Michael Saint John of Saint John Recording Studios in Medford. - Jim Craven

Musician wishes he would've started producing earlier

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? I produce music for singers or anyone wanting a professional recording. I've been doing this for 12 years. I've played professionally for 25 years.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I've lived here for six years. I lived in the San Francisco Bay area and Maui, Hawaii, before moving here.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? Playing music with many bands from several different countries. I was a touring and recording drummer for many years. I spent a lot of time in recording studies, recording albums for producers, bands and singers. I knew I could do it myself. I play guitar, mandolin and bass. So I knew I could do everything for my clients. I still travel a lot and tour internationally. I'm on a record with Tom Waits and last year did gigs with local artist Craig Chaquico. I've also played with Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? I would have started earlier. I was so busy touring and traveling in bands and spent so many years doing that. I always knew I would be a great producer, but I waited. I could have started in my teens.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? To move away from the Bay Area. I moved here to produce a record and ended up buying a house. I needed a place to bring a recording studio. It's like I all of the sudden lived here. It was surprising, but I loved it and am very grateful.

Who are your competitors? Other recording studios in the area, but there aren't many producers.

What are your goals? I would like to expand to a couple of employees that do most of the digital audio editing, that's what I spend most of my time doing.

What training or education did you need? My 25 years in the music business playing all the styles of different countries. That would be my main expertise. It's kind of hard to get that without traveling. Playing in places like the Bay area and Maui, there are bands from different areas. Last year, I traveled with and played bass for a band in Thailand. I can teach and help people set up their own recording studios, but I can't teach making musical decisions and what sounds good; that's what a producer does.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? In my experience, a lot of the business I get is from word of mouth, so quality performance and work is important. One client leads to the next. Work with the newest technology and don't start with archaic technology. Just do it and have the confidence that you can.

To suggest ideas for this column, aboutbusinesses that are at least five years old,contact reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463or e-mail

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