DETROIT – Metro Detroit native and producer Tommee Profitt spoke with Local 4 about his career, the release of his debut single and more.
Profitt made his debut as a solo recording artist in July with the release of his new single, “Faking Love (ft. Jung Youth & NAWAS).”
Read the full interview with Tommee Profitt below:
What first got you interested in the music business?
When I was 7, my parents bought me a small keyboard for Christmas, not because I showed prior interest in music, but just because it made noise and kids like toys that make noise. And I just fell in love with it instantly.
I was just trying to figure out songs that I heard on TV and stuff. I kind of taught myself by ear and I would just learn everything I could and they basically couldn’t pull me off the keyboard -- piano is my first instrument and I just fell in love with it right away.
Did your parents encourage you to continue pursuing music?
Yes, very much. My parents were awesome supporters of pretty much whatever I was into -- they were pretty much pushing me to dive into it 100 percent. So, with the piano, they never had to force me to practice or anything. I was always in the bedroom with the headphones on, you know, writing music. -- I was always up to something.
Did growing up in Michigan, the Detroit area, have an impact on your style or interest in certain types of music?
I don’t know if it directly affected my style, but I think it was kind of a good thing when you grow up in an area where there’s not a ton of people doing music and you kind of create a name for yourself in your city. Then, as you grow from there, you can move cities. I think if I were to grow up in a city like Nashville, where I live now, I think I would have just gotten lost in the crowd of amazing musicians that are all playing every night in restaurants and bars. There’s so many, so I think it helped, in the sense that there wasn’t a huge music scene in Milford, where I’m from. But I was able to just kind of make my own stamp and record my own CD’s and start very locally and grow out from there.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the business side of your work? Has it had an effect on your creativity?
Funny enough, there’s been a few projects that I’ve been wanting to do for years and I just never had time because I always had artists coming in, adding work to my plate, doing songs for them, producing music for other people. And, so, when the quarantine happened -- I actually was able to get to a lot of projects that I’ve been wanting to work on.
It was kind of an amazing season for me, because I’m always locked away in my studio anyway. I work from home. So the only difference was I didn’t have tons of people coming over, so I could catch up on things and just kind of create new stuff and it was very, very, very productive for me the last six months.
When you first get the idea for a song do you know immediately who you’d want to work with? For example, your cover of “In The End,” did you have Fleurie in mind right away?
It depends on who it is, really. I did a bunch of covers, but the “In The End” cover definitely, I had that idea because I’ve always loved that song and I just always thought that it would sound really cool done in a more cinematic fashion.
So, I just called my two friends, Fleurie and Jung Youth, over to my house and they recorded in a couple minutes. And they just came in, tracked their part, and left. I built the whole track after that. A lot of times I envision a specific artist and I’ll call them in to sing or perform over the tracks that I have in mind.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of working with other musicians?
I think collaboration is always stronger, you know, when you can bring two people to the table with strength and you put those strengths together. It’s just really fun to see what two different creative musicians will bring out of each other.
One thing that an artist will say, or sing, or do, might inspire a new track idea from me or a track idea that I have might inspire the artist to sing a little differently.
So, I just love the variety of artists that I get to work with and just seeing what happens. It’s usually something pretty cool, everyone has mutual respect for each other in the music industry and I just feel like when you get together and let other’s strengths really shine, really, the result is always something stronger than if one person is just doing it all by themselves.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Everyone has their dream list -- Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Imagine Dragons -- I mean, those guys, I just love working with super talented vocalists and musicians. And I think we could come up with great stuff someday. If that door opens, it would be amazing. If it doesn’t, I’m super grateful to work with the artists I have.
What about music for movies and TV drew your interest?
I have always loved music from movies and movie trailers specifically, so I’m not necessarily trying to write just for those for a reason other than it’s my favorite kind of music to make. When I was in high school, I would listen to trailer music in my car on the way to school -- and it just feels big and epic and it just gives me a feeling inside that I love. When I first started getting the opportunity to pitch music for trailers and movies and TV shows and it was super exciting and I just dove in headfirst because it’s my favorite thing.
Can you describe your creative process with your new single “Faking Love?”
I do a lot of music for TV and film and so we were kind of brainstorming. Hey, what would it look like if you took your cinematic sensibility but put them more in like an urban, pop, mainstream music commercial package? So, I kind of explored the idea for a long time. How do you blend trailer music and pop music? How would that work, what would it sound like? With lots of strings and piano and dark and cool moody stuff. And I finally came up with a few sounds and I made that track first , for “Faking Love,” and I was like, this is exactly what I would want my sound to be as a producer/artist. So I called my two friends, Jung Youth and NAWAS, and asked them if they wanted to come over and brainstorm on some ideas over the track and they came over one day and they had some ideas and they came in and we just kind of tweaked those and recorded and it was finished pretty quickly after that. So, I think that just burst a new avenue for me to create more music like this and just have all different kinds of artists featured on this sound that I want to be my brand.
How involved were you with the music video for “Faking Love?” Is it what you envisioned when you were creating the song?
I was very involved, because I love futuristic smart home technology stuff so I knew I wanted it. I knew I kinda wanted to go there a little bit, not over the top, but subtly futuristic elements. Me and the director, Patrick Tohill, we just brainstormed a bunch of ideas and we came up with that and we just kept talking on the phone about where the story could go and what the narrative would be and that one was a super fun part of the creative process for me.
Do you plan on pursuing creating music and videos like with “Faking Love?”
I think so. I’m definitely planning on making a lot more music like this and that music video was the launching point of where we’ll want future videos to go visually and stylistically.
What’s next for you? Should we expect more new music?
I have a big Christmas project coming out this year in a couple months and so that’s kind of the big end of the year thing that I’m going to be promoting. Then my plan is to create more singles and music like “Faking Love” and eventually do an album, hopefully next year.
Watch the music video for “Faking Love” below:
The music video was directed by Patrick Tohill and inspired by Black Mirror.
Profitt taught himself to play piano as a child and started producing his own music when he was 12 years old. He’s earned acclaim for his production work with artists like Migos, Hunter Hayes, and NF.
Profitt’s cinematic releases have earned more than 1 billion global lifetime streams. His work has landed more than 200 sync placements with the NFL, MLB, NHL, ESPN, CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC, HBO, WWE, and Showtime, and in major network shows, films, and video games. His music has been in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, The Good Doctor, The Handmaid’s Tale, Assassin’s Creed, UFC2, Madden, and more.