CHAZ MISHAN is an RIAA certified multi-platinum American record producer and songwriter, based in Los Angeles. Originally from Miami, FL Chaz began as a classically trained guitar player and quickly realized his passion for production. Over the course of his career, he has produced for Jason Derulo, Anitta, Rita Ora, James Arthur, Jhay Cortez, Sofia Reyes, Gente De Zona, Lil Wayne, The Backstreet Boys, Big Bang, and many more. Chaz has earned several Billboard #1’s in Pop, K-Pop, and Latin, as well as multiple BMI Awards. Chaz’s sound crosses genres and blends cultures.
His work has also been featured in global Film/TV ads and movies, including the Golden Globe-winning film Missing Link, Hulu, Nickelodeon, The Super Bowl, Netflix, WWE, Viacom, Peloton among others.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC?
When I was around ten years old, one of my best friends was a classical piano player. My other best friend took up the electric guitar. The three of us used to get together and play video games, basketball and hang out all the time. But once my buddy started playing guitar, my friends would jam together for hours, and I would be stuck sitting and watching on the sideline. So I thought I had two options here, find new friends, or learn how to play an instrument. My friend showed me how to play “When I Come Around” by Green Day on the guitar, and I was instantly hooked.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND STYLE AS AN ARTIST?
My style has been dramatically influenced by the path and opportunities surrounding me. Starting as a musician helped ground me in music theory, chords and melody. But growing up in Miami at the time, there wasn’t a pop scene to utilize that skill; there was a lot of rap music. So when an engineer friend of mine asked me if I had any tracks for Birdman and Lil Wayne, I said no, but I will. I grew up on rap music but never produced it. So I went back and studied all the greats, and DRUMS is what I noticed the most. Hard-hitting kicks and snares combined with bass. I quickly integrated that, emailed over the tracks a week later, I landed three placements on that album, and it was my first official placement. I always try to combine big, loud drums with musical elements.
WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC?
I’ve been making music for so long that’s it’s become part of life in the same way we eat food every day. I don’t even think about it, or how I have to work, I get up and start making music. Success is the day-to-day of creating songs that feel special to me with writers and artists I love working with. The daily victories add up. The process feels more like a success to me than the results.
THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO WERE THE MOST BENEFICIAL PEOPLE IN GETTING YOU TO WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE? WAS IT MANAGEMENT, ASSISTANTS, A&RS? HOW DID THEY HELP?
I’ve always focused on good people. That’s been the most important to me. Sometimes it’s someone I meet, and we’ll hang for years, become friends without doing any work together, and they’ll get a position somewhere and bring me in on a project. Or my friend who started working as Birdman and Lil Wayne’s engineer asked me if I had tracks. Sofia Reyes happened to live in the same building as I did at the time and realized we had a mutual friend and songwriter in common, and we decided to do a session, which led to a lot of sessions. They tend to happen naturally.
SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF?
There are so many things in this industry that you can’t control, so I do my best to focus on the ones I can. When I get great news, I try not to ride the high too long, and the same goes for any news that’s less than great. Tomorrow I get to go back to the studio and work on something new, and that always helps me put the blinders on and not sweat the small stuff. Focus on the process.
YOU'RE BASED IN LA, BUT ORIGINALLY FROM MIAMI -- IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY DIFFERENCES, OR EVEN SIMILARITIES, BETWEEN THE MUSIC SCENE OR MARKET IN THOSE TWO CITIES?
Both cities feel like home to me and are very different for various reasons. The Miami scene has grown so much from when I started down there. It was either smaller independent labels or major stars that came down to work on their album and then leave. Now it’s this musically rich and cultural epicenter, especially for Latin music and rap. Major labels are now putting roots down in Miami, and it’s a cauldron of emerging talent.
LA has long been a home for all the major labels, especially in the Pop and dance worlds. The main difference is genre focus and pace. LA has a more work style, 9-5 scheduling of sessions. Everyone is usually in and off to another studio. Miami has a more laid-back approach, and sessions go into the night; time seems to be more suggestion. It’s always been like that, and it lends itself to a more relaxed creative approach which also works.
YOU'VE PRODUCED FOR ARTISTS SUCH AS JASON DERULO, ANITTA, RITA ORA, JAMES ARTHUR, JHAY CORTEZ, SOFIA REYES, GENTE DE ZONA, LIL WAYNE, THE BACKSTREET BOYS, BIG BANG, AND MANY MORE -- A TRULY IMPRESSIVE LIST! WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED -- EITHER POSITIVE AND/OR NEGATIVE -- FROM WORKING AND PRODUCING FOR ARTISTS LIKE THESE? WHAT DOES YOUR PROCESS LOOK LIKE, GENERALLY?
I’ve repeatedly seen that the artists at the top work hard; there’s no phoning it in. They are in the positions because they put in the work. There’s a common misconception that the more successful you get, you have people do things for you. While everyone needs some help, you can only do the work, and I like that.
ADDITIONALLY, YOU'VE HAD WORK FEATURED IN GLOBAL FILM/TV ADS AND MOVIES, INCLUDING THE GOLDEN GLOBE-WINNING FILM "MISSING LINK", HULU, NICKELODEON, THE SUPER BOWL, NETFLIX, AND MORE. IS THE WRITING AND PRODUCING PROCESS DIFFERENT FOR FILM/TV PROJECTS THAN IT IS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AND/OR ALBUM PROJECT? IF YES, HOW SO?
It depends. Sometimes it’s already a song I’ve done for an artist that I already made for their album, and they want to use it after the fact, so not much changes. For other projects like Missing Link, I’m communicating with the production company. They have an idea or direction and are in the studio giving input. I knew that it was for a family-friendly audience and kids, so I’ll make the track happier, fun, and feel good.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS, BASED ON WHAT YOU'VE EXPERIENCED?
Learn some basic music theory, or how to play chords on an instrument, that helps and will save you so much time later on. Focus on the songs and great music; if you do, others will notice and work with you. I see some new producers who focus on social media, which is important but focus less on the music. If your songs are not good, it doesn’t matter how cool you look; no one cares.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS OR PLANS FOR 2022?
I’m looking forward to 2022. I’ll have projects coming out not just here in the U.S. but also in Latin America, Asia, and Europe, all coming out in Q1. Working on hip hop and rap again has been reinvigorating; that’s how I cut my teeth in the business. It’s an exciting time to utilize the many genres I’ve been a part of and find unique ways to incorporate them within one another.