We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Chetta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
This journey of pursuing an entrepreneurial, creative career has always been about inspiring other people for me. On one hand, this does serve as a great intrinsic motivator because it requires you to work up to a level that is something worth being inspired by. But in the bigger picture, I have always been very aware and beyond appreciative of the family members, friends, and mentors I’ve come into contact with who have either directly or indirectly inspired me to take risks, pursue passion over security, and to never settle with what is “good enough.”
The saddest thing in the world to me is seeing someone who is incredibly passionate about something slowly lose hope and start to minimize their life by making “safer” decisions. If I can play even a small role in reigniting that fire under them I’ll feel like I’ve spent my time here well.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
It’s difficult to separate whether music production is more of a business or an art; realistically it’s both. As a producer, you are in the business of creating and polishing other peoples’ art, but if you do not pay invested attention to detail as an artist would then it will surely hurt your business.
Before I even began producing at the age of about 13-14, I had been trained in classical piano and continued this training until graduating high school. Some days I would go see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra perform, other days I’d attend rock concerts, on Sunday’s I’d perform CCM music at my church, and then I’d go home from all of these and make sad attempts at electronic music. I think it is this variety that allowed me to make parallels between these otherwise wildly different genres of music and bring elements of each into my production today. Each producer brings with them a long history of musical experiences and exposures and this happens to be mine that sets me apart. I like to take the approach of the transparent producer who puts the artist’s sound forward and then draws from my musical experiences like a tool bag to determine what the artist needs to push their sound and brand further.
As far as where I am today business-wise, the foundational mindset that has gotten me here has been always knowing HOW I want to be working and making sure each decision I make lines up with that. Practically speaking for me, this means (1) only working with artists who I consider friends and who’s music I genuinely love, (2) working in a space that I find inspiring, and (3) making my schedule as full and efficient as possible while trying to avoid burning out. The challenging part about knowing exactly how you want to be working is that when life inevitably happens, it will appear as an obstacle trying to get in the way of the criteria you’ve set for yourself. When this happens, I’ve always made a point to find the aspect of the situation I do have control over and put all of my focus into making that as desirable as possible.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way has been that having a healthy perspective is a key factor in staying motivated and disciplined. Being 24 years old now, I often think about how my 14 year old self would be proud of where I am today but my 34 year old self would be unsatisfied with it. Thinking of myself in different dimensions of time like this provides a helpful balance of accomplishment and humility. Because of this I still view everything I work on today as practice; always aiming to learn something new with each song.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since Nashville is a drinking city with a music problem, the bars are definitely the first stop. Kong-Fu in Midtown is one of my favorites; it has arcade games, karaoke rooms, skee ball, ping pong, and giant see-saws. Always a good time. Barcelona Wine Bar is also a must for a classy/casual dinner with some nice wine. And then of course, Top Golf.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Obviously there are so many people/books I could attribute to guiding me along this path, but my friend Nathan Dantzler has played a crucial role in keeping me inspired, motivated, and educated. Spending 5 minutes with this guy is like a year’s worth of education in all things audio. One of the hardest workers I’ve ever met but has also learned when to shut off work-mode and be present with his friends and family; a very important lesson for all of us to learn.
Matt Gill Michael Dove