OddKidOut is a 20-year-old producer (and current Drexel student) has steadily gained a growing following since his days at Philly’s renowned School of Rock where he earned his chops alongside Grammy Award-winning producer David Ivory, soul singer Jaguar Wright, members of Digable Planets and more. He has a bright future which includes deals with adidas Asia, Chevy, Hypebeast and K-Swiss, along with a forthcoming debut EP.
Talk about the mix you made for Master & Dynamic, and how you became affiliated with the brand?
I knew of Master & Dynamic just from being a musician. I had used their headphones in studio sessions before and absolutely loved them. When my manager, Kirkland Lynch, told me that he was friendly with them, I immediately got excited and reached out to them. From there we decided to work on some promo-type stuff together which ultimately lead to the exclusive mix. I was really excited to do the mix because I’ve never been able to release a lot of my beats that I want to share with the world.
Which headphones are your favorite?
My favorite pair are the Master & Dynamic MH40s. First off, the design of the box alone that the headphones come in is amazing. It’s elegantly designed, but also extremely practical, too. The boxing has compartments for each little piece and it allows me to keep my headphone gear organized when I’m on the move—and they sound even better. They have a noise isolating effect which is great when I’m cutting vocals; I feel completely surrounded by the music I’m listening to. Overall, aesthetically and audio-wise, these headphones are really great.
Why do you prefer Master & Dynamic over other audio brands?
I like Master & Dynamic the best because of the quality of their products, the characteristics of their employees and brand overall. When I initially began talking to them, they were very easy to talk to and very humble. They offered a lot of insight on not only their product, but also just life in general and gave me tips on how to be more successful. That’s something that not everyone can do for you, especially when you’ve only been talking to them for a day. They checked in on me, they complimented my music, they cared about me. That meant a lot, and for them to send me a very expensive pair of headphones for free, well that’s just love. And like I said before, these headphones just really sound amazing and look perfect with every outfit that I wear.
You are currently working on your EP. What can fans expect from the project?
My EP is like an autobiography via music. It’s a story of my life and all of the events that I’ve gone through. Each song represents some sort of emotion or event and each song ties into the next, eventually culminating in a full story. The fans can expect more than just what they see on my Instagram; this EP has vocal features and are full length songs. I even rap on one! But the “OddKidOut” taste is still present in each beat and I’m excited to share some more personal things about myself with this release. I hope that the fans can take my story and relate it to themselves; my main goal is to make this project as cathartic for the listeners as possible.
Who are some of your producer idols?
I definitely have a lot of producer idols. J Dilla, Pete Rock, Madlib, DJ Premier, Flying Lotus…all those guys are huge inspirations to me. But also cats like Pharrell, Timbaland…my influences are spread out but as far as producers, those are who I look up to.
What was your experience like at School of Rock?
The School of Rock was such an important part of my life. I began playing there around age 9 and eventually stopped at age 14, but I took lessons there until I was 18. I studied under a professor named Jim Love and he really taught me how to be a well-rounded musician. It’s interesting…when I was there, I was playing classic rock and heavy metal the majority of the time. But then I would go into my lesson with Jim and we would work on Afro-Cuban rhythms and then Jazz standards. Then the next lesson we would just spend the entire hour working on syncopation and polyrhythms. The School of Rock put me in an environment of essential learning. I got a taste of every genre and also found it to be a safe haven because not many kids who I was friends with at the time was into music. Being able to go there and hang with kids more like myself was really awesome. But yeah, I attribute a lot of my musical foundation to Jim and the School of Rock, they really taught me how to play songs, how to understand the format of songs, and how to be a talented and respectful musician. They also helped me and my family out when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, and that’s something I will never forget and am forever grateful for.
Who is an important mentor in your career?
I have so many mentors in my life it’s hard to keep track. Mitch Beer is a musician who I’ve worked with for many years and he has taught me so much about the history of music and also how to network with the right people. Jim Love, as I mentioned before, really set me up for success with his amazing lessons. David Ivory taught me how to format pop songs and showed me what running a real studio looks like. Chuck Treece tipped me off to playing rhythms “behind the beat” or “in the pocket” and I use that every time I sit behind a drum set or behind my MPC. Kam Houff showed me how to write extremely catchy songs that still infuse a lot of musical talent. Gary Dann let me in his jam sessions in Fishtown when I was only 16 and that allowed me to work with A LOT of musicians in the city and helped me solidify my name in Philadelphia. The list goes on and I know I’m forgetting a bunch of others…but those are some of the big ones that have really helped me out over the years.