Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed songwriter and music producer Oh Yeah about his musical style, what inspires him, and the work that goes into his music production.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I am a humanitarian in many of my works. I believe in uplifting others and building communities alongside amazing relationships with others. I have experienced heartbreak, upsets, losses (small and great), and also victories and surprises that make me grateful and appreciative in life.
I have high ambitions to have music that I have learned and taught myself to create heard by the entire world. I want to have the music influence others to feel good and transfer that energy and emotion into more positivity and success. I also have a business mindset to give products and services to the communities I associate with to a limited extent.
Music makes up a majority of my life as I always have music in my head. Even at my first job, I would find myself writing in a composition notepad new lyrics to a melody that I had constructed in my head during lunch breaks. I hear music in casual conversation and apply a particular theme to the set tone deflections.
Music is who I am. I am a singer, songwriter, and music producer wrapped up in one person. Going back to the feeling I want all listeners to have, I go by the pseudonym “Oh Yeah”.
When did you first WANT to write songs?
The very first time that I wanted to write songs was after learning to play the piano around age 7 or 8. I was no way close to being successful as a songwriter, but I discovered my ambition to one day become one. There were of course so many songs I resonated with on the radio in the late 80s and early 90s, no matter the genre. I just knew that I could work my way to one day being on stage with other great public figures as a songwriter.
Another time that is more relatable is in the high school era, when many of us as teenagers were very impressionable through music. So many Hip-Hop and R&B groups were releasing music that influenced me to really pursue writing in a lot of composition notepads lyrics that were all in my head. I really knew I wanted to write songs then.
When did you take a step to start writing songs?
So back with the high school memories, I can say the heartbreaks were definitely in my path and this pushed me to vent through the pen. The steps began to unfold when I heard certain melodies from other songs on the radio late at night. I would fall asleep to “Quiet Storm” , the radio show. Here is when I heard random popular songs (big and local). There were some great ones but I am certain that the first melody from a local artist song inspired me to begin writing. This is when I woke myself up to complete my first song (unreleased), to take the first step in really songwriting.
What was your first song released, and what was it about?
My career has a very humble beginning. As I started solely trying to be an artist and performer. I started with General Hip-Hop and Contemporary Gospel. I began writing songs to productions from producers when I didn’t even understand how to create my own.
The very first song released was a Gospel Rap song entitled “Save Me”. The song was release about being in search for redemption and revival. It also touched on how my soul was hurt from the pain that goes ignored by others. Ironically, I now write about addressing that pain and helping others out. The song also earned a placement on House Hunters international.
What was your latest song released, and what was it about?
My latest released song was a song called “Icon”. This is a personalized theme song written for my friend, Evette Vargas, an exceptional Film & Television producer and director. The song was created to highlight and promote her as a human and amazing representative of numerous communities as she promotes diversity and inclusion for under-represented communities in the entertainment industry. Her being a proud Latina has allowed her to use her perspective of underrepresented communities to highlight and correct the flawed system. She also has created a non-profit organization called “New Hollywood” and an empowering group of “Writer’s 50/50” that helps writers with the writer’s block and hurtles that we all as creators face.
I believed that she truly deserved a song to spotlight her and her works so I created a song just for her. I asked a mutual friend about how it should sound and he helped me to figure out just exactly what she may want to hear. The end result was a song that she adored. I only wanted the music to be about her and not myself.
Focusing on your latest song. What were your biggest challenges with Icon?
The biggest challenges that I had with it was starting from the beginning. I needed help as I am still getting to know more about Evette on a personal level. This is why I felt the need to speak with our mutual friend to get more insight on how the music could reach and serve Evette Vargas in the most humble manner.
Once I was started out of the block, I was able to get the ball rolling. The music and lyrics formulate in my head and the organization begins for success of the song. I believe that I faced the challenges in a manner of resilience and found triumph. I did not realize that Evette would be so touched by the song.
How many songs are you working on right now?
Currently, I have several songs that include theme songs and music productions for other content creators across several platforms. The theme songs will eventually be released on an album but as of now, many are released as singles. The are released under the name “Oh Yeah”.
I also have an opportunity to work with Knucklehead from “Luniz” and Chris Fehn from “Slipknot” to create a single release of “I got 5 on it” in a rock version. We are waiting for some executive moves but the project will be big and I am excited. I am always looking for “targets” of new theme music to also surprise people and their brands with.
Do you keep to a theme with your music, or just go where the mood strikes?
My music has to conform to the audience and specified subject matter so the “mood strikes” definitely fits the description. The songs do have similar foundations but I have to do my research of not only the genre of music but also the lyrical composition and delivery. It is fun to go through the entire process. The mood changes for every song but the intent and my heart is in every one.
What is your favourite song you’ve recorded, and what do you love about it?
I have to say that my favorite song of a few people as well is a song called “100k”. It was a fun theme song I wrote for my friend and brother Bobby Del Rio. My brother is an even bigger humanitarian than myself who constantly serves the public with his personal brand. He is always uplifting people and one day he hit a social media milestone of 10k followers. When I saw this, I messaged him and told him he was going past to 100 k.
