We had the good fortune of connecting with Dean Woodson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dean, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Let’s put it that way: In 2017 I took a student loan at the bank and left France without ever visiting Los Angeles anywhere else than on Google Maps. I didn’t know a single person in the US music industry but I trusted that it was the right move to do if I wanted my career to move forward. I strongly believe that if you’re in the music industry, whether you’re an A&R, an artist, a manager or a songwriter/Producer you have to be willing to take risks. I’m not saying you have to take risks just for the sake of taking risks and shout around “hey look at me I’m taking risks why am I not a superstar yet”. You have to be smart about it. I’ve heard the term “Calculated risk” a bunch of times while talking to people I really look up to; and it took me a while before understanding what it actually means. It’s like playing chess, try to ask yourself what happens if you take that risk and weigh your options: if what you could gain is worth more than what you could lose you should probably go for it (also check your judgement, when I say “what you could gain” ask yourself if the probability of it happening is really high). So yeah take calculated risks every time you feel stuck in your career. I know that if I would’ve stayed in Paris in 2017 I would probably be miserable by now.
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.
I think the fact that I used to have a career as an artist before actually committing to be a full time producer/songwriter really helps me put myself in the shoes of every artist I have the chance to work with. And that’s a real plus because I know the anxieties that come with being an artist and I guess it helps me get everyone comfortable in a session. Even more so when most of the sessions are on zoom because of COVID lately and it can get weird pretty quickly if we’re not comfortable with each other. I recently had the opportunity to work with some of my favorite artists including Queen George with whom I just released her debut single called “Lottery” and I couldn’t be more excited for our next release together with the french DJ Boris Way that is coming up. I’m also currently spending all my days working on Nico Franc’s upcoming project which is probably one of my favorite projects I’ve ever been part of and I can’t say much, but let me tell you this man is out of this world and I can’t wait for him to put those songs out.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would give you a week but let’s be honest nobody lasts that long so here’s the best day ever: Let’s say it’s Sunday, we start the day with a good old 7am hike at Runyon, because I hate hikes and I need to have my best friend understand the struggle of living in LA and having to socialize on the daily. From there, we’re going to the Melrose Trading Post flee market which is a must do. We spend a couple of hours, we’re hungry and we lay down our options: Israeli Food in the Valley (Either Hummus Bar or Tel Aviv Grill) Pizza (Enzo’s in Westwood or Jone’s on Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa) Burgers (Obviously In N Out and I’m probably going to get cancelled for this BUT SHAKE SHACK THO) Or my little secret Thai Food place called Crispy Pork Gang in East Hollywood that serves 24/7 the best studio meal you could ask for. We’ve ate, let’s skip a day it’s Monday 2pm I couldn’t make this list without mentioning the Harry Potter side of Universal Studios to which I bought a yearly pass as soon as I got in LA – so that’s where we’re going. We spend the rest of the day, it’s 8pm we either go to the Hotel Café for a Monday Monday show or to School Night at Bardot. It’s 10pm our options are: No Vacancy – Davey Wayne’s – Zebulon (Silverlake) But let’s be honest, it’s late – Two slices of Pizzas at Joe’s on Hollywood Blvrd and we’re out. And let’s be even more honest – Damn you COVID.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my there are honestly so many people that I could shoutout for helping me move forward. Ok let’s do this chronologically, apart from my parents obviously who supported me in every choice I did since I left. I took the Music Business program at UCLA Extension and my first shout out has to go to the amazing teachers we had, who really set me up to be as business savvy as I am today. From Dina Lapolt’s legendary Music Business Law class to Brian Malouf’s A&R & Production classes and Gary Greenberg’s music licensing class. I remember calling Brian one day panicked because I was going to intern as an engineer in a studio and I didn’t know at all how to use a patch-bay so he let me come to his studio and took a few hours of his time to teach me how it works. Brian, I owe you. My second shoutout goes to the amazing artists who let me in their world and allowed me to be a small part of their journey: From the amazing Kira Kosarin’s Take This Outside which was my very first cut in LA to Queen George’s debut single “Lottery” which is probably the piece of art that I’m the most proud of. My third shoutout goes to all the songwriters / producers who attended my songwriting camps and really helped me build this community: Katie Tucker, Moises Zulaica, Viv Parker, Stefan Pvds, Rachael Kathryn Bell, Emeline Easton… You can find the full list on my website they’re all the new wave everybody’s going to soon talk about. There are so many more that deserve credit for helping me move forward but I could stay here talking all night.