Mastering a lifelong gift of music with internationally renowned music producer Josquin des Pres

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Pivotally prolific and quintessentially adaptive, the impressive career of world renowned, French-born music producer, songwriter, bassist, author and all-out consummate music entrepreneur, Josquin des Pres, spans and survives the harsh test of time and music’s ever changing turbulent tides.

Pivotally prolific and quintessentially adaptive, the impressive career of world renowned, French-born music producer, songwriter, bassist, author and all-out consummate music entrepreneur, Josquin des Pres, spans and survives the harsh test of time and music’s ever changing turbulent tides.

Landing his first major record deal with RCA at the age of 19, des Pres toured the world with some of the biggest acts in France, becoming a highly sought-after bass player. His evolutionary trajectory through music led him to Los Angeles where his skills expanded to include producing, arranging and songwriting.

In the late 1980s des Pres’ career boasts the long lasting and rare distinction of collaborating with the legendary Bernie Taupin–Elton John’s famed lyricist. Their co-writing efforts produced several songs that have been covered by artists around the globe. His collaborations and numerous covers lead to publishing contracts with Warner Chappelle Music, EMI Music, New Heights Entertainment and other industry major labels. Furthering his accomplishments, des Pres has produced and recorded hundreds of projects and CDs, composed more than 700 songs and adapted to survive within the unforgiving changing tides of music by composing soundtracks for some of television’s most recognizable shows and networks such as MTV, VH1, CBS, CNN, Food Network, Animal Planet, the Ellen De Generis show amongst countless others. His longevity and adaptability continue to define him as one of music industry’s defining players.

Nondescript amongst offices, eateries and retail store fronts that define the 7200 block of University Avenue, his Track Star Studio is paradoxically, internationally relevant and acclaimed, ultimately landing des Pres within our own community’s reach where he has set up shop, if you will, since 1997, remaining highly accessible.

ECC: What motivated you to get into music?

JSP: As far as I can remember, I had an interest in a wide variety of musical styles, from classical (Mozart, Brahms) to Jazz (John Coltrane, Miles Davis) to Country and Folk (Johnny Cash, Joan Baez). Ultimately, I was attracted to Pop Rock songs with an edge. I love great, simple melodies and heavy guitars, so The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and pretty much the whole British invasion, all the way to Cream and Led Zeppelin caught my ears early on.

ECC: What was the music scene like in your native France at the time?

JDP: I was born in St. Tropez and grew up in the south of France in an environment where classical music was very prominent, both at home and in school. We were less than 100 miles from both the Spanish and Italian borders. The radio airwaves were a melting pot of French, Flamenco, Spanish and Italian music. 

ECC: What brought you to collaborate with Mr. Taupin?

JDP: I was working as a producer in Los Angeles throughout the 1980s. In the late ’80s, a mutual friend, producer Mark Paladino asked me to join him in co-producing a song Bernie Taupin was writing with. A few years later came the opportunity to collaborate with him. Being a very private person and very selective about whom he works with, co-writing with Taupin was something that could have only happened on his terms. Needless to say, I was very honored to be asked. To this day I’ve written over a dozen songs with him.

ECC: What brought you, ultimately to our community?

JDP: Originally my parents had moved from France to San Diego in the 1970s. When I arrived from France I first set foot in San Diego, prior to looking for work in Hollywood. I had spent over a decade in L.A. working as a producer, songwriter and bass player. In the early 90s I was a songwriter for Warner and when my contract came to an end, I decided to move to San Diego to rethink and reorganize my music career.

ECC: Do you like living here? 

JDP: La Mesa is a great place for me to live. I am only 2.5 hours from Los Angeles. My recording studio and offices are here in La Mesa and any music venture I take part in begins at Track Star Studios here in La Mesa.

ECC: What do you think of our local music scene?

JDP: San Diego has always had a thriving music scene. Jewel, Jason Mraz and Carly Smithson (from American Idol) and numerous others. I participated quite a bit in the San Diego music scene in the mid-90s, when Cargo Records (the label who launched Blink 182) was active in town. I produced numerous CDs for artists I helped get sign on Cargo. Now I work more with the L.A. music industry, but also, New York, Europe and Asia. Nowadays with the Internet, there are no more borders.

ECC: What is your advise for aspiring musicians?

JDP: Unwavering determination and preparedness is paramount to a music career. If you want to be an artist or songwriter, you must be prepared. 

Have professional recordings of your songs. Unfortunately, these days, the proliferation of home studios and everyone being able to purchase recording software, have inundated music companies with substandard products. This closes doors and makes it harder for everyone.

An artist or performer only gets one chance to make a first impression. I always say that starting a music career should be like starting a business. You need some form of capital and give it three to five years of growth prior to expecting any profits.

ECC: Do you manage artists’ careers?

JDP: Currently Track Star Entertainment manages only a few artists. Gipsy Nouveau (featuring one of the singers of the Gipsy Kings), Earl Thomas (the great blues man from Memphis) and Mario Olivares (a Spanish guitarist from San Diego). Our management clients have a sizable following in Europe, so that is where we currently focus our efforts.

1 COMMENT

  1. Write more, thats all I have
    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally,
    it seems as though you relied on the video to make your
    point. You obviously know what youre talking about,
    why waste your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening
    to read?

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