Interview with Keith Clizark
by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Christian Lamitschka: Hip-Hop music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who’s never seen or heard you before.
Keith Clizark: I’m a 12x platinum award winning producer from Los Angeles CA. My musical inspiration derives from 70’s soul music, funk and classic rock. My music is extremely visual, like a movie with out a picture.
Christian Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were the highlights?
Keith Clizark: I must say with out a doubt is inking a distribution deal with INgroove/Universal Music Group
Christian Lamitschka: What’s your latest CD and how’s it doing?
Keith Clizark: My latest album “Still Burin” is doing well, the first single (Fresh Fly Full Remix) is getting major radio spins and the video was premiered on MTV2 “Sucka Free Sunday’
Christian Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD, is there a story behind it?
Keith Clizark: Still Burnin is more then a title, it’s a way of life for millions around the world. The whole album was driven by cannabis.
Christian Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
Keith Clizark: Songs come easy to me since I make the beat or co-produced with my production team. The flow of the music inspires the direction of the lyrics.
Christian Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album.
Keith Clizark: Each song is in its own lane. Each song is a well balanced bind of live instrumentation and programmed drums to give it that edge. The one song that stands out sonically is, Pink Lemon Aid Remix by Risse Cakkes, my female artist from Houston TX produced by Streets and Trickey and mixed by me.
Christian Lamitschka: What’s the difference between your last CD and the current one?
Keith Clizark: I’m in a whole new space and my inspirations are different. After producing platinum records for Snoop, I’m still searching for the perfect beat.
Christian Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you thing is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
Keith Clizark: First thing I would say is, the music it is well produced and the concepts are relatable.
Christian Lamitschka: What will your next single be?
Keith Clizark: Actually, I’m releasing 2 singles at once; “If The Price Is Right” and “Pink Lemon Aid” to work the summer.
Christian Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
Keith Clizark: I can’t really put myself in a box. I just record what I’m feeling at the time. My style is universal.
Christian Lamitschka: What’s your favorite song among all the songs you’ve recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Keith Clizark: That’s a good question. I got to say, “Go Away” a song I produced for Snoop Dogg. Snoop was on tour at the time and I took that time to come up with some beats for his next album. I wanted to make something that was different but not to left field for him. It came to me as I was making a peanut butter sandwich. I literally dropped the knife and ran into the studio before I lost the ideal. I have the most fun composing music. We got the beat to Snoop on tour and he flipped when he heard it. He played it for Dr. Dre and he liked it so much that he incorporated it into the intro of his live stage show, not to mention I got a chance to sit with him while he mixed it in the studio.
Christian Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?
Keith Clizark: I’m the master of my creativity. I bow to no one!
Christian Lamitschka: There’s a lot of work that goes into a Number One hit … what did it take to make it in your case?
Keith Clizark: I put nothing less then a 100% in everything I produce because the people decide what a hit is. It’s funny like that in the music industry. The way radio works today, you don’t have to have a good record, if the radio station plays it enough the people will eventually start liking it. That’s why they call it Programming.
Christian Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?
Keith Clizark: I speak at all the music conferences around the country, It give’s me an opportunity to really interact with my fan base and give them personal insight on making it in the industry.
Christian Lamitschka: Who do you look up musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
Keith Clizark: Off the top, I would have to say George Clinton because of his visionary style of music. The name Clizark was given to me because of my love of Mozart.
Christian Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s Hip-Hop Music versus its roots and where do you see it going in the future?
Keith Clizark: I love where Hip-Hop music is today. It’s constantly evolving with each generation.
Christian Lamitschka: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between „traditional“ and „new“ Hip-Hop music?
Keith Clizark: It’s always evolving.
Christian Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Keith Clizark: I would do away with all of the major record companies because they are not for the artist, they are about making money, and making money is cool, but at the sometime it limits the growth of the music because A&R’s are scared of taking a chance in fear of loosing there job. That’s why we keep hearing the same thing just recycled. Independent is the way to go.