I definitely see his growth astronomically because he is always pouring into others. He loves people so much that I know in my heart we the people love him the same. I wanted to build him up because icons such as himself need a lot of that support. I wanted to give him a personal reminder so I knew that I would write him a song called “100k”. I asked him directly if someone was going to make him a personal song, what genre would it be.
He told me that the song would be a Hip-Hop song that he could breakdance to. I ran with that and got to writing lyrics first, which is out of my “normal”. I loved making sure in most of the lines I could emphasize exactly what he does, stands for, and how he uses his brand to change the world. I think I could have done better but we are our own worst critics. The song is energetic and fun. I think what I love most about it is how the song brought out the youth in me. “100k”
Do you find other people’s music inspires you? Who do you listen to most?
I do find some inspiration in others’ songs. What takes place is the element of surprise in people’s songs that move me. I have the ability to hear emotion and intention in lyrics, which are what grab me the most in music. I want to be reminded to do the same in my songs and this is why I listen to many other artists.
The list is long but I will say a few artists I have on repeat are Royce Da 5’9’, Kxng Crooked, Day Wave, Dizzy Rascal, Gawvi, Pharrell Williams, and many more. Some artists perform political messages and others release fun and motivating songs. I love most of their works and use their songs as examples to incorporate similar construction.
Do you write your own music, or do you have musicians you work with?
I only write and produce my own music. I have also worked with a few musicians in the past that have helped me to write on the greatest productions. I feel that the best way to create music is on your own path.
Do you play any instruments?
I play the piano/ keyboard and many instruments in the music digital audio workstation I use to produce music. I will soon learn to play the guitar also.
Do you like performing live, or does it scare you? Where can people watch you?
I love the experience in performing. It is fun and memorable. I don’t experience stage fright. What I do experience is excitement and the rush of delivering and moving an audience. I currently have been playing bigger roles in the background. I will be back in front of the lens soon once I am ready to deliver my own songs back to the public and also in video form. I have an old song that I did perform at a church which became a music video on YouTube. The link is here: https://youtu.be/MY12C-bcYKI
Is your music available online, and where can people listen to it?
My music is available online under the names “Oh Yeah” https://open.spotify.com/artist/5blBkfiRCJSOr8ENt2IuRI and “Oh Yeah Beats” https://open.spotify.com/artist/36imDLsUZ3Q9U7WUWCvTAM. Spotify is a great platform to discover my music as well as on my website “ohyeahbeats.com”
Are you able to make music full time, or do you have day job?
I am currently in a position where music is taking over most of the time. I have a day job but both occupations require a lot. I am working with a few executives and celebrities that requires more time and I have to sacrifice some days, hours, and nights. It is still on my planner how and when I am going to transition.
Are your friends and family supportive of your music career?
I do have a great circle of support that is needed for my success and it is also what I feel can support them. My wife and immediate family is very understanding and I am so appreciative of that with me chasing my passion and craft.
What’s something you never expected about being a songwriter? What have you learned that surprised you?
I never expected as a songwriter that I would ever get paid to write for others. For every project, I am contributing song lyrics or music compositions for them to manifest success.
I have learned that I am more talented than I first realized. I am constantly learning but the growth is rapid in the success and others would become successful and motivated with how I paint the pictures.
It surprised me that so many fans would personally connect with my music and tell me how much my music means to them.
Have you had any experiences that really stand out because of your songs?
Thanks to the help of my theme songs, I have been able to establish true friendships and bonds with business executives and other celebrities that I am forever grateful for. Every song project I have been a part of has become memorable and impactful in more lives than just one. Writing the song for Bobby Del Rio is what allowed me to meet with Knucklehead from Luniz and Chris Fehn from Slipknot. This stands out the most because it was the most unexpected to result from making a song for someone else and not of myself. I continue the practice because I believe in the impact that the songs are leaving everyone. It is also setting an example of how business should be conducted.
Do you have any important events coming up we should know about?
There are not any set dates for events just yet but I will be sure to publish them on my website and across all socials.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to write songs?
The first piece of advice I can give for others to write songs is to study. I mean do your research. This is how we pass all of the tests in life.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
So far I am very proud of my accomplishments and I believe I will have more under my belt soon. My plan is to help bring up others and so far I feel that the effort put forth has been very much worth it all. There have been a lot of tough sacrifices but the rewards have been high in value. I see them all aligning for more great things for more also.
Pop all your music, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
The song 100k
Other theme songs
Album “Thoughts Provoked in a Wonder”
Album “Play That Back”
Song features on content creators pages
“Spectechular Gadgets” I create all music on this channel
“Gadget Chats” Outro music and superheat dance music
“Barry Johnson” or Engineer Reacts background music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNnFSi6K9V0 music is heard more clearly
“Mc Loss & Life” Background music
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