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Impact 0279: Day in the life of a 19-year-old electronic music producer

Nigel Quah · 29 November 2021
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12:00 pm

Despite setting alarms for 10.30 in the morning, I usually wake up at about 12 pm, which is a lot later than most people do. While I’m getting lunch, I generate a to-do list for the day on my phone.

1:30 pm

After a hot shower, I head back to my room to get some work done. I don’t usually pick up on previous projects right away – I typically spend some time messing around on my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, the program that musicians use to make their music). Who knows, maybe I’d come up with something cool and it could be my next release!

I started my music journey at 9 years old when my older sister introduced me to the GarageBand programme on her new MacBook. I was always intrigued by how music could be made without the use of any real-life instruments – and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Inspiration can be hard to come by sometimes. When I’m working on my music, it is really hard to start on something new when I’m feeling uninspired. So, I like to spend some time listening to music and jamming on my keyboard. You can also find me on Splice, arguably the world’s largest sample library, looking out for cool loops that I could use to get inspiration from.

4:30 pm

This is the time for me to work on half-finished projects or make some mixes and masters for either myself or commissioned projects. Mixing is the process of balancing out the levels of each individual sound in a song, and adding or subtracting various frequencies in certain tracks within the song to achieve a “cleaner” sound. Mastering is like adding finishing touches to your work, ensuring that it sounds good on every medium!

Looking back, I have to admit that getting into music production was and is hard. When I first started out, resources were pretty scarce, and I didn’t have a mentor. But in recent years, I’ve been blessed with a lot of support that came my way throughout my journey.

5:30 pm

When I start to feel a little restless, I will hit up a few friends for a group call on Discord. I’m not really sure if this counts as procrastination, but it is definitely fun!

Over the past few years, I’ve made friends with similar interests from all around the world (mostly through the Internet), and that sparked a lot of collaboration, which in my opinion, is one of the best aspects of making music. You get to connect with people with different backgrounds and have loads of fun while you’re at it too.

But beneath all the glamour of doing music, there are many challenges that would come with it too. People, including my parents, used to insist that I would never be able to make it, though for good reason – it is a tough industry!

7:00 pm

By now, I’d probably feel like I’m done with music for the day, and will have dinner with my family. The smell of freshly cooked food would have seeped through my door by then, and that gets me really hungry. I always love having dinners with my family – the food is great and the company is even better!

8:00 pm

After dinner, I usually head back into my room to wind down for the night. I would probably be on a voice call (again) with my friends. We share about our own projects with each other, exchange ideas and just have a good time. We will always hype each other up!

Having a strong support system is an extremely important thing to have. Finding community in anything that you do is important because this is where you’ll have people to support you, help you grow, and challenge you at times!

9:00 pm

I always try to balance work and play. If you work hard, you have to play hard too. Around this time, I would ask my friends to join me in several rounds of the online game, Valorant. On days that this doesn’t happen, I’d be on my DAW experimenting with more ideas.

2:00 am

If I’ve stayed up to play games with my friends, this is the time we normally head off to bed. I usually lie in bed for a while, thinking about what I’ve accomplished throughout the day. My days aren’t structured, and I have a lot of spontaneous friends – so, who knows what tomorrow may bring?

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