Christian Lamitschka: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Keith Clizark: I no it’s cliché to say, but I really love the whole process. If I had to really pick one thing, it would be recording by far.
Christian Lamitschka: Are you doing anything to take Hip-Hop music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?
Keith Clizark: I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, I’m just trying to prefect my craft and if I change the current borders along the way, so be it.
Christian Lamitschka: What was your big break that got you into the music business?
Keith Clizark: Not trying to seem cocky but being born was my big break. You have to understand I was raised in Long Beach, CA. along with future stars like Snoop and Warren G. To me a big break is, being prepared when opportunity presents it self. I didn’t choose music, it choose me.
Christian Lamitschka: Before you became a star, where your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?
Keith Clizark: It was and still is a struggle, you know what they say, there’s no gain with out it. Here’s the thing, success is not a place it’s a journey that never ends unless you stop.
Christian Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
Keith Clizark: The first time I head this song called “Flash Light” by George Clinton. I knew at that moment what my place in the world was. I was put here to make good music for the world.
Christian Lamitschka: What inspired you to become a songwriter?
Keith Clizark: The world and its condition.
Christian Lamitschka: What drives you?
Keith Clizark: The Creator and the love of my family and friends
Christian Lamitschka: What does it take to be a Hip-Hop star?
Keith Clizark: I don’t think that’s my place to say, but if being a star is what you want, go for it, just be willing to take the good with the bad and stay true to yourself and don’t take no for an K.C.. You might have a shot.
Christian Lamitschka: What’s unique about you that differentiate you from other artists?
Keith Clizark: Lol… when the Creator created me he broke the mold. I really don’t no how to K.C. that. The one thing I can say is, that I’m under my own control, totally independent.
Christian Lamitschka: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Keith Clizark: There’s nothing challenging about making the music, but on the business side it’s a constant challenge to gain respect and keeping yourself relevant.
Christian Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you’re proud of?
Keith Clizark: With out a doubt it is working in the studio with Dr. Dre .
Christian Lamitschka: Any thoughts of retirement ahead?
Keith Clizark: I want stop till the Fat lady sings.
Christian Lamitschka: Who’s your biggest critic, yourself or others?
Keith Clizark: I would have to say, myself because I’m a perfectionist when it come to the music or any aspect of my life.
Christian Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Keith Clizark: Hang out with my 2 daughters Aanela and Kamila. That’s the best relaxation to me.
Christian Lamitschka: Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?
Keith Clizark: I wouldn’t change anything, because everything I went through was necessary to get to where I am .
Christian Lamitschka: What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?
Keith Clizark: Nothing, I embrace the good as well as the bad.
Christian Lamitschka: Is there anyplace you haven’t played that you would like to?
Keith Clizark: I would love to play in Amsterdam.
Christian Lamitschka: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
Keith Clizark: Pure energy!!!!
Christian Lamitschka: When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
Keith Clizark: Some times, but not often. When I’m on the road its all business.
Christian Lamitschka: Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they allow you a private life?
Keith Clizark: I stay under the radar, but when I go to certain event I’m often approached by fans.
Christian Lamitschka: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
Keith Clizark: The best way to follow me is to log on to: www.linkedin.com/keithclizark
Christian Lamitschka: What’s the best compliment a fan has ever given you?
Keith Clizark: My music made them want to get into music.
Christian Lamitschka: What’s your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?
Keith Clizark: The national anthem.
Christian Lamitschka: What message would you like to send your European fans?
Keith Clizark: If you can conceive it you can achieve it.
Christian Lamitschka: You have a new love in your life, can you tell us something about it?
Keith Clizark: I like to keep that private.
Christian Lamitschka: Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can tell?
Keith Clizark: Lol… I plead the 5th.
Christian Lamitschka: Describe what a perfect day is like for you.
Keith Clizark: I’m really simple. Just wake up and being able to do music.
Christian Lamitschka: Most careers don’t last as long as yours, what’s given your career the staying power?
Keith Clizark: I just don’t do one thing, I’m very diverse. I’m really getting into directing videos
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )