Interview with Frank Fitzpatrick | Songwriter & Executive Music Producer | Beat The World Soundtrack
Frank Fitzpatrick is a Grammy-nominated songwriter, award-winning filmmaker and multi-platinum record producer. Frank has worked with Hip Hop icons from Ice Cube to Fat Joe, and R&B stars from Jill Scott to Anthony Hamilton, sold over 6 million soundtracks (Friday, In Too Deep, Scary Movie, Queen of the Damned, Jump In) and contributed to box office hits and franchises grossing well over a billion dollars.
Fitzpatrick also is the Founder and Director of EarthTones.org and HipHopConnect.com, whose mission is to raise social-consciousness and connect people across the globe through the power of music and media.
Who are your main musical influences?
I have been blessed to have been exposed to some of the world’s most amazing artists at a young age, and having had the opportunity to work with many more during my musical career. I grew up in Detroit during the end of the Motown era, and when Detroit was considered one of the Rock and Roll centers of the US. As a kid, I had a rich musical diet both – through records and live shows – and was particularly inspired by acts like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Earth, Wind and Fire and Gil Scott Heron on one hand, and Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Yes, the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan on the other. And that is only through my teens, prior to working with Prince. Everything I do – from Hip Hop to Pop, has a little bit of that 70’s Soul Influence, as well as a cinematic approach to production. Later, I produced a lot of live jazz, working with legends like Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughn, Herbie Hancock and Ray Charles. I was always looking to artists and producers who were pushing the envelope of creativity and trying to say something real in their music.
If you’re life was a song, what song would it be?
That is really tough. There are so many amazing songs for each expression of my life. For my pure appreciation of life, it could be Maurice White’s (EWF) “Gratitude”; for my continual search for new ways to be creative and touch people, it could be Bono’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”; for being true to my heart, it might be Bob Marley’s “One Love.” There are songs for each relationship, mood and desire. Which is, to me, the beauty of both my life and what music brings to it.
Do you support any specific charities and how do you give back as an artist?
I have always looked at music as a tool to help people, the same way it helped me growing up in a tough city like Detroit. Almost all the projects I do now are affiliated with the mission of my non-profit organization, EarthTones (“Healing the World Through Music”). I focus on creating and contributing to films and music that raise awareness, and help support important social causes. The Beat the World Soundtrack is part of this in two ways:
1) I only chose to work with artists who have something important to say, and consciously use their music and lives to make the world a better place.
2) Part of the proceeds go to support scholarships for students at Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy.
Do you feel people finally see the positivity Hip Hop brings to our Culture?
I believe the shift in awareness is happening – both in the audience and in more conscientious artists getting recognition. I see it more on a global level, where it is still emerging as a voice of the poeple than here in the US where Hip Hop became such an industry-driven phenomenon.
What was it like working with one of Hip Hop’s pioneers, KRS-One?
KRS-One is a great human being, an amazing artist, and a true pro to work with. There is no BS or fluff. He is on-point and on purpose, so it was a true pleasure. For Beat the World, where I was putting together collaborations between some of the world’s top conscious voices in Hip Hop, KRS-One was an essential player. He is one of the founding fathers.
What is your connection with Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy?
I have known Debbie and her husband Norman for a number of years and have been incredibly impressed by the work they are doing to help kids and keep the integrity of dance alive. She is another amazing talent with a heart as big as a house. Just as I see music as a critical tool for helping young people across the world to connect to themselves and one another, Debbie works tirelessly to do that through dance.
What do you want your Legacy to be? What Impact do you hope to make through your work?
Along with raising the consciousness of, connecting, and empowering millions of people across the globe through music, my dream is to help the powers-that-be realize the value that music has as a tool for personal and social transformation so they will support it to the fullest extent possible.
What are some of the big goals you plan on achieving in the near future?
I’m working on several projects that I am excited about, including a documentary series called Music: The Healer, to highlight artists and programs that have contributed to major social shifts through their music, a music and film series call Scenes in Jazz, to support music education for youth, and a series of workshops and content on Music and Healing.
What does Hip Hop mean to you on a personal level?
Hip Hop is probably the largest global music-drivien cultural movement for youth today, making it an essential platform for what I am trying to do with my work. Because I have had some notable success with Hip Hop artists and film soundtracks, I feel the personal desire and obligation to help bring those worlds together.
Anything you’d like to share about yourself, work, or in general?
I put myself – my experience, my passion, my purpose all in the music and the projects. I would love for the soundtrack for Beat the World to be more than just another collection of songs. I would love it to be a doorway for people to go deeper into the work that these artists are doing and to help create more awareness for the listeners, the community and the industry about the power we have in music, and in joining together through it to create a better future.
Frank- Thank you for sharing your insights, goals, and dreams with us. Your message has been so inspiring and uplifting. I will definitely spread this message, and I’m humbled to play a part in something that is making an impact around the world.
To learn more about Frank Fitzpatrick visit www.frankfitzpatrick.com
For information about the Beat The World Soundtrack visit http://bit.ly/nIF190
“Music was always my channel for emotional connection-to the audience and to myself. When my music can make someone smile, laugh or cry, remember something beautiful or forget something painful, I know I have done my job.” – Frank Fitzpatrick