On International Women’s Day, we caught up with record producer, songwriter and musician, Aubrey Whitfield, who shares how she’s adapted to remote working, why she champions the important role of women in music, and why NUGEN Audio’s MasterCheck plugin has changed the way she works, forever.
It’s been almost a year to the day since I last spoke to Aubrey Whitfield when I catch up with her to reflect on a year spent in lockdown, and how it has affected her work as a producer, songwriter and musician.
Always one to plan ahead and adapt to changing circumstances, Whitfield (who can normally be found at the Ten 87 studio complex in Tottenham, London), has created a fully mobile production setup in case anything like this happens again in future, or if the reality of working in commercial studios continues to raise social distancing issues.
“A year ago when we went into the first lockdown, I started to panic thinking, ‘Oh my God, I can't access my studio...I've got tonnes of tracks I need to produce, I won't get my income, it's all going to fall to pieces’,” she begins, frank as ever.
“I needed to access my studio so I thought, ‘I've already got a really good MacBook here which is just as good as my studio computer, so I'm just going to make an exact copy of every plugin and every virtual instrument that's in my main studio on this MacBook so that I can move anywhere and be able to produce’. It's always good to have a backup so that you can continue your business.”
Whitfield has used the last year to write some songs for TV and film, and has had a blast doing it.
“I wish I'd done this earlier in my career! But I probably wouldn't have got those opportunities earlier in my career,” she considers. “I've now got them because people can hear my skills and my experience, and that's taken some time to develop. What's really good about it for me is that you get a brief and you have to stick to that brief, but it's mostly focusing on the songwriter, and that's what I feel is my main skill.
"When I was a kid, I was only interested in songs; I wasn't interested in singing or producing or mixing, I just wanted to write songs. As I've become a producer, that's got lost a little bit because I'm mostly producing other people's songs. So to be able to have the opportunities to write the songs and produce and mix them as well is quite a hefty job, but it's great.”
Whitfield had an unconventional and rocky start to her career in music: although she has worked with artists including Kelly Clarkson, Soul II Soul, Little Mix and James Arthur, this almost wasn’t to be, as for the majority of her adult life she worked for the UK Government’s Home Office where she designed the UK’s alcohol policies, travelled the world as a Private Secretary to a Government Minister, and advised the British Prime Minister on international threats to the UK.