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SK The Greatest: Music Producer Extraordinaire
Tramaine Skeens aka SK The Greatest is an independent music producer with a penchant for creating tunes that appeal to a variety of recording artists that span across musical genres.
His sound is reminiscent of Jazz, Funk, Soul and Electronic Music, all blended with a foundation firmly set in Hip-Hop. This combination of styles makes for a seamless fusion of sound that is unique and refreshing, but with an undertone that is familiar to a diverse set of music enthusiasts. Stylistically his music pays homage to some of the greatest Hip-Hop producers to date, including the likes of DJ Premier, The RZA, Dr. Dre, and the late J-Dilla among others. Musically he is following the example of producers that pioneered the sound of 90's Hip-Hop. But with the advancements in modern technology, he is able to explore new levels of creativity.
Born in Boston, MA and raised by a family rooted in the Deep South, young Tramaine was exposed to various forms of music from Southern Gospel, Jazz, and Hip-Hop, to the soothing sounds of the soulful 70's. However it was when he attended Roxbury Community College that his journey began. At this time he fully committed himself to becoming a music producer, handling duties as a student-athlete while completing his work study requirements at the school's Media Arts Center, gaining valuable experience in the process. He continued his quest to acquire skills and pay his dues by spending the summers working with the City of Boston Department of Special Events. Here he was tasked with building stages and setting up live sound systems for a series of outdoor concerts sponsored by the city.
Upon graduation, he enrolled at St. Andrew's Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC, studying Business Administration and Electroacoustic Music under the tutelage of world renowned composer, Hideko Kawamoto. This period of his education had a profound effect on his creative vision, and provided the skills necessary to take his talents to the next level. In his own words, "The time I spent at 'The Drew' was a life changing experience. This was the first time I had full access to a recording studio. It allowed me the time I needed to learn and practice my technical skills. I had a great instructor, and a golden opportunity to work on my craft. I would do recording sessions with my classmates, whoever could sing, rap, or write poetry. There was so much excitement, that I'd literally climb through a window to get in the lab after hours", he said with a smile.
After moving back to Boston, with a newfound confidence and some invaluable experience under his belt, he obtained a position as an intern at Bristol Recording Studios. Here he was able to apply what he had learned in a real world setting, all while working under the guidance of music producer and industry veteran, Ric Poulin. Through his affiliation with Bristol, he received his first opportunity to produce for an independent label called Never Enough Entertainment. Connections with local artists in the Boston area then led to his work at The Beantown Hit Phactory, further expanding his skill set. But upon moving to Austin, TX, "The Live Music Capitol of the World", a new level of inspiration and experimentation was aroused.
SK's production style is a rich concoction of melodic samples, spine tingling synths, neck snapping drums, and trunk rattling bass lines. All designed to keep your head nodding beyond the end. A renaissance man of sorts, he draws inspiration from the arts, from vintage to modern age. From old dusty vinyl records to the latest technological advances in audio synthesis, his approach to music is very much a product of life itself.
Currently he is at work on a series of projects, including his own production company called GMGOmusic, a fully customized website, an upcoming EP, as well as his own full length compilation album that will feature several recording artists from across the states. This album will be the first official release for GMGOmusic, and will put his innovative production style on display.
SK is a very capable, savvy, and open minded individual, who takes an eclectic and experimental approach to music production. With his innate talent and the technical skills he has acquired over the years, SK has begun to position himself for a big bright future in the music business. So be on the lookout for SK The Greatest and GMGOmusic!
IAA: What city and state are you from?
SK THE GREATEST: I’m originally from Boston, MA, born and raised. Currently I reside in Austin, TX, “The Live Music Capitol of the World.”
IAA: What is your music background?
SK THE GREATEST: Music and art were a part of my grade school curriculum. Because of these classes, I got to learn different brass instruments, along with piano and drums. In addition to that I was raised in a church going family that often encouraged me to play at Sunday morning service. My Grandmother is a prominent Gospel singer. Both of my parents are avid music listeners, and my uncle was a Hip-Hop DJ. So I was around music pretty much all the time.
IAA: What inspired you to pursue music?
SK THE GREATEST: It’s my calling. We’re all blessed with certain talents and abilities. Mine’s just happens to be music. Although I accept that now, I was very reluctant in my younger years. But once I started to understand that this is my gift, I was able to humble myself and things just started to fall into place.
IAA: What are your songs about?
SK THE GREATEST: My songs are about life and experience, everything we go through as people. The message is just a culmination of human existence. But it really depends on the artist I’m working with. As a producer, it’s my job to help the artist take that message to their audience in a way that is engaging on a spiritual level. It’s all an elaborate effort to communicate a feeling or create a certain vibe.
IAA: Do you write your own music?
SK THE GREATEST: Yes. Being a producer it’s very important to have an understanding of song structure, and the overall flow of the music. It’s not necessarily a linear thing. Good music comes from inspiration, and inspiration can come from many different places. It’s like a sonic depiction of a feeling or an emotion. This is why sound is so important to film and television. Because it enhances the overall viewing experience. Music has the power to connect with a person’s spirit.
IAA: Who are your musical influences?
SK THE GREATEST: There are so many artists and producers who have influenced my sound in some way, shape or form. To start I’d have to say Quincy Jones, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Marley Marl, The Bomb Squad, Gang Starr, The Roots, Wu-Tang, Mary J. Blige, Organized Noize, Hi-Tek, Madlib, Mannie Fresh, the list goes on and on.
IAA: How would you describe your music to people?
SK THE GREATEST: I would say that my music sounds like Dr. Dre and DJ Premier’s quirky little nephew, who grew up in Atlanta listening to A Tribe Called Quest and idolizing J-Dilla.
IAA: What makes you stand out from other artists?
SK THE GREATEST: I’m a cross genre Hip-Hop producer. Musically, I’m very explorative and experimental. Every time I sit down to make music, I’m trying to approach it from a different angle. Also, I take it as a personal challenge to do something different. I think this approach has a way of keeping things fresh and inspiring.
IAA: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
SK THE GREATEST: I’m currently building on my own production company called GMGOmusic, as well as a full length compilation album that will be self produced. We have a fully customized website on the way, along with a few side projects with other artists and producers.
IAA: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SK THE GREATEST: In 10 years, I’ll still be a producer. Only then I will have established myself in the music business, and be in the position to provide opportunities for upcoming artists to reach their potential. I see myself being a mentor, talent scout, and entrepreneur. My career goal is to create music that is timeless, and build a legacy that can be passed down to the next generation.
IAA: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
SK THE GREATEST: You can check out my music on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook and Reverbnation. Coming up soon you can check out my work at GMGOmusic.com. Also you can always reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com.