Have you ever believed something, only to be disillusioned once the proverbial curtain was pulled back?
Living in L.A., it’s hard to be fooled by much. If you’re not in the industry yourself, you definitely know (or know of) someone who is. Behind-the-scenes magic is an oft-talked subject at cash registers, parties (of long ago), and grocery lines divided by six feet.
One of the most common industry misconceptions? That artists write the songs they are most famously known for.
“As a songwriter, and before being a songwriter too, I always thought that if an artist did a song they probably wrote it,” laughs Bobby Brackins. “But that’s definitely not the case.”
Bobby knows all too well what really goes into making a hit song, because he’s made and contributed to quite a few himself. The Oakland native turned L.A. transplant is a major force in the industry, creating pop tracks and hip hop beats almost as if by magic. His songwriting credits include Justin Bieber’s ‘I’m The One,’ and Tinashe’s ‘2 On’ among others.
While some would argue that Bobby’s first big hit was ‘143’ featuring Ray-J, or the entirety of his solo EP To Live For which featured ‘Hot Box’ with Mila J & G-Eazy, as well as ‘My Jam’ with Zendaya and Jeremih, family and friends saw him dropping major bangers back in high school. In fact, it was a teenage Bobby’s talent and hustle that got him where he is today.
Known as Go Dav, Bobby got his start in this hometown Bay Area group.
“In high school we were just making music for fun,” he tells host and publisher Brian Calle on this week’s edition of the L.A. Weekly podcast. “Then one of our songs hit the radio and we realized we could do it for real.”
After making it big on local radio stations, Bobby signed his first record deal at 21. He quickly moved to Los Angeles and began to widen his circle of artists, friends and clients.
Clients being the A-list names that have asked for his help, collaborating with the young artist to write and produce some of our favorite tracks. Brian wants to know, how do you go from writing a track to it being picked up?
“Sometimes it can be a fast thing, sometimes it can be a year later thing,” answers Bobby. “You never know when somethings going to fall into the lap of somebody. You just keep making music and hoping that the right songs get to the right places.”
A lot of times, those right places are online. For aspiring artists and creators like himself, what platforms does Bobby suggest having a presence on?
“A little bit of all the above,” he tells Brian. “But I mean, definitely Instagram – I feel like is still kind of the leader in what people look at the most – Triller and TikTok are close seconds.”
“A lot of artists don’t want to do the TikTok dances and stuff but the kids love it. So if you have a song that gets popular on one of those platforms it’s only gonna help spread the song’s awareness,” he continues. “So like everything – you kind of limit yourself just sticking to one platform you know? You want to be on SoundCloud, you want to have your stuff on TikTok and Triller, you want to have your stuff on Instagram. You know? I use Instagram the most myself.”
If you’re trying to manifest your destiny, you won’t get there by shutting any doors, explains the artist. You have to put yourself out there to catch the big fish.
“I feel like if you’re an artist you never really know what platform you may end up getting the most engagement on, so don’t limit yourself,” he advises.
With isolation at its peak, 2020 has been nothing if not a good reminder that you have to work to ensure you’re consistently putting yourself out there, agrees Brian.
“You never know … literally you just never know,” enthuses Bobby. “All you can do is – if you’re excited and passionate about something [put it out there] and if people enjoy it they’ll share it with others. You never know who is going to end up sending you a direct message one day.”
“So everyone check your DMs because you never know what might be in there!” Brian laughs.
Writing a good song and having it picked up – either sung by himself or another artist – is a high Bobby will never tire of chasing.
“I feel like every song I’ve worked on that’s ended up really touching people and reaching the masses is always a new rush and a new high so it’s hard to really pinpoint what I’ve been the most excited about, it’s always a roller-coaster,” Bobby shares candidly.
There is one “holy shit” moment that really sticks out to him though.
“When the Bieber song came out that was pretty crazy cause it literally – that song came out and it debuted on the Hot 100,” he says. “Which is insane, because a lot of huge artists have never had a number one song on the Hot 100 and the fact that it debuted in the very first week on the Hot 100? It was kind of like ‘YO this is a thing!’”
Whether he’s writing music, or pursuing his new alias, Lata Harbor (a collaborative project between Bobby and his closest friends), Bobby is manifesting his own destiny everyday.
“You never really know where life is going to take you,” wisens the star. You have to rely on yourself to make those dreams happen.