BEHIND THE BEATS: Drew Correa ("Mr. Carter", "Prom Queen")
Lil Wayne, Trina, Rick Ross, Pitbull
Logic, Motif, Phantom, AKAI MPC 3000
Paying the cost to be the boss has taken on a whole new meaning with regards to showcasing your talent. Brazilian born rising producer Andrew Drew Correa has definitely paid his dues in his very short yet promising career. The Miami-based producer who is now Lil Waynes top pick may still be an unknown to many, but has already managed to receive a Grammy nomination which many other producers can only hope to obtain.
The coy yet diligent twenty five year-old talks about being the only musical one in his family, his decision to quit engineering and the backlash that followed and why he tricked Wayne into picking Mr. Carter.
AllHipHop.com: How did you know early on that you wanted to produce rather than perform?
Drew: I dont like to perform. I just love Hip-Hop, producing, and making beats. I just love music in general so ever since I was like 15 or 16, I wanted to be the guy behind the scenes.
AllHipHop.com: You started off engineering for some pretty big names, how did you make those connections?
Drew: Right after University I started interning at a studio in Miami called Studio Center, and worked my way up to engineering. Then I started to work with Trina, Pitbull, Rick Ross, etc. Then Wayne came in to record and him and me vibed really well. And he said he wanted me personally to engineer for him and no one else.
AllHipHop.com: Just from the repertoire you had with him in the studio?
Drew: He came in one night and we vibed really well and then the next night he told me he wanted me to be his main dude. I was always making beats on the side and he rapped on a bunch of my stuff. I mainly started engineering because I knew that would be the easiest way for me to get my foot in the door and all the connections that it would build and help me as a producer.
AllHipHop.com: So you decided a couple years ago to get into producing?
Drew: Full time yes. I was always doing it part time but I was so busy engineering with Wayne. He works like an animal, so its hard to do anything else. So it got to a point where I was like you know what, I cant engineer anymore, so I quit engineering for Wayne.
AllHipHop.com: Were there any drawbacks to you doing that?
Drew: No money, I was broke and unemployed really. I was just constantly making tracks and showing up to Waynes sessions and playing beats. It was rough for a minute but luckily I got on Tha Carter III [Mr. Carter].
AllHipHop.com: Whats Wayne like in the studio?
Drew: A workaholic; very creative and a perfectionist when it comes to what he wants. Its pretty interesting because he doesnt write anything so its interesting to see how he listens to a beat and maps the song out in his head. Its pretty cool.
AllHipHop.com: What was reaction to hearing about the Grammy nomination for Mr. Carter?
Drew: I knew Wayne would be nominated for something. I knew he would be nominated for best Rap album, but I was really shocked that he got nominated for the album of the year, then to hear that Mr. Carter got nominated for best collaboration, that blew me away more than anything.
AllHipHop.com: And that was all you?
Drew: Me and Infamous. He also co-produced Prom Queen with me.
AllHipHop.com: Was there anything in particular that inspired the creation of Mr. Carter?
Drew: Yes. I had this weird dream where I heard that hook in my head. It wasnt those exact lyrics, but it was something similar and after I thought about it, I wrote the hook and I had my friend sing it. Then I speed him up to make it sound like a sample. Then I started the beat around it and made it sound like I sampled it from something. Thats kind of how I sold it to Wayne. I went into the studio and told him Wayne I found this sample you got to hear. So I kind of tricked him and when he heard it he was like man thats crazy.
AllHipHop.com: Thats your friend on the finished track singing?
Drew: Yea, my friend Shiroc, hes a singer out in Miami. I think Wayne still thinks thats a sample I dont think he ever found out.
AllHipHop.com: Was it a smooth transition for you working on the Rock record with Wayne?
Drew: It wasnt that hard of a transition. I listen to Rock so it wasnt that hard. Especially the way Wayne came about it. He called me up and said Hey come through I want you to make some beats. I said Ok; hes never asked me to just come in and make beats and I didnt know where he was going with it.
So Infamous and I went over there and he told us he was doing this Rock thing. We made two beats that night and one of them was Prom Queen. We went until like seven that morning. Then he called me a couple days later so we can go hear what he recorded. When he told us it was going be the single it was kind of surreal. He recorded so much that I thought he was just doing it for that night.
AllHipHop.com: What type of instruments do you use?
Drew: An MPC drum machine, a Motif keyboard, Phantom keyboard and I just recently started messing around with the program Logic. 99% of my tracks are originals unless I find a really really hot sample. But Im not much of a sampler.
AllHipHop.com: Would you say that you have a particular style?
Drew: No my style is all over the place. After Mr. Carter came out a lot of people were asking me for that same sound.
AllHipHop.com: Did you decline?
Drew: Well I gave it to them, but I dont want to do something that Ive already done, I want to keep it fresh. A lot of producers have that signature sound and I want to stay away from that. I want to be that one dude where you hear Mr. Carter then you hear Prom Queen and youre like oh, is that the same guy?
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your craziest in-studio moment.
Drew: Actually I dont think I should say [laughs]. I dont know if I could do that, Wayne might kill me.
AllHipHop.com: Ok someone else then.
Drew: When I was in the studio with Wayne and Wyclef. Wyclef made a track for Wayne on the spot. It was just cool.
AllHipHop.com: So how long have you been officially producing; seems like you came out of nowhere.
Drew: Officially I would say like four or five years really. Yea it always seems that way but its never that. When I was engineering I was always making beats on the side. I quit engineering in early 2007 and when I quit every day I was just making records. But Ive been always producing since 2005.
AllHipHop.com: Talk about the first time you got jerked. Now you have to tell me this one since you didnt answer the previous question fully.
Drew: Theres so many empty promises in the music industry. Ive done so many records with up and coming artists that never had a release date and I never got paid for a lot of my production; just invested a lot of time and effort.
You get jerked a lot especially as an engineer. You work some crazy sometimes 16-hour sessions for five days a week and at the end they dip and run and dont pay you. From being around as an engineer and watching other producers get screwed, I kind of caught on to how the industry works. So, on the production end I havent really been jerked.
AllHipHop.com: That never turned you off to doing all of this?
Drew: It didnt turn me off but it pissed me off. I would probably never work with that artist again but it definitely didnt turn me off. Ive been in situations where the artist would just completely disrespect you and call you all kinds of messed up names. Those I think are really the worst moments. When you have like a really big top notch artist to say bad things about you is crazy. Its never their fault.
AllHipHop.com: Who are some artists you would love to get in the studio with if given the opportunity now that youre Drew Correa, Grammy nominated producer?
Drew: I definitely want to do something with Jay-Z; Britney Spears, I would love to do something with her, Nas; just all the people I really grew up listening to. Jadakiss, LL Cool J. Id even like to collaborate with other producers like Alchemist. I would also like to do a compilation album and make it diverse; Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B, Rock.
AllHipHop.com: How do you hope to see your career expand in the next few years?
Drew: You can expect a lot of great music. In a couple years Im definitely going to be up there. All sorts of genres; Im always going to go back to Hip-Hop no matter what, but definitely a lot of Pop records and Rock. I got some stuff coming out too with Fat Joe.
AllHipHop.com: What does your family think about your career?
Drew: Theyre in shock. I come from a poor background and the only family I have here are my mom, dad, aunt and uncle. Everyone else is in Brazil. So they just cant believe it. My family didnt have a lot of money coming in so theyre really proud of me and cant believe Ive reached where Im at now. No one else in my family is musical at all.