Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
My name is Jim Vierra and I have been writing and producing music for the last 30 years. I formed the music brand 50 Something Records in order to attach a brand to my music. I work with a variety of independent music artists and produce music in a number of genres.
What does your job involve?
There are many facets to my musical projects. I have to find an original sound and vocals to match the genre I am producing. Next, I put the musicians together, work through rehearsals and listen to a song sometimes 30 to 40 times to make sure it is going in the direction I want it too.
Give us the typical outline of a day?
On production days it's lots of phone calls, going back and forth with music scores and sounds. We meet with the vocalists and launch right into the song structure.
What’s great about your job?
I love writing and producing music, discovering new talent and making long-lasting friendships.
What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?
It’s challenging to keep making a fresh sound. I don’t want the audience to come back and say, “that sounds like this band or that vocalist”.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
I received Songwriter of the Year in Nashville and my music has been in some very cool publications.
How did you get into an arts job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I think I really got into the arts by wanting to pursue a career in music. Outside of the arts, I run a global security company.
Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
I would say it’s an ongoing challenge. It’s a challenge to get my music to the next level and grab the attention of a good A&R executive. We just need to keep trying to fit our songs into the catalogues of top artists who are looking for a hit song!
Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?
There are so many changes in the music world. Country music is no longer a twang sound, but rap and synth voices, and even rock ability. I enjoy all those sounds, but true country music is gone forever!
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
It depends if you are a writer, producer or vocalist. The best thing I can say is, whatever you do, always do it with passion and integrity.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?
This job takes a lot of time and a great deal of money with sometimes no return on your investments. Be realistic in your expectations and have fun doing it!