GO-GETTER: James Worthy Talks Technicalities of Music

jamesworthyMusic producer, James Worthy, is on the rise and on a mission to create timeless music. The 28-year-old New York-native isn’t a household name but he’s gradually establishing himself as the next  Quincy Jones or Q-tip. James Worthy has only been in the game 6 years and has worked with artists like Kanye West, Yung Berg, Bobby Brown Jr., Sarah Stokes (from “Making The Band”) and Truth Hurts.

At a young age, James Worthy was heavily influenced by songs like Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and “Lady In My Life.” He understood, even at that time, that in order to create music that transcends time he would have to set his own path. So, James Worthy has set out to produce good music. What’s more important is his process at going about making great, soulful music. This is that “thing” that helps artists and producers be their most creative. How does his get into this head space? What tools has helped him become a talented producer?

James Worthy was one of STACKS Magazine’s featured panelist during an event back in July. He educated the audience on some of the do’s and don’ts of music production and engineering. However, we wanted to learn more about his start and the process he uses to create classic music.

Check out our interview below:

How did you get into music and production?

I don’t come from a musical family or background. It was more just a love for music and being from New York it was pretty natural. There’s everything in New York. I couldn’t get away from that. But, my thing was the studying. The actual making of music versus just listening to songs. I was interested in the actual instrumentation of how songs are crafted or being made. I’m the one who was reading credits, finding out who played what on each record. That really fascinated me.

I just kind of stuck with that. I looked up to guys like Quincy Jones and Q-Tip. Guys who innovated the hip-hop culture. So, I just stuck with that and crafted my own stuff and I made a career.

What were some of the tools or programs you used when you first got into production?

Well, software based I started off with Reason, which I’m still using ’til this day. I use Logic as well. If I want to go more hardware based, I use Ableton, Maschine, of course, the MPCs, Roland, Phantom’s. Pretty much standard equipment stuff. But you can’t go wrong with Reason. I love Reason.

How long does it take you to create the foundation for a track?

I guess it depends on what I’m trying to accomplish or what I’m trying to do. Sometimes I may start out with drums or a simple melody, a core progression and I’ll build on top of that. It just depends on how I’m feeling at the moment. Time frame wise, it really varies. It may take me a hour. It may take me a day or a couple days and I’ll be able to come back to it and add certain things, like different mixing techniques. It just depends on how I’m feeling. But, when it come to music, you got to take your time.

Do you record with the artist or wait until you get the basic track laid down first?

Same thing…it just depends on the process, who I’m working with. I’m a really big fan of being in the studio with the talent. With all my clients we are pretty much working on the record. A lot of times we’re working on it from scratch, we have an idea already in mind and we build on top of it. When they may have an idea, we’ll build on top of that. So it depends.

What genre of music do you prefer to produce?

I really don’t have one. I love music in general. So, I produce all genres of music from R&B to Pop to EDM to Rock to Jazz, you know, anything that really pulls that emotion. Music is built off of emotion. You can feel different things when you listen to different types of music. That’s my whole thing. I do what I feel and make good music at the end of the day.

You mentioned Quincy Jones as being an inspiration. What was it about his music that made you want to become a producer?

It’s all about soul. In his era and the type of music he created, it was soulful. There was authenticity in the music. It was really about the lyrical content and the actual song, which meant a lot. I think that’s being lost in today’s music. I don’t get a lot of soulful lyrics coming. I think we’re starting to get back to it, but we need more of that.

Quincy Jones is a legend in his own right. He’s the one who discovered Michael Jackson as a solo artist. I followed him for many years. He’s just a trendsetter and I love that.

Do you think there’s a formula to creating timeless music?

I don’t think so. In my opinion, it’s more of just doing what you feel. Doing what feels good or what’s right. Being original and you’re not following anyone else’s blueprint. You’re doing what you need to do for the culture. That’s what it’s about. Be innovative and make someone else want to follow their dreams and be great.


James Worthy will be featured on “From The Bottom Up,” a reality show executive produced by Nicci Gilbert and Queen Latifah. Also, he has two singles currently on iTunes by Truth Hurts “Fight 4 Love” and Sara Stokes “Sneak Peek” featuring Babs.  To stay updated on future projects, you can follow James Worthy on social media @KingJamesWorthy !