Meet YoungKio, The 19-Year-Old Netherlands Producer Behind 'Old Town Road'

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Meet YoungKio, The 19-Year-Old Netherlands Producer Behind 'Old Town Road' Forbes The success of Old Town Road has provided Netherlands-born producer YoungKio'a handful of rare accomplish

AmsterdamNews.net

YoungKio J.A

Since its release, “Old Town Road” has become the No. 1 song in America, broken the record for most streams in a week with 143 million (the previous record was 116 million, held by Drake’s “In My Feelings”), and racked up hundreds of millions of views with its accompanying music video.

The song’s production, though, had humble beginnings. At just 19 years old, Netherlands-born producer YoungKio has quickly went from an amateur to a highly-requested new talent. I spoke with him about his rapid rise to popularity. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

How did your production career get started? Also, what do you think it is that makes your production stand out from the rest?

I started making beats in mid-2016. That’s when I got [FL Studio] and started playing around. In my opinion, I became good at it pretty fast, so I started selling the beats on my YouTube channel without any beat store. I just put my email in the description, and sometimes people would lease a beat for, like, $20 or something. I didn’t have money at the time, so I just saved the money from the leases until I got the $180 to buy the BeatStars membership for a year. I saw other big YouTube producers using BeatStars so I was like, I have to get this to expand my brand. From there I started selling beats with the website, and every month I got more people to follow me.

I think it’s more of me creating my own sound. Sometimes I hear big songs and I take the elements of those songs and put it in my production. That’s what I think makes me different. My whole mindset is different than the other peoples’. With “Old Town Road,” I’ve been around other producers and they told me that when they heard the sample, [Nine Inch Nails’ “Ghost IV – 34”] they would never would have used it or never thought to put it in a beat.

The song took off very quickly, so how did the business side work out? Sometimes when the beat to a popular song was leased online, the producer doesn’t always get compensated properly in the long run. Were you worried that you were were going to miss out on your share?

Lil Nas X purchased the most basic lease, so [contractually] he could only sell 3,000 copies, and he would have to extend the agreement if he wanted to sell more copies. I found the song only 10 days after it dropped, so I contacted him and I was like, ‘Yo, I like the song, send me the cover art, I want to promote it.’ We just had a good relationship. The song started doing better, and I recognized it had already sold more copies than it should have from the BeatStars lease. We were really close, so he also told me, “Yo, bro, if this ever gets big, you’re coming with me.” When the song started getting big, he said since we only have the lease agreements, we need another one because it’s a whole new situation. He came up with another agreement, I got my team and he got his team, and we figured it out, and right now everything is perfect.

You recently signed to CashMoneyAP, another producer who built his career using BeatStars and YouTube. What has that been like and what made you want to sign with him?

When I was in LA, I was with him every day. I’m going to move to LA soon, too. I got into this Twitter group chat with all these producers. One of the producers was a CashMoneyAp fanboy, so he added to him to the group. CashMoneyAp, when he gets added to the groups, he doesn’t leave or talk much, he just interacts with the people. In the group chat he would say he’s in the studio with artists and he gave us smaller producers a chance to send unfinished beats over so maybe we could get a placements. He used some of my melodies and some of the work I sent him before “Old Town Road,” so he was also kind of looking at me. When “Old Town Road” dropped and it was getting some plays, he was like I’m want you on the team.

At what point did you realize that “Old Town Road” was going to be a big hit?

Whenever I hear someone over my beats and I really like the song, I just promote it and even if it only gets 2,000 plays, I don’t care. With “Old Town Road,” I just heard it and I liked it, but I didn’t expect anything from it. It started to gain a following and when it got to a million plays on Soundcloud and Spotify, I was like damn, this is the peak, it’s not gonna go any further. I was very happy that it was my first song to hit a million plays. After that, it went so fast. Then the memes and everything came. Before Nas X made music, he had a meme page that already had a big following. He used the meme page to promote the song. He sent me some memes so that I could post it, then he would retweet it. He was smart and just used his fan base to push the music. After that, it hit Tik Tok and started going viral there. Then it started hitting the charts, and that’s when I knew it was going to be big.

Where do you see your career going as a producer?

Right now, my priority is working with big artists. I want to keep my beat store up because that’s what made everything happen in the first place. I really want to work with as many artists as possible, really spread my sound everywhere. I also want to work with artists from different genres. I want to expand as a real producer, not just as a hip-hop producer. I like being versatile. That’s what makes producing fun. If you do the same stuff every time, it gets old.


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