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I want to understand what a DJ does when producing a track. For example, let's look at the new track - Martin Garrix feat. Usher - 'Don't Look Down'.

  1. Who wrote the lyrics for this track?
  2. Who wrote the music for this track?
  3. What exactly did Martin Garrix do for this track?
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Garrix, here, has followed a common transition -- from playing other people's records and getting a thorough understanding of how dance music works, to producing his own music. So, he is known as a DJ, but what he is doing when he makes music is producing.

Production covers a lot of activities, but it covers everything about turning an idea into a finished recording. Just to confuse matters, the idea might not fully exist before production starts. It's entirely possible that the recording and the songwriting happened in tandem.

It can be very hands on -- playing instruments, programming sequencers, actively setting up effects. Or it can be entirely supervisory; telling musicians and engineers what to do. And it can be collaborative -- the implication here is that Usher and Garrix worked together on the process of production.

The nearest you're going to get to knowing who wrote a song, is usually the credits. In this case, "Writers: Martijn Garritsen, Usher Raymond, James Abrahart" and "Producers: Martin Garrix, Usher Raymond"

One very likely scenario for a collaboration like this, between a DJ-producer and a singer-songwriter, is this: Garrix could have worked on an instrumental piece at home on a laptop. With this sounding OK, he could have sent an MP3 to Usher, who would have come up with a vocal melody and some words. Then they could have met in a studio, recorded the vocals, tweaked the instrumental, done some final mixing and polishing, to come up with a finished recording.

That's only one possible scenario. There are no fixed rules.

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Okay, here's my GUESS not really knowing anything but the credits.

Writers: Martijn Garritsen, Usher Raymond, James Abrahart Producers: Martin Garrix, Usher Raymond

It's weird in electronic music because when we say "producer" we pretty much mean "person who wrote the track" while in the BIG music world, "producer" generally means "the person who oversees the recording of someone else's song's componenets and then pieces them together in the studio, making them sound good" Usually this is when there is a band, with multiple members/parts which need to actually be recorded, then sequenced. A good producer knows how to get the track to sound "just right". They might suggest that the song do "THIS" here, or that the singer try singing like "this" here. Traditionally, they don't do much in the actual "writing" department. Then there came DJs. DJs will often REMIX another person's music, sometimes only keeping a tiny part of the original. These are usually referenced by saying the original song's artist and name, with a (Martin Garrix Remix) or similar afterwards. Since they were already pretty much doing it, many "DJs" decided to make their own tracks. I believe that since many did this using samples in the beginning rather than originating their own sounds, it became known as producing rather than writing. I could be wrong. Nowadays, the line has blurred a bit, but in this case we know that Martin Garrix considers this to be a track that he himself has "written", well, co-written with Usher and James Abrahart. I'm going to guess that in this song, James Abrahart likely wrote the guitar (or whatever it is) riff in the beginning and perhaps some other things. Usher likely wrote the lyrics and Martin Garrix did the rest. Of course, it is more likely that all three had some input in most every part.

Since they didn't designate, it's easy to assume that Usher did the lyrics, but they might very well have been the three of them collab-ing. Or they wanted to show that Usher did more than just pen the lyrics. Essentially what this says to me is that all three of them wrote the music AND the lyrics, then Usher and Martin Garrix put it all together into a recorded, sequenced, song.

Apparently here mastering is considered part of production, since no one is even listed for mastering. Hope this helps.

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