Bibi Zhou – A New Song Placement Success
How do you get a song placement with a successful Asian artist like Bibi Zhou? We caught up with member Anthony Crawford to tell us how he went about it, how he got involved and some tips for you to follow in his footsteps.
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into music?
I am originally from Memphis Tn. I was raised by my father who is a musician also. He was the drummer for James Brown, Cyndi Lauper, the Bar-Kays and many other artists. I started playing the drums by the age of 2 years old. By the age of 12, I gravitated towards the bass guitar. I learned to play the bass by listening to other bass players and by age 14, I started doing professional studio sessions. I’ve always had a love for writing and producing music. When I turned 19 years old, I released my first solo album. Since then I started touring and working with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Erykah Badu, Mary J Blige, Jennifer Holiday, Howard Hewett and I have worked on music for major TV productions with BET, MTV and VH1.
How did you get the opportunity to work with Bibi Zhou on her latest release?
I got the opportunity to work with Bibi Zhou through Music Gateway. I found out about Music Gateway from a friend. He is a TV and film composer. He told me about Music Gateway and I gave their services a try. Music Gateway sent out an email with a request for music to pitch to Bibi Zhou. I sent them a song that I thought would be a good fit. Music Gateway sent the song to Bibi’s label and that’s how I got the opportunity to work with Bibi.
This was a special placement as you were involved in all the edits instead of them bringing in their own producer. How did that work?
Yes, I was heavily involved in the edits. Bibi Zhou’s label told me that the song was a perfect song for her. However, they wanted to drop the song down a few semitones and slow it down a little. After I dropped the song down in pitch and slowed it down, I then began to work on the structure to fit what Bibi was hearing in her head. Bibi wanted certain sections to be longer and other sections shorter. That was an easy fix for me. What I did was extend certain points and made nice transitions to make the extended sections feel musical and natural.
After I fixed the structure of the song I began to work on the drums. Bibi wanted the drums to sound and feel a certain way. The label sent me reference songs so I could hear what they were going for. I heard the direction that they were shooting for and I reprogrammed my drums to feel a bit more like the reference songs that they sent me. Therefore, I made sure that the drums still had the same impact and energy as before but with the new flavor of the reference songs. I added in drum fills and drum breaks for smoother transitions. After those edits, everyone was happy.
How did it work logistically? With Bibi Zhou across the world in China!
I worked from my personal studio in Los Angeles to do the edits. We all had very good communication through email. Bibi was really good at communicating with her label of everything she wanted in the song and her label was really good at communicating with me. I did not have to travel for this.
What was it like to be so involved?
It felt really good to be involved to this degree with Bibi Zhou. I felt like I was really bringing the song to life along with Bibi even though I was in Los Angles and she was in China. I’m really proud of the final outcome of the song. Everything in the final mix is spot on as to what I was hoping it would be.
You also had to bring in a choir at one point. How did that go and how did you coordinate that?
The choir request was a little more challenging. When Bibi Zhou requested a choir, I was not sure how to get it done at first. So I teamed up with transcriber and we wrote out the choir parts to present to Bibi. I’m not a singer so we used choir sample sounds to convey the ideas to Bibi. We both went back and forth for a few weeks with edits to the choir parts until she was happy. When she gave the final ok, I then came up with a transcription of all the choir parts and sent the transcript to the label. Bibi was happy and the label was happy.
Have you had any other placements apart from this one with Bibi Zhou?
Other placements I have had was with Mary J Blige. It was a VH1 special called Behind The Music. Another placement I have had was with a band called Chon. I started working on Chon’s albums a couple of years ago and since then, we have hit the Billboard Charts. I have done a lot of stuff for TV as well. A few credits include a Honda commercial, a TV show on BET called Mama I Want To Sing which features pop singer Ciara. I’m working to get more production placements in the near future.
How long have you been a member of Music Gateway and what do you think of the platform?
I have been a member of Music Gateway for about a year now. I love the platform. It gives me plenty of opportunities to get my music in front of the right people. I have always had plenty of good songs just sitting on my hard drive, but Music Gateway gives me an extra outlet to get my music placed, which is what I want.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
1. Stay reliable
2. Stay persistent
3. Don’t make excuses. Get the job done!
What are your plans for the near future?
My plans for the near future is to produce more music for TV and artists. Right now I’m working at Harmony Studios in Hollywood CA. Harmony Studios has seen some of the biggest records recorded there. Adele recorded her hit song “Someone Like You” at Harmony Studios. Other artists such as Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus and Sara Bareilles has recorded at Harmony Studios.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The thing I would like to add is to say thank you to Music Gateway for the amazing opportunity to work with Bibi Zhou. I hope me getting this placement leads to me getting more placements with Music Gateway in the near future. Thank You.
So there you go, that’s how you get a song placement with successful Asian artists like Bibi Zhou! If you’d like to follow in Anthony’s footsteps and get a song placement with a successful artist in Asia or elsewhere, make sure to join our community! Get started now and pick up a free 14-day trial.