We shine the light on Shannon Sanders, a man who’s already earned two Grammys, two Emmys and a Dove Award.
Shannon is an independent artist with an incredibly impactful voice and a powerful message, especially for men.
This time, the focus is on Shannon the producer and we found the timing to be just as fitting. As the Grammy-winning soul artist India.Arie debuts her fifth album, “SongVersation,” she has continued her collaboration with Shannon—the producer and songwriter who has helped to establish her signature sound. He’s also the musical director who brings her studio efforts to life on stage.
Being that Shannon has worked with artists like John Legend, Heather Headley, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang, Anthony David, Eric Benet and most recently Algebra (he produced her current single “Nobody But You”), we wanted his perspective on what it means to be a music producer and what it takes to create a lasting impression in this industry.
“Honestly, I don’t think that people simply decide to be a producer,” shares Shannon. “It’s just kind of who you are. It requires having a certain way of listening, a different kind of love and appreciation for music and being willing to see the potential in someone. It’s kind of like the running back vs. the coach [in a football game]. The ball represents opportunity. As the producer, it’s my job to come up with opportunities, and it’s your job to run the ball. At the end of the day, I’m working alongside you so that you can win. It’s not about me. It’s about bringing out the best in you.”
Shannon credits the great Quincy Jones for being the pioneer for black producers and Dr.Dre for his sounds. He admits admiration for The Black Keys for their tones, and the late J Dilla for his sense of timing and drum programming. Shannon says that one of the greatest misconceptions about producers is what their job specifically entails.
“If you are producing a project, you wear a lot of hats,” says Shannon. “It’s not like just programming a song. It is our job to get the musicians, singers, engineers and even book the studio. And with the budgets of projects being a lot cheaper than they used to be, you have to be willing to be a one-stop shop in a lot of ways. I am a singer. I play the trumpet and keys. There have definitely been projects where it was pretty much just me and the artist who basically did an entire song. It speaks to shift of the industry but also to the fact that there are still artists who can pull that off.”
This is basically how Shannon’s music resume came to be. Although all of the artists are vastly different, whether it’s Robert Randolph who’s considered to be a legend in his time or Laura Reed, the South African-born singer who’s currently capturing the eyes, ears and hearts of many, they all have a talent, a spark, a musical skill that is undeniable. So does Shannon. It’s the combination that’s kept him in the game.
“A good producer is going to simply take a slice of who you are and make it more commercial”, says Shannon. “I believe people come to me because I have an ability to see what is uniquely wonderful about them and then make it sellable. It’s basically capturing as much of your personality as I can in three minutes and then sharing it with the masses.”
The more time we spend with Shannon, we get it: the two Grammys, the two Emmys and the one Dove Award. We’re sure that there are more accolades to come as it relates to what he sings and produces. Shannon Sanders’ latest production credits are featured on Robert Randolph’s new LP Lickety Split slated for July 16, 2013 release. For more on Shannon visit www.ShannonSanders.com.