Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Inside-the-Studio With Jeff Timmons: Music 'Artist' in His Own Right


January 13, 10:54 AMBillboard Hot 100 ExaminerDee Windt

Photo credit Jenn Hoffman

Today, we have a special review and interview by Carrie Underwood Examiner Meriam Bouarrouj. Below is her interview with Jeff Timmons.

If there was one way to describe music artist Jeff Timmons it would be; a true music artist. As he is releasing his new music, Timmons is attempting to bring the music industry back to the true 'art' of music. The founding member of the former Grammy-nominated boy band 98 Degrees is certainly not your ordinary artist who just records and releases an album to stores across America under a giant record label. Timmons, who is currently in the process of creating his sophomore solo album, is doing something very unique that yet emphasizes on him being no 'ordinary' artist; he is giving his fans the chance to choose exactly which songs to put on the album and directly collaborating with them in its creation process. Timmons' fans are able to download his music for free and respond to the songs as they are posted for them.

Timmons has involved himself in all aspects of the music business. As if forming his own record label wasn't impressive enough, he writes, produces, and distributes his own music.

Timmons recently discussed with me his journey as a songwriter, why he is excited to work with the fans on his new music, and much more!

How's the recording of your new album been going?

Great. I'm giving my record out for free and I wanna make sure I give my best stuff out. I wanna have a nice mix so if I get a song in my mind or something that I want to get out, I'll go post it online . I already posted like six and I'll probably post like six more.
They've[fans] been downloading them like crazy. They're doing great. I'm very, very pleased and very happy that people responded the way they did.

This is your second solo album, how is this one different from your first solo effort? How have you grown as a solo artist?

The first one was really under the radar,a jazz label, only in a few stores. This is something that I'm really proud of and I'm trying to get out all over the world, and I wanna tour with it. So I consider this one my real first solo album.
This one it's like I know how to produce records now. I'm in the studio, I'm producing everything, I'm writing everything. I know the business a lot better. So I'm a little more well-prepared now. The sound of the record is much more professional. And I also have my own sound. I know what I sound like now. Not 98 degrees sound, this is my own sound now.

What was the writing process like for you for the new music? Do you think you've evolved as a songwriter throughout the years?

Yeah absolutely. I've written all my songs with the same group of guys. The guys from the original group, 'The Quick', before 98 degrees started, the guys from my hometown. We've always had a knack for writing songs together and we love the creation process so I've always had them as my writing partners. We would sit down and say I kind of had this idea about writing a song about this today and then we'd write the whole song and produce the song out, you know the process was a little more planned. But with this record, I had my guys come out and hang out with me out in California and we just stayed in the studio for six weeks. We would totally create the song from the ground up. And it was a lot more fun, and a lot more relaxed, and a lot more real, and I think the album's got a lot more soul to it.

Is there a song that stands out to you from this new collection of music?

There's a couple of them. There's a song called “Turn You Out”, which is a dance song. That's really a power song. A lot of labels have reacted really well to that. So that one really stands out. Each of them have their own cool thing about them. Then I have some strong ballads. One's called “Imagine This”. Another one that I might put on there is called “When You Were Here”. Those are like the power ballad type stuff.
I'm just really proud of the whole thing. I'm promised the fans a free album and I'm going to give them a free album and it's going to be good. I think that will create more loyalties in the fan base.

The way artists can promote their music has certainly changed since your days of being a part of 98 degrees, what do you think about the online media world today and its effects? You're giving your fans the album online for free.

You can do more exposure on your own through the social-networking sites and through all the tools that are available virally, and you don't have to have a big label to promote you or expose you... and you also at the same can get an immediate feedback and customize your content to what the fans really want. So polling the fans as I was creating the album and putting the songs out, I'm finding out what they like and don't like. I can get a gain for the songs they're really really feeling and not feeling so I can customize my album to fit the songs that they like and the type of product that they're into right now.

I think that's fantastic. It definitely gives the consumer a lot more power and it brings things back to the art. What I plan on doing with this is hopefully, out of these really impressed people, I'll be able to secure a strong fan base.

Was it difficult for you to start your own label?

It was difficult to do it in the traditional sense, it's not difficult to do it in the non-traditional sense. We're putting it out there, betting on music for future fans. For me it's fun. I have a lot of freedom with it. I'm really enjoying it. I think that there are ways to make a living doing it by making the product inexpensive and appealing to more people. And that's the end goal and get people for the long term to come back and enjoy the music and purchase things for way way cheaper, or get things for free, or cross promote with brands and sponsors. I think we might have sort of a futuristic model of what the music business really is.

What do you think you would be doing if you weren't making music? Do you have another passion?

I'd be probably be working with kids. I love kids. I have two kids of my own and they're great and I studied to be a psychologist. My area of what I wanted to specialize in was child psychology before I was doing this and then I just got into music. I can't imagine doing anything else now though. But I have a passion for working with kids. And I'm a people person so I like being with people.

What about acting? Is that something that has ever interested you?

You know I've been approached to do all that stuff. Where I grew up I was in a lot of plays, in community theater. And I was really lucky and blessed to really excel in that area. I've been approached to do a lot of different things but I'm just really choosy about what I wanted to do and I've just always believed in music and creating music. I do have a passion for acting but it certainly would have to be something that gets delivered the right way. Hopefully one of these days I'll do something like that but it'll have to be something that's good. I have high expectations of myself and always want to get better at everything that I do and if I'm gonna put something out I wanna make sure that it's quality and cool.

Jeff is very active on Twitter and he says all his fans can follow him @Jefftimmons98.

To download and listen Jeff's new album for free, go to