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Why Canada’s Music Producer, ‘Billboard’ Prefers ‘Craft’ Over Personal Branding In COVID-19 Era of Music Production

Meet Mathieu Jomphe, a songwriter who hails from Montreal, Canada and continues to kill the game as he adds more music credits to his ever-growing portfolio.

Jomphe has over 78 A-list music credits, continuing to produce music for today’s newest artists, having already succeeded with artists including The Game, Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Shakira, Dillon Frances, and Chris Brown.

But when it comes to personal branding, Jomphe, who produces behind his personal brand, “Billboard”, encourages artists to find their own niche.

“When I was sixteen, I made a track for a rapper in my hometown, and I didn’t have a producer name,” he shared with us. “So then [this rapper] then suggested a few names, and Billboard was one of them. I actually liked the way it sounded and I wasn’t really aware of Billboard Magazine at the time. Knowing what I do now, I probably would not have picked that name.”

Yet, Jomphe still emphasizes the importance of having a personal brand, in his case, focusing on his sound and sonic. “I don’t know if I have a personal brand under traditional definitions, but if I do, it’s not intentional. I’m just being myself, focusing on the way my music sounds, the sonic, and more on the creative side.”

For years, the digitization of music in harmony (and conflict) with social media, has created a new atmosphere for artist branding. But then December 2019 comes and brings the world the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fortunately for Billboard, the global coronavirus pandemic hasn’t damaged the producer’s sound. “It didn’t really affect me, fortunately, since I’ve been building relationships with people over the years, so I’m lucky enough to still be working with Zoom sessions, sending tracks to people or finishing songs on my own. Since COVID-19 happened, I have finished 3 songs that will come out in the next few months, so I’m happy to have work coming in still. I think the issue is that if COVID-19 lasted a few years, I think the industry would then really start to change, but for now everyone has adapted.” 

And the Canadian producer believes that people will naturally adapt to such changes.

“People will always adapt to new challenges and find a way to express themselves. Streaming shows might not compare to live shows, but it’s the best solution we’ve found so far. I’m sure more ideas will come, and when we do come across roadblocks, we find new, creative ways to overcome them.”

Craft Over Brand

“I feel like it’s a new game, a little bit with social media these days; you need to be active and show what you’re up to. I think branding is especially important here, but I’m pretty sure talent still surpasses having an online presence. Being great is always going to make noise and people will eventually hear it. On top of that, if you’re active online and showing your skills, it’s going to reach people. In my opinion, I would focus much more on your craft, rather than on your branding. I feel like branding can be some kind of ‘cover’ at times. It’s like if you put lipstick on a pig…it’s still going to be a pig underneath it all.”

We were curious about Billboard’s favorite tech that he likes to incorporate into his craft and sound. He shared that he’s been using Ableton Live since 2011, which has been his main instrument.

“I really see it as an instrument more than a DAW. It’s so creative and fun to play with. I’ve become quite a geek with it and I’ve explored the in’s and out of that software.”

Other brands Billboard supports are Soundtoys and Goodhertz, which according to him, “really understand the sense of Analog with the ease of digital. The best of both, in my opinion. If I would pick my 5-desert island companies, it would be Soundtoys, Goodhertz, Audiothing, Spectrasonic, and Arturia.

What’s Next?

Currently, Billboard is producing a lot of music for an artist project he named “Mont Duamel”, but is also staying proactive when it comes to Zoom sessions.

“Right now, I’m trying to stay as productive as I can be and get the best out of the situation, we’re all in right now. At least the Zoom sessions have been successful, and I’ve been happy with the personal results. Who knows how long it will be until I can do trips again out to Los Angeles, but for now I think my team and I have found a good way of working in the meantime.”