Kevin Walker Champions All Things Steinberg
Baltimore native Kevin Walker is a celebrated songwriter, bassist and producer who began his musical career at the young age of 14. Since then, Kevin has been performing with many internationally renowned artists the likes of Timbaland, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, T.I., Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, and the list just goes on and on.
How did you get in the music business?
I got started in high school. I was in the principle’s band, he put me in his band to play for special events on the side. His brother was musical director for Wilson Pickett and Midnight Movers. He took me out on the road when I was 15 with Wilson Pickett.
What are some other tours you have been involved with?
I have also toured with Jodeci, Aaliyah, Patti Labelle and Pieces of a Dream. I did the Prince Hit and Run Tour, Justin Timberlake’s Future Sex Love Sounds Tour, the Najee tour, which is more smooth jazz. I have also been a musician on MTV Music Awards shows.
How did you first get exposed to Steinberg products?
I started with producer Terry Battle who had one of the first Steinberg programs in Baltimore. Nathanial “Crockett” Wilkie who was assistant musical director for Patti Labelle was also a big Steinberg user. It was in 1992 that I got my first copy of Cubase on a PC.
Can you describe your studio?
My studio has a nice control room, a drum room and a vocal room. It is all based around Steinberg software, either Nuendo or most recently Cubase 5.
How did you transition into production?
I am a writer. I play guitar, bass, keys and drums. It was a necessity to get the tools to expand my productions. I have been a musical director for quite a few stars and I used Cubase for many things including tracking live vocals on stage. I have done quite a few recordings with Dennis Chambers for Tony Bunn, a smooth jazz project. I would use a lot of the included VST instruments, especially Monologue, when working with Justin Timberlake. I produced some tracks with smooth jazz artist Najee and the Fonky Baldheads for Prince in my room.
What are some your favorite features of Cubase 5?
The pitch correction tools are great. I used to use Melodyne. I find VariAudio a lot simpler and more efficient. I have used it on percussion, vocals, and it is great on fretless bass. The results are fantastic. The Arranger Track is a favorite feature as well. I love Groove Agent ONE. I also work with Beat Designer to get my ideas down fast. I can pull it up and go right to work without losing my creativity.
Have you had a chance to check out the new Steinberg hardware?
Yes I have. I consider it a must-have. It immediately increased my sound almost 75%. I plugged in my bass and it was unbelievable. It took my whole studio up to another level like a million-dollar studio. The CC121 is amazing, easy, and user-friendly. It is so easy that you forget that it is a piece of hardware.
Any tips on recording bass?
Really be open to experimenting with EQ variables in hardware. You can get the sound you like and print it. I like to get the sound I like and print exactly what I hear. I don’t want to have my sound change afterwards.
What projects are you working on currently?
I am working on my debut bass solo CD entitled Life upon a Dream. I am writing for Continuum Entertainment. They have done projects for Prince, Justin Timberlake and Patti Labelle, Aaliyah and Ledici.
Do you see a lot of friends switching over to Steinberg?
Most of the guys with Justin Timberlake have switched to the new Cubase. Darryl Pearson got me into Cubase 5 and the new hardware. He made me want to upgrade. I produced a project for the Sammy Davis Jr. estate with engineer Jonathan Lasane to remaster his tunes. We re-recorded his catalog for a musical and we did it all in Steinberg software.
How have Steinberg products helped you?
Steinberg brought me back into the music industry with a bullet. I am more creative with more control and meeting today’s ever evolving production requirements. Cubase 5 is one of the smoothest programs I have ever seen. It really elevated my computer and I find it very stable. You are not going to realize the full capacity of Cubase without the new hardware integration. I want to switch to all Steinberg software and hardware in my studio to get the full benefit because everything works so well.
Kevin's MySpace page: www.myspace.com/kevinwalkerbassist