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Grammy Winning producer Focus Interview with Spate Magazine

What's up Focus..., for those who are new to the name, who are you and what do do you do?

I go by Focus... My real name is Bernard Edwards, Jr. Son of famed bassist and producer, Bernard Edwards of the legendary disco group CHIC. I have been in the music industry for a little over 20yrs. I've won 2 Grammys and been on records that have sold over 35million+ records worldwide. My career's peak happened when I joined the Aftermath team back in 2001. I left in 2008 but now i'm back rocking with the Doc!

When did you first start producing music? When did you know this was going to be your career?

Singers always claim they started singing at 3/4 yrs old and it always makes me laugh but I truly started producing songs at 6/7 yrs of age. It was for my family at first but this is how, and where, I started learning how to compose, write, arrange and mix compositions. I knew I wanted to be a producer when I went to work with my father. I thought he was the coolest cat in the world. I idolized my father so I went after everything I saw him doing.

Where do you draw your musical influences from?

I have musical mentors ranging from Stevie Wonder and Prince to DJ Premier and Dr. Dre. It all depends on my mood and the creative circumstances. I mostly gather my creative juices from my loving and supportive family. They are my everything and knowing that they are my GOD given responsibility, I have no choice but to keep it moving.

You have been working with Dr. Dre on and off for sometime now, what is the greatest piece of knowledge he has provided you over the years?

Dre just allowed me to be around him while he was just being "Dr. Dre". Dre isn't really a talker. He is a perfectionist that expects results and working for him all these years taught me to demand more out of myself and less from those around me in order to achieve the goals I set for myself. Since our re-connection, he has me learning the importance of collaborative efforts. I never collab'd in my entire career so it's new, exciting and challenging at times but worth the effort.

You have worked with some of the greats- Busta Rhymes, Beyonce, 50 Cent, The Game..and of course Dre, who have you not worked with yet that is on your bucket list and why?

More GREATS!!! Mary J Blige, Brandy, Kim Burrell, Usher (again), Pharrell, Eminem, Prince, and Stevie Wonder. I want to work with these people to see what they bring out of my creative spirit. Being fans of them and their music for so long, I can only imagine what I would do in an effort to impress them.

Do you feel motivated and competitive with the where the music industry is right now?

Not really. Back when I was coming up, the Grammys were the Oscars for musicians and now that the talent bar has dropped tremendously, it doesn't hold the same value to me. If I beat out a producer that I don't feel as a threat or better yet, I don't see him as competition, then what have I truly won? What did I really accomplish? Just another trophy. I miss the real music makers and the cats who posed the threats to my career while I was coming up.

How does Focus celebrate the small successes?

Hugs and kisses from the family! I know, sounds corny but there is nothing like real love during those real moments from the real people that are really in your corner.

What advice can you give new producers entering the game now?

Become more organic and less robotic. The music game should be more about the MUSIC and less about the game and when you attain the place where the world hears you, will you stand out or blend in? All robots do the same things, what others tell/ show them to do! Be original!!!!!

Whats' next on your agenda? Who are you currently working with?

I want to score film. I would like to make "Pharrell" moves in my career so I recently got together with people I trust and we are formulating plans now to make moves to further this transition.

Where can we find you online?

twitter.com/focus3dots and www.focus.bandcamp.com
I also have reverbnation and soundcloud pages.

Any last shouts?

Salute to Dre, Ty and everyone over at Aftermath, my wife and kids who are my life, to music for never giving up on me, and everyone over at iStandard.

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