Charlie Heat’s Guide to Finding Yourself as a Producer
Charlie Heat has the perfect name. With production credits ranging from Kanye West and Denzel Curry to Lil Uzi Vert, Madonna, and more, he can execute any song style at a moment’s notice. Be it lax R&B numbers or raging rap bangers—the seasoned artist earned GRAMMY nominations for his work on The Life of Pablo—Charlie Heat knows how to craft the perfect soundscape for a wide array of artists.
“I come from a diverse background, so I have experience with a lot of different types of people,” Charlie says of his ability to be a trusted collaborator. “Coming from a mixed ethnicity household, I’ve been involved in different worlds. I traveled a lot when I was younger, too. It’s just experience—and working in retail. It’s not different from anyone else who has experience in sales or a diverse upbringing.”
Though Charlie Heat doesn’t see one specific moment as his breakout moment, he credits the start of his journey as his breakthrough: “I knew at the beginning what I was supposed to do.” From his first beat to his most recent endeavors, Charlie Heat attests everything comes down to finding purpose and staying the course. A believer in learning and passion over raw talent, the biggest takeaway from Charlie’s career is the importance of loving the grind over loving the accolades. Success comes and goes, but the rush of making true art is forever.
For Audiomack World, Charlie Heat shares his eight tips for finding yourself as a producer.
Not all advice is created equal. “My first mistake was a couple relationships I didn’t nurture. Not out of ego, but out of bad advice. I just took some really bad advice on a couple situations.
“Now, I don’t really follow advice anymore—I follow my gut. Everyone has their own path and their own motives. If someone tells me something I can apply, I’m gonna apply it, but I don’t really take advice. It’s intuition, and what God has shown me and told me.”
Love the grind. “First thing, make sure you love the grind of it. And make sure you love learning. If you don’t love learning, you’ll never get better. A lot of people time out because they don’t really enjoy the process. If you don’t love the process, it’s gon’ be an early exit because it’s not easy.”
Find yourself early. “Find out who you are, and then find a way to make it more timeless. You don’t have to change; you just have to adapt sonically. It’s really easy after you know who you are. A lot of people don’t, and they follow something that’s not for them—they get left behind. It doesn’t progress with the times. Be sturdy, but not firm.”
Be fluid in your style. “I just like music! Even when I sit down and make beats by myself, I never stick in the same genre for too long. If I make five beats, it might be two that are the same genre. I can’t really make the same thing too many times in a row. That’s just how my creativity works.”
Take care of yourself, too. “I’m learning [about burnout] now. I used to work so hard, I didn’t really know about burnout, and I used to just push through it. It’s not really healthy, and it’s not productive. You make 10 beats a day, and two are hot—you could’ve stopped at five or six. Knowing when you’re burnt out is as important as not getting burnt out.”
Don’t chase hits, just be yourself. “I’m to the point now where I know how to do it, mentally. ‘I want this to be this, but still sound like me.’ I want [my beats] to be my version of what’s going on. It’s kinda hard to cut through a lot of things now. Every song now is a very collaborative effort, so to cut through, it has to have a certain polish to it. But I try to make sure it’s me.”
Success won’t make you happy. “Your success threshold is gonna go higher every time, so you gotta love the journey. You’re never really gonna be satisfied with accolades or money. You have to love what you do because once you get [success] enough times, it’s gonna get old. People think there’s an end, but there’s really not. Most true artists, the art is the win. If you don’t enjoy this process, you’re never gon’ be happy. If it’s a cash grab for you, you’re gonna run out of cash.”
Keep going and keep learning. “Don’t quit. Don’t ever quit. Go get it. I don’t care how trash you are at the beginning. The best ability isn’t talent; it’s the ability to learn.”
Photos by Lestyn Park.