This award-winning, RIAA certified gold music producer from Detroit, Michigan is setting the bar high for producers. The 25-year-old is doing the unthinkable by creating beat making videos and mentoring on his YouTube platform. David “DDS” Smith versatility behind the keyboards, and his video production abilities have recently landed him a partnership with Native Instruments, creating videos for them (which most people would dream of doing). This music fanatic is on to something, and making his hometown proud along the way. Check out what DDS has to sayin this interview.
Can you please tell the readers why you decided to create beat making videos on YouTube?
I watch a lot of YouTube. When I was learning how to make beats, I turned to YouTube to help me learn different techniques. During that time, I was watching different producers show off their skills while teaching others. So eventually, I wanted to showcase my own skills and beats. It was another way for me to post my beats online without it seeming so boring, like music with a photo in the background. People love visuals, so why not make a beat making video?
Having almost 17,000 subscribers is a lot. How did you build up your fan base?
Well, there are a few different factors that played into that. At first, my channel was slowly growing because I did a project on YouTube that I called the 365 Project. Which was me posting my instrumentals on youtube everyday for the year of 2014. I did that for seven to eight months. That alone gave me a few thousand subscribers. From there, I posted the track I produced for Dej Loaf, “Try Me.” At that particular time, I was the only person with that track on YouTube. The song ended up blowing up and went to over 3,000,000 views on my channel and also gave me another few thousand subscribers. Unfortunately, at that point I stopped the 365 Project and slowed down on YouTube to focus on making more beats and sending them out. I say unfortunately because that would have really been the prime time to push everything and allow my channel to grow even faster. So from that point in time, which was July of 2014, I randomly posted videos. Maybe once every few months. In February of 2016, I decided to get back on YouTube consistently and from there I was uploading a video every Sunday. A few months later, that became me uploading videos two to three times per week. Then a few months after that, I started publishing about five to seven videos per week, and I still keep that up to this day. The videos range from, beat making, tutorials, beats, advice and more. So now I have constant growth on my channel because I am constantly posting content.
How much time are you spending to make these videos? Please explain the process.
Depending on what kind of video I am working on the length of time can be 30 minutes to a couple of hours. For my beat making videos, I set up the camera and lighting, and just start making a beat. Once I finish the beat I go and edit in final cut. With the beat making videos there isn’t much to edit. I just color grade the video and pick a start and end point then export. From there I will upload it to YouTube, edit the tags and description and schedule the video. For the videos with me talking, it is the same process, but just a shorter time.
How does it make you feel knowing that people are inspired by your videos?
It makes me feel great! It is one of the best feelings to me. I know what it’s like to be going through tough times trying to balance your life and pursuing your dreams and goals. So when people tell me that I inspired them to keep working through whatever it is they are going through, it feels great. But even if the person isn’t going through a tough time and they are inspired, it’s still great. One of my favorite comments came from a kid who was 10 years old, in Germany, who said, he watches my videos every single day and because of my videos, his mother bought him a Native Instruments Maschine to begin making beats. That meant a lot to me!
Seeing as though you post new videos almost everyday, how do you motivate yourself to keep up new content?
It’s honestly a lot of work to make videos. But, it’s something that I enjoy it. So staying motivated isn’t that hard. But on those days where I don’t feel like making a video, I think about all of the loyal viewers who always look forward to my videos. On top of that, a lot of opportunities come from YouTube. So the more quality content I produce, the more opportunities may pop up!
Would you encourage other people to make a YouTube channel and why?
I try to encourage as many creatives as I can to get on YouTube! Millions of people are on YouTube everyday. YouTube even comes on the new TVs, and phones! It’s a big community where people can find and build their own audience. You never know who is watching your videos. For me, I have gotten a few companies reaching out to me—because of YouTube, not because of the placements I have. So that means if these companies are reaching out to me because of the brand I have created for myself on YouTube, that means anyone can take their talent to YouTube and grow their brand. Not to mention that YouTube can become a form of passive income. It may not be a lot but if you make an extra hundred dollars a month off of videos you posted months ago, I think that’s good!
Do you have any favorite videos that you've uploaded on your channel so far?
My favorite video on my channel is a video called “Keep Pushing: My Story Part.1 (How I Went From Working A 9to5 to Living Off My Music).” This is my favorite video because I tried to make it like a documentary about myself. I tried to make a whole production out of it. But the message behind it is what makes it my favorite because it tells my story.
The fact that you are collaborating with Native Instruments is a huge deal. Please explain how this came about.
Yes! It’s a huge deal! I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work with Native Instruments. Well, if you go to my channel, there are hundreds of videos of me making beats using Native Instruments Hardware, Maschine Studio, Maschine Jam, Maschine Mikro and Komplete Kontrol. I have worked so hard and put out so many videos using their equipment that when you search things like “Native Instruments,” “Maschine Beat Making,” etc., I pop up. Even when you may be watching someone else videos, you’ll see me somewhere on the side as a suggestion. So over in Germany, someone in their office saw some of my videos and liked it. They reached out to me and the rest is history.
Do you have any specific goals for the rest of this year?
My goals are to continue to work on being better in all ways. Make better music, make better videos, make better relationships, take better photos and continue to grow!
What does DDS have coming up next for us?
I am working on a few things. I am working with a few artist to put out projects completely produced by me, so be on the look out for that. On top of those few projects, I want to put out my own compilation with some of my favorite artists. Then I want to put out my own instrumental album! Also, I will have a lot of videos coming on the newly announced Native Instruments Maschine MK3 and Komplete Kontrol!
To keep up with DDS you can follow him on Twitter/Instagram/YouTube at @dds825, or visit his website ddsproductions.net.