We chat to world-recognised American producer, engineer, and mixer, Brian Malouf, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Queen, Madonna, Pearl Jam, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers and Stevie Wonder. He is a co-founder of the Djooky Music Awards and winners of the contest travel to LA to record a song with him.

LM: Tell us about the DMA and how you became involved?

BM: I first became involved with the DMA through my association with Don Grierson when he was the head of A&R for the fledgling company Younck and he hired me to mix the chart topping songs from that platform. I met the entire team during that time and have maintained a close relationship with them, especially Andrey up and through the formation of Djooky.

LM: What were your expectations when creating the DMA’S?

BM: My expectations were nothing short of creating a contest that would create widespread participation by the underserved songwriters throughout the world who have not had the good fortune to meet and to know people who could help them realise their dreams.

LM: How has your knowledge of the music industry shaped the contest?

BM: I know from experience that songwriters are looking for one thing more than anything else, and that is ‘family'. I suppose as well I have helped with my contacts in the business; with the choosing of the judges, and in the future the willingness of my peers to mentor the young winners of our contest while they are pursuing their dreams and in need of advice.

LM: What do you look for when deciding the winners?

BM: The aspect of the television program The Voice that is the one really great and unique idea, is that the judges do not know anything or even see the singers on stage during their first performance. In the Djooky Music Awards I made it a point not to Google the contestants, but rather to listen solely to the music and rate the songs based on their quality alone.

LM: Is there any advice you would give to future entrants?

BM: The only advice I can give is to submit the best song in your catalog, which is not necessarily the newest one! I would also suggest that a big part of the early fan voting involves a very mobilised social media campaign behind your entry.

Part of the work of breaking out as an artist or songwriter is to spread the word, and a team is required to help do that. Seek out and form your team.

LM: You’ve had a hugely successful career, what have been the highlights?

BM: I can’t ignore the fact that I was very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time and prepared enough to welcome Michael Jackson into my studio and in turn him welcoming me into his creative life. That led to so many more opportunities for me and really helped launch my career in a studio system that simply doesn’t exist any longer. I suppose the secondary, but perhaps most important good fortune I’ve had is to meet with and help create so much good music with so many good people and had the opportunity to sign artists to a major label and thus make their dreams come true.

My first number one record is an A&R person was perhaps my most treasured highlight (It was “he Freshmen” by The Verve Pipe) because I helped someone else realise their dreams while satisfying my own aspirations at the same time“.

LM: You have worked with an array of talented artists, is there anyone left who you’d like to work with?

BM: That’s an easy one; my creative life would be complete if I could mix a Coldplay album.

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