Meet Dave Padrutt,
the multi-talented Senior Audio Producer for Blue Mountain.
Hi Dave…When did you first realize you had artistic abilities or know that you wanted to be a musician and an artist?
I was a little artist from as early as I can remember. I won my first award for a painting when I was in kindergarten, and I think from then on I just considered the arts as being ‘my thing.’ I was very diligent about progressing in the visual arts throughout my school years. In junior high I starting being recognized for achievements in creative writing, and shortly thereafter I taught myself how to play the guitar and started my own band.
What is your current position at bluemountain.com and can you tell us a little about your background as a musician?
I am a Senior Audio Producer for Blue Mountain. I was first introduced to the greeting card industry after college, working as a graphic designer. I was freelancing on the side; composing music for film and producing my own recordings just for fun. Eventually, the music I was producing on the side got to be a big enough deal that people started to take notice. I was able to switch careers from visual artist to musician. I am largely self-taught as a musician and audio engineer/producer. I have learned a great deal along the way having been fortunate enough to work with some remarkably talented individuals in every aspect of music production and performance.
Could you tell us a little more about your work?
As an audio producer, I am responsible for crafting the recordings that accompany the
art and verse for Blue Mