Music is the rhythm to one’s soul with songs that flow through your brain and lyrics that swirl through your head. Instrumentals and tempos that turn your fingers into drums and will make your feet tap uncontrollably. Producing music transcends the everyday monotony to make each fresh morning a new journey of sounds. Someone who is producing music and is on the road to a new journey of sounds is a 23-year-old music producer and student Ritch Saint-Jean.
When Jean isn’t dribbling rapidly from one end of a basketball court to the other, Broward County music producer Ritch Saint-Jean is hard at work putting his life into music. “The great thing about music is that it saved my life,” said Jean. “I’ve gotten to produce work that gave others the strength or willpower to save their own lives and express themselves. That’s the beauty of it, that’s the beauty of music.”
As a student of SAE Institute, Jean is an audio engineer and he loves getting crafty with sound. Jean has experimented with mixing monophonic sounds with Hip-Hop. “Creating a sound from scratch that no one has ever heard before is a feeling I live for,” said Jean.
Jean has also taken workshops with four-time Grammy Award Winning audio engineer Derek Ali, who has worked with such as artist as Kendrick Lamar, Robin Thicke, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Drake.
As a mixing engineer, Jean has worked with local musicians and he is even looking to branch himself out into other genres. “I’d love to surround myself with a new scene working with anybody,” said Ritch.
Ritch, who is well-known for Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B, and influences from Trap, continued by mentioning he’d love to hear from other artists in other genres such as Latino, Pop, Rock, and Reggae.
Click. Static. Pop. This happens in a beat as he plugs his headphones into the keyboard. He plays a chord and it seems like the deep, rich sound thunders throughout the room. But it doesn’t. It echoes from the quiet place in his own world. “Being in the studio allows me to escape reality, said Jean. “It also lets me be in my own world and create that world with other people. It’s a good feeling.”
Miami musical artist and manager June Morales, better known as MESSY! Has collaborated with Jean and has described him as motivational and as someone who is making the most out of his musical talent. Similarly, published photographer T.J. Brown, better known as ThugSamurai, has also grown creatively with Jean. When Brown isn’t snapping away for the picture, he has is also a contributing musical artist with Jean.
After working with each other on the album “The Trippy Love Tape”, Brown has found another passion working with Jean. “Ritch is my go-to person,” said Brown. “We took our real-life feelings and turned it into something real. We’re learning new skills and we’re not doing it for money or just to be cool. We have something organic that can connect with people and working with him I can tell he puts his soul into everything,” said Brown.
The lyrics swim through them like a cerebral cortex like a wakeful dream. The notes relax the musical artist and lyricist. Music could never be something superfluous to them, it’s medicine delivered in a divine way.
In this interview between Nile Fortner and Ritch Saint-Jean, Jean discusses the local music scene, crafting music in the studio, and more.
I’ll be in the studio for hours, I sleep there, I live there, I clean it up, I’m like a studio junkie. –Ritch Saint-Jean
NF: What is the first thing you listen for when listening to a new recording?
RSJ: The quality of the recording is obvious because no one is going to want to touch a recording that doesn’t sound good. A good mic is a must, and picking up extra sound like ambient sound or room tone can actually play into the recording which a lot of people don’t realize adds to the sound.
NF: What are some things that people may not know about the local South Florida music scene? In other words, what goes on behind closed doors that people may not know during the production phase?
RSJ: I think a lot of people don’t realize how hard locals work. Five-hour sessions, late night in the studios getting creative, that’s why I respect artist in the Broward scene. The work ethic for Broward artist is there and we’ve spent all night recording with so many talented and passionate people. Even with school, I’ll be in the studio for hours, I sleep there, I live there, I clean it up, I’m like a studio junkie.
In the serenade of the black, the stars are a choir. They are lights that sing in infinite patterns. Sometimes eyes need music and the darker the night the sweeter the song. After over several hours in studio time, Jean described being drowsy. The world was a blur, and random images seemed to float aimlessly around in the pool of his thoughts, as though they were being blown about viciously by a hurricane.
RSJ: Yeah, I’ve gotten tired but worked through it. Someone threw water on my face to wake me up and one time I woke up and someone wrote all over my face. It’s okay, I’ll get him back.
Jean laughs sweet and softly, like the sound of tinkling bells.
NF: Is there anything within the musical artist you work with, lyrics, or productions that say anything about one of your personality traits? If so, what’s the name of the song, the artist, and the overall meaning behind the music?
RSJ: Well MESSY! and I did an album where MESSY! took my feelings I had for a girl I like and took my feelings and turned it into lyrics. I made the beat and for 12 hours I had to work with the fact that this was something really emotional to me. For 12 hours I had the power to finally express myself and express my feelings. Being in my feelings isn’t always an easy thing.
We need to start listening to things that are more meaningful again. -Ritch Saint-Jean
NF: What would you like to see change in the music industry today and how do you think that change can be accomplished?
RSJ: Stop always talking about crime and killing. We need to accomplish more lyrical stuff and not follow the already played out style. Always talking about your jewelry, the next car you’re going to by, who you can have sex with, the money you have, is lame, tiring, and boring. We need to start listening to things that are more meaningful again. The platform should be about meanings of life. People have to realize what’s mainstream and trendy doesn’t represent the whole scene. We as listeners need to support everyone with a unique sound or set of lyrics and let the mainstream know we’re tired of the trend.
NF: Is there a local or non-local artist you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity to work with?
RSJ: Robb Banks, from Coral Springs Florida. We went to the same high school, Coral Springs High, and he is an underground legend. A lot of people don’t realize he is the son of Shaggy, Mr. Boombastic. He doesn’t just go off of that though. Banks’ vibe is cool, it’s lit, and he’s a Broward County Underground legend. If he wanted to go mainstream tomorrow he could. But I love the fact he represents locals and all people.
NF: Do you have advice for young people who want to become music producers?
RSJ: I had a few bumps in the road and I went to school for it. My instructors have taught me a lot and school is a great way to take your passion and gain so much knowledge for whatever you’re passionate for. Not everyone will believe in you and people have told me I’m wasting my time with the music. But you have to force yourself to believe in yourself.
Ritch Saint-Jean has worked with many Broward County, Miami, and local musicians through South Florida. He has been endorsed by many local musical artists and most recently, Sunrise FL resident, Ricardo Blanc (Lord Au_Du), has told Jean he is a believer.
If you’re a musical artist in any genre looking to network and you believe in yourself, you may work with Ritch and contact him at (754) 213 – 2636. You may also listen and follow him on Instagram at damn_imrich or Soundcloud under Ritch Saint-Jean.