By Kevin Zimmerman
The Eclectic Vision Of Miykal Snoddy
Even with a long list of production credits that include Ne-Yo, Musiq, Jamie Foxx, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, Kanye West and Sean Garrett, Miykal Snoddy feels he still has plenty of conquering to do.
“My vision is to write and work in every genre,” he says. “Adult contemporary, jazz, rock … I’m a believer that you can still take an instrumental track all the way to the #1 slot in the Billboard Hot 100 if you’ve got the right hook. My feeling is that if you’ve got the right words or phrase, people will receive it.” A classically trained pianist and violinist, Snoddy brings a level of talent to his projects that may not necessarily be present in those songwriter-producers who grew up searching, first and foremost, for the perfect beat. That’s not to say, however, that he’s hung up on lecturing about the differences between augmented fourths and diminished fifths.
“My dad was in a band in Tulsa when I was growing up,” Snoddy explains. “They played with the Gap Band and those types of groups, and had a lot of rehearsals at the house, which I always liked hanging around for.”
From the age of six through high school, however, classical music was the younger Snoddy’s main musical interest. “I really never listened to r&b or hip-hop during that time,” he says. In fact, it wasn’t until he was required to come up with something original to attend Berklee that he’d even considered composing.
Upon graduating, he found work at a recording studio – and that’s when the funky
sounds of yore came fully into play. “Jodeci was one of the big groups at the time, and I came to hear how they’d use some of the same chords that struck emotions in listeners of classical and even gospel, which I’d heard in church.” He pauses before adding with a laugh: “The ladies liked it too!”
Exploring pop structures required a great deal of work, he says. “I really had to break it down to its basic components. Classical is usually very structured, while R&B is almost more of a loop-based thing.”
Relocating to Atlanta, Snoddy soon allied himself with a number of like-minded individuals in that city’s fast-growing scene. Co-writing the track “Three Letter Word” for Jamie Foxx’s 2005 album Unpredictable soon had him on his way.
“It’s all about connections,” Snoddy says. “I started working with different people, and after a couple of checks started coming in, I really got focused.” Snoddy says he tries not to force ideas to come out – “It’s much easier to let an idea come to you, even if it’s in the middle of the night and you have to get out of bed to write it down” – than to write to order. “I can do it, but I always feel more tense.”
Coming up next for the young hitmaker is more work with Ne-Yo and Musiq. “There’s a few more after that, too,” he says. “They’re keeping me busy!”
What’s On My iPod?
“I love Kanye’s new album, and I’ve got some Faith Evans on there. There’s also Portishead, Waka Flocka … and when I just want to relax and meditate, a collection of piano pieces by Franz Liszt.”