Rick Rubin – Def Jam RecordsV
As one of the most widely accomplished record producers of the past 25 years, Rick Rubin is also one of music’s biggest fans, a quality often times lost in the commerce of the record industry. Whether he is working with an artist in his capacity as a producer, or overseeing a record label, Rubin is guided by the principles of common sense, be the best you can be, and keep it about the music. If an album has commercial success, that’s a bonus.
Rubin doesn’t read music, does not operate a recording console, and he may spend more time working closely with an artist in pre-production than in the studio. His approach is very specific to the individual artist and not based on a template, consequently his methods of producing a record can be considered unconventional and easily misunderstood. His goal is not to make a target album release date or to focus on insuring a certain number of radio-friendly singles. As he told one writer, “I try to get the artists I work with into the mind-set that they’re not writing music for an album…they’re writing music because they’re writers and for the love of what they do.” Possibly unorthodox, but it’s hard to find fault with someone who has produced critically-acclaimed and multi-Platinum albums in just about every musical genre – rock, country, soul, pop, hip-hop, and metal. His credits include Kayne West, Adele, Eminem, Black Sabbath, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, LL Cool J, Kid Rock, Slayer, and the Beastie Boys. His aesthetic range is essentially limitless.
Rubin has been nominated and taken home the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year several times for his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Dixie Chicks, Neil Diamond, Metallica, Tom Petty, Justin Timberlake, and the late Johnny Cash. He has also been awarded countless other Grammys in categories such as Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Country Album of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, Contemporary Folk Album, and Best Metal Performance.