. I try to be easy to find but watch out for imposter or non-official pages, unless you want a good laugh! I always tell people aspiring to be in the music industry: You have to be able to do just about anything. Learn your craft well and become certified (doctors and lawyers do it, why not musicians). My ability to quickly learn whatever was needed for the project, whether writing, conducting and producing orchestral sessions for the album Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots or organizing all logistics for taking The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Group to go do televised concerts in Europe, has made it possible for me to continually evolve my art. I have developed my ear to be able to identify the many elements (notes, rhythms, grooves, accuracy, emotive quality, sonic architecture) that go into making great music, whether I’m playing it, producing others or tweaking a mix. I have also learned that there is never one right way to brand or market great music as I help other artists in my role as consultant. I think one of the things that sets me apart is how many genres I’ve worked in. For me, creativity is everything. It transcends all boundaries and makes everything applicable to all genres. I have spent years creating my sonic signature; those particular harmonic, melodic, rhythmic vocabularies and how I put them all together that makes my sound recognizable, at least to others in the industry if not some of the general public. Next time you’re listening to something I’ve contributed to, see if you can hear the differentiation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I can definitely look at my hometown of Los Angeles from a traveler’s point of view because I’ve done that in hundreds of other cities around the world. I never think of any destination as being once in a lifetime–if you’re going to really experience it you need to come back at least a few more times! Who wants to go to a huge metropolis like Paris or Sydney only once? And so it is with L.A. If I want to show someone around, which is really impossible in less than a month, I would find out about their interests first. No need to take someone to Malibu beach if they’d rather see The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra perform at The Hollywood Bowl, although I have done both of these. I’ve also been to almost every museum and restaurant all over this great city (I never stick around just my neighborhood) but I’d want to find out what is interesting to a visitor because it took me years to get to all those museums and restaurants and visitors don’t have that kind of time. This may sound silly, but I’m actually a big fan of pleasure drives around the city. What, you say, about the crazy traffic? Well, after all these years I know every side street, mountain road and all the other short cuts to get around the mess. Nothing beats watching a sunset from atop Mulholland Drive or a sunrise from Runyon Canyon overlooking Hollywood and Downtown.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Besides the mentorship of my father and my music professors at CSUN plus professional help from The Musicians Union and The Recording Academy, I’d like to thank the hundreds of artists from around the world who have included my contributions, both big and small, to their artistic legacy. These include: Prince, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo, Questlove, Elvis Costello, Toni Braxton, Eric Benet, Usher, Raphael Saadiq, Al Jarreau, Sheila E, George Duke, Dianne Reeves, Korean artists Jong-shin Yoon and Ga-in, Persian artists Kamran and Hooman, French artists Dominique Dalcan and Francis Maggiulli plus many others. Sorry if I left anyone out, I did this from memory; you know I’m grateful to everyone!
Photos courtesy of Claris Dodge at Studioexpresso.com