Bubba McCarthy is a notable and notorious musician and producer who has worked with people like Jennifer Hudson, John Newman and Cyndi Lauper just to name a few. He is best known as the principal music director for Simon Cowell on X-factor and we had the privilege to ask him a few questions :
Hi Bubba & Welcome To Odyssey,
The Xfactor is a talent contest seen by millions of viewers every week. How do you manage the pressure?
The pressure is very high but you've got to trust in your ability. I've got a strong team around me and I have my studio organised in such a way that the output is maximised for my production. Sometimes Simon Cowell would change the song at the last minute, leaving me with hardly any time to get everything produced. In some weird way, I'm prepared for that because that's just the nature of TV music production. It's not for the faint-hearted and also I also believe I through my experience and the hours of grind I've gone through, this sort of pressure comes along with being in such positions as I have with the Xfactor.
Describe the process from the track being chosen for the contestant to it being performed live on TV.
So, in the morning, I will told by Simon Cowell which track he has chosen for that particular contestant. Then there will be more detail on the style. So it could be a One Direction track in the style of a reggaeton beat. I then pull the rehearsal track into the Ableton and maybe it to a click. I work out the key and map out which instruments will work with the track whilst simultaneously checking out references. I have 6-8 hours to work on the track before I send in a demo. Once feedback is given, I make changes and send it off. I will work on 2 tracks a day for 2-3 months. It's brutal, haha. There then might be small changes to be made one the contestants rehearse with it. It's a gruelling process but worth it. To work with Biff Stannard and Simon Cowell is an absolute privilege and I definitely feel spoilt.
How was it being the principal music producer for Simon Cowell on the Xfactor?
It was an incredible experience. Intense but worth it. Simon is very smart and so he knows what works. He's not scared to make last minute changes but he trusts his team to execute what he demands to the exact detail. Working with someone of that standing is eye opening. I've definitely learnt a lot.
What DAW do you use when working on the Xfactor?
It's mainly Ableton, as for me, its very user friendly and I'm used to the keyboard shortcuts that can be used to speed my production process.
What are the primary plugins you use when producing?
I use Kontakt, Omnisphere, Keyscape, Soundtoys, Waves some of the Ableton Plugins. I would say that these are the core plugins that I use.