Nashville Demo King
& Synth Pop Ph.D
I'm always in search of that elusive "cool" — sounds, textures, song structures, melodies that fall somewhere between comfortably familiar and something fresh and outside the box. Cool means something different to everyone, but to me (a self-proclaimed '80s nerd) the sweet spot is when you can make a listener feel like they might identify a sound or a groove from an old record, but can never nail down exactly where it's from. As a producer, I unabashedly tend towards the "polished" sonic veneer, but am always up for the challenge of creating something with a more alternative aesthetic.
(Don't let the blue leather jacket or the synth rack fool you. I can crank out twangy and infectious pop-country tracks seven days a week if necessary.)
I’ve been performing, writing, and recording music for more than 20 years, and touring and producing has been my sole profession for well over a decade. Whether it’s in the producer's chair, the writers room, behind whatever instruments are lying around, or at the mic, I'm always looking to connect and create with those equally passionate about their work.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, where my dad was the drummer in an acclaimed MCA Records rock band in the ‘70s-‘80s. I grew up reading about them in old issues of Rolling Stone and banging on his drum kit in the basement before my parents finally bought a used guitar for me one Christmas. I started playing Jonny Lang covers in bars with my dad when I was only 12 years old and well, that "rest is history" cliché.
Having been based in Nashville for the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to tour and perform across North America, play in all 50 states more than once and on national TV with a variety of notable artists, particularly multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated artists in the country world (Gary Allan, Thompson Square, Randy Houser, among others) along with winners and accomplished singers from 'The Voice' and 'American Idol,' plus dozens of inspiring and gifted local artists/writers of all stripes, signed and unsigned alike. Nashville also helped me to recapture my pop music ambitions as a producer, writer and front-man of The Love Elektrik.
My street education was via icons like Prince, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears, Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, INXS, Max Martin, Mutt Lange... you get the idea.
As for the classroom, at 21 I earned a Bachelor of Music from Duquesne University, where I majored in jazz guitar, music technology, and sound recording. College also helped refine my skills at other instruments like keys, drums, and bass, as well as schooling me in the studio.
On the Job
I then became a house engineer and one-man band at a studio nestled just outside of Pittsburgh — under the tutelage of Emmy-winning producer and local legend Rick Witkowski — where I was given the chance to contribute to hundreds of recordings as a player/arranger/producer, including compositions for Nickelodeon and Spike TV and a couple records that featured Bruce Springsteen. I even had my own guitar tracks mapped and implemented in popular video game of the era, Guitar Hero 5.
During those years I regularly released my own music and toured as a solo artist, selling over 5000 CDs [yes, physical compact discs, ancient artifacts as they may be] essentially out of the trunk of my car, all without a manager, label, or agent, and long before DIY was the mainstream thing to do.
Music gets me up in the morning. Music keeps me up at night. To me there's nothing better. So if that sounds like you too, let's connect and maybe make some cool noise.
Want to hire me to produce, play, or consult?
I work most frequently & have the most to offer in:
electro & synth pop
What I do:
* Full-production tracks, demos, clean work tapes
* Create instrumental tracks for existing top lines
* Add to or mix songs already produced elsewhere
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Copyright © 2020 Anthony Rankin - All Rights Reserved.