It was nearly two decades ago that Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson decided to pursue a career in music, which was originally ignited within the walls of his church growing up, where he fell for percussions and later perfecting the drums. After some time as an artist, he dived into the world of music production and realized that it was something that he wanted to pursue.
Fast forward to the present. An enriched career backed with nothing but hard work and motivation has brought us Amadeus, a producer rising above and being enlisted by some of the industry’s biggest artists to produce their music. During his career, the super-producer even found himself creating beats for some of entertainment’s largest networks, some that you may have heard as he’s produced and scored music for BET, VH1, EA Sports and much more – even creating the theme music for ESPN’s ‘First Take’ show, alongside artists Stalley and Wale.
As the CEO of Platinum Boy Music Inc., it would be fitting that Amadeus is also a multi-platinum record producer, having produced for over 15 years with some of the music industry’s biggest names, from Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Foxy Brown, The Game, Justin Bieber to Young M.A., and that is just scratching the surface.
The Bronx native not only shows his talents in the studio, but also takes it on the road both nationwide and internationally, alongside world-renowned R&B singer, Trey Songz, as his musical director and tour drummer. If you don’t end up watching him live alongside the ‘Say Aah’ singer on tour, you can catch him performing live in Las Vegas, at the famous Drai’s Nightclub, where Amadeus shows off his drumming skills and rocks the stage as their resident drummer.
With all this under his belt, the multi-talented producer remains humble to this day, reminding us to always stay blessed, motivated, and continue to work hard and believe in yourself. His words also extend to education, as he is also a motivational speaker through his Music 101 College Tour – which was launched alongside his Platinum Boy team in 2015, a program whose mission is to educate and empower young people through learning the first hand experiences from a panel of artists, producers, coaches and more from the industry as they explain what they needed to do to get to where they are today and how the industry currently works in present time.
XMPL got the chance to interview Amadeus, which has been featured as our cover story for XMPL’s second digital issue for spring 2019 – a producer-centric issue featuring some big and up-and-coming names in music production. In our interview, Amadeus gets personal and talks his own experiences, how he stays motivated and the evolution of producing music.
Read the full exclusive interview with Amadeus below and be sure to follow him on Instagram @amadeuspbm
XMPL: What challenges do you find producing for artists from different genres, ranging from Rap, Hip-Hop to R&B?
Amadeus: Honestly speaking, no challenges at all, I’ve been blessed to be in the music business producing for going on 18 years so it’s like second nature for me and the advantage I have is the fact that I’m a musician and musically inclined so I really understand how to create music and if there’s anything I can’t do on my own I get musicians and fellow producers in the room with me and we make it happen together.
You’ve produced for a wide variety of talent, can you describe an experience that stood out to you from an artist and how does it resonate with you today?
I must saying working with Mike Jones, he’s one of my favorite artists I’ve been blessed to produce for reason being he was always so hands on; would pretty much call me every other day with a new idea with a new concept and was always writing constantly. He kept me inspired, as was one of the artists who gave me a shot at the beginning of my producing career when my resume wasn’t as long as it is today. I remember him flying me out to Houston to record a record featuring Trey Songz and he picked me up from the airport himself in a Rolls Royce, dropped me off to the hotel so I can drop my luggage off and get situated, came back a few hours later to pick me up in the Maybach and took me to the studio. We knocked out the song and once done, asked me did I want stay at his penthouse, which overlooked Houston instead of staying in the hotel! The next day, took me to his mansion and wow what a house – surrounded by about 20 cars. Everything you could ever think of. It was such a moment for me being from where I was from. I’ve never seen that live in person so that experience changed my life forever! Much love to the homie still to this day Mike Jones!
You’ve been producing for the music industry for a long time – how has production evolved since you first started making music?
Mannnnnnnnnnnn it changed a lot from the sound of course, to how business is handled, technology, the amount of people who are inspiring producers, etc. We live in a day where people wake up everyday and because everything is so accessible, everyone and their mama wants to be in the music business, so makes it a lil challenging for me because it becomes over saturated with musicians and producers all aiming for the same goals but at the same time willing to do whatever it takes to get on and I mean anything. And that hurts the OG’s and the young OG’s like myself because an artist or label will say “why should I pay producer Amadeus xyz when I can use a new up-and-coming producer and get the track for free?” Because he or she is so excited to get on and hear their favorite artists on the track they’ll give it away for free.
How do you utilize current trends to expand your own music?
I listen to any and everything. A lot of the music that’s out today I really like and it inspires me, ya gotta be willing to be open to change and new things. Nothing remains the same, just gotta be willing to accept it and adapt. I also collab a lot and connect with the younger generation who show me the new way just like I show them the way I’m accustomed to, so it all works hand in hand.
How would you approach producing music for shows like First Take on ESPN – opposed to producing for artists?
The First Take theme song opportunity was an amazing experience for me. The Music Director for ESPN, Kevin Wilson, informed me of the artists that they were in talks with in regards to being the performers on the track and once they shared that info, I started creating and thinking about ideas that I felt sounded big, TV-friendly and of course “would it fit the artists that would be on the song?” So that’s pretty much how I approached that situation in regards to me scoring for ESPN. They let me know what type of style and sound they were looking for and I provided them with exactly what there asking for. In regards to working with artists, I just create what I love and feel is from my heart and soul and send it to them, and what connects with them, connects with them. I’ve never really been that type of producer that create specific tracks for artists because I’ve always felt like if that artist passed on that track, you’re stuck with a track that has their sound and another artist may not take the track because of that! So I just make what I feel is amazing music and just send it to everyone and whoever bites, bites.
With schools in our current time cutting funds for music and arts programs – how can students who are still passionate about music reach outlets like your 101 Music Tour College Tour?
One thing I didn’t have coming up when I started producing and entered into the music business was the internet and that’s something that the world has today and with that being said, there’s nothing you can’t do or find on the internet. You can learn how to anything on there, so there’s no excuse you can use in regards to not getting the info you need to become successful in music or in any career profession you’re going after. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Period.
From doing live shows on Trey Songz’s tour to performing as the resident drummer at Drai’s Night Club in Las Vegas – what’s the energy you feel that you personally bring to performing live as opposed to working in the studio?
It’s definitely two completely different things, ya know, performing a live show and producing music. But both I definitely love. The energy of being on stage and the love and support ya getting and feeling from the audience and the fans that support you and the music that you’ve created in the studio is an amazing feeling.
What made you want to start off your music career from the realm of production as opposed to the performance side?
I actually was an artist first and my name was A-Boogie and people laughed at my name. I thought it was dope. But yeah, I was rapping first, I thought I was dope but hey it is what it is. One day I got schooled on the actual business and I learned how artists get paid and etc and I didn’t like what I was told but I advised to be more behind the scenes and since I was already a music lover and was a musician it made plenty of sense to become a music producer so I went with that, believed I could do it, work extremely hard, networked liked crazy and here I am almost 18 years later!
Throughout all your success and achieving status as multi-platinum certified music producer, what is your key to staying motivated?
First off, I love what I do. Music is my passion and I feel that’s one of the things that keeps me going along with my family, friends and the fans that support me and appreciate the music I’ve created and will create. That keeps me going. There’s a lot of negativity that surrounds the business so it’s very important to hold on to all the positive energy you can and keep pushing and moving forward.
What goals are you aiming to achieve and what upcoming projects can we look forward to in the near future?
I’m always working towards creating new masterpieces, music that people all over the world can respect and appreciate. I’m also aiming to push, inspire and empower as many people I possibly can, to go for each and every one of their dreams no matter what. In life people are afraid to help one another because some people are intimidated that if they help someone come up and win, that they’ll take over and will remove them from the spot that they’re in. I’m the opposite. I wanna help as many people as I can because at the end of the day, both God and myself will be pleased with my actions and that spot of mine that the next person wants to get they can have because I’m continuously moving so I’ll already be in the next spot onto the next level!