Tuesday, January 1, 2013
A Conversation with Music Producer Eric Copeland
MACKIE: How Long have you been involved in the entertainment business?
EC: Well, I used to go to dances my father played when I was a kid and watch his band. Also, I was in church choirs and marching bands that traveled extensively as a teen. But I have been doing gigs professionally (both live and studio) since I was 18. In my early 20s I lived in Chicago and worked in several bands and with vocalists, but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that I began to work seriously as a producer for artists. Since then it has been a steady build of our music production and artist development business now known as Creative Soul.
MACKIE: When did you know that you wanted to be in this business and what was your motivation?
EC: I was always creative, and just naturally made stuff, whether it was songs, stories, comics, drawings, or what have you. I don’t think I ever really knew what a “music producer” was until the 90s though when I met another producer who worked in the Christian music business, and I began to see that someone could do this for a living. Since I started seriously writing songs at 13, my goal was to become a working songwriter. I now realize that dream, inside of my production business for clients.
MACKIE: Who has helped you along the way and inspired you the most?
EC: The aforementioned producer helped and mentored me very much. I've had many great mentors here in Nashville too. I truly believe in the mentor/apprentice mode and mentor several young producers now myself. My parents were both musicians, and completely understood my passions and goals, so they were a great help. My wife of 23 years though has probably been my most faithful supporter though, as well as challenging me to keep things real and pay attention to my home life and family, and not just “the music business”.
MACKIE: What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
EC: Highlights continue daily. Since I work with independent artists, every project and ministry we assist is a highlight. We've seen countless lives touched and saved from the work we do for artists. To be honest, the ability to be here in this point in my life, making a good living in this work after 20 years while others are trying to find work is probably the greatest blessing. I also have been blessed to pursue personal projects recently that have done quite well.
MACKIE: Have you received any special awards or achievements?
EC: We have received a few awards here and there, including a national Telly, and many of our artists have received awards from various contests. But our greatest achievements are what we create every day. We consider each album that we finish, each ministry we help establish, and each creative artist we help grow our finest achievements.
MACKIE: Do you have any special events, shows/gigs coming up?
EC: We are working on a very special project called “We Are Creative Soul” that features 15 of our artists and is a celebration of what we do here in Nashville. We are co-producing it with legendary producer Phil Naish (Steve Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace), and it is a very big project with a bunch of new music. It will be a audio, video, and graphic project and should be completed in the next few months. We’re really looking forward to it.
MACKIE: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?
EC: I would imagine I will be close to where I am now, still serving artists and growing ministries. However, I also know that moving into higher realms of creating is my personal goal. New personal projects, books, and developing ideas has always been my passion. Creative Soul is running more smoothly, and I could see one day handing the reins to someone to continue this work and putting my entire focus on new creative projects. But I love teaching, coaching, and leading, so that will likely be part of the next life also.
MACKIE: What would you like your legacy to be?
EC: I think we have already been instrumental in leading the new industry of independent Christian artists, helping establish a new music business order. No longer is the only way to be a working, worldwide ministry to get “signed” to a label deal. Artists can follow God’s lead and get started, and make a very high end project and promote it to the world, and that is what we help people do.
MACKIE: Do you have other interests?
EC: I also write fiction, and am an avid sports fan, especially basketball. I play, watch, write about, think about and crave basketball. Love the NBA, but get it honestly since I was born and raised in the hotbed of college basketball, Lexington, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Wildcats. I also love to read, play PS3, and watch entirely too much TV.
MACKIE: Any special words of encouragement or advice for our readers?
EC: No matter what your dream is, no matter what the longings of your creative soul, work tirelessly to achieve them. Spend time working on your creative talents, no matter what anyone says or does to discourage you. God gave us these gifts to use for His glory, and we have a responsibility to use them in that way.
If you can’t do it yourself, find someone to mentor you, to talk to, and to guide you. Talk with your pastor, your creative friends, or come talk to us. But go after it. You probably already feel the Holy Spirit telling you, leading you, and prodding you to do this. It’s not about fame or fortune, but doing God’s work through the talents He has given you.
For more on Eric Copeland, see his personal website at EricCopelandMusic.com or his Christian music production and artist development site CreativeSoulOnline.com
MACKIE, Christian Entertainment News Magazine is a division of Taylor Bear Productions, a DOLERN Media company.