Creation and collaboration isn’t just a skill set for accomplished platinum-selling songwriter, producer, artist and Oklahoma native Benj Heard, it’s a way of life. Having musically represented brands like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Nikon, Samsung, Virgin America, and the NFL, Heard is a creative veteran. “What makes me excited about doing something new? Just the idea that I can. I don’t have to rely on someone else to make something, I can do it myself, right now, today,” exclaims Heard. “Those are my favorite kinds of projects. The one’s that start with ‘I wonder if I could do that myself?’” A former mechanical engineer for the United States Air Force, Benj Heard approaches the music industry with an unusual but fresh perspective.
With performance credits including Leona Lewis, Eamon, and Sebastien Izambard of Il Divo, Benj has quickly become a rising star in the Los Angeles music scene. As a producer, Benj often works in the development of new artists for major labels including Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Capitol Records, Republic Records, Atlantic Records, Sony Mexico, and RCA Records. “I love being able to take on whatever I’m interested in, and that happens to be a lot of different things,” says Heard. “I have a difficult time focusing on more than one thing at a time, so I find that I get the most done if I can break up the projects so that I’m giving my full attention to each one in turn. The project management term for this is a Scrum (taken from Rugby),” explains Heard. “The idea is that you place all of your energy on the project at hand, which has a certain goal or cut off date. Once you reach that goal, you can reassess and decide where to go from there. For me, that may be an album release, at which point I may switch and work on an engineering project for a month, and then move on to rehearsals and tour planning to support the album.”
Unlike many Hollywood-based producer/musicians, Heard spent time cultivating his art as a business, creating many outlets for profitable music distribution. In 2014, he launched an indie venue/showcase spot with his music partner and band cohort Katrina Stone. They have successfully turned Maeweather Music into not only a hot spot for up-and-coming artists to play, showcase, and film videos, but a publishing company that they use to distribute their own massive catalogue of works.
Diversification is key for this ambitious and multi-talented music maker. “I think humans are generally curious creatures, but we don’t let ourselves follow those questions to see where it leads because there is always something more important going on,” says Heard. “I cultivate my curiosity by occasionally lacking discipline. I allow myself to go down the rabbit hole on a subject even when it’s not convenient, or I should *technically* be working on something else. Sometimes it leads to headaches, but most of the time it leads to incredible things being created.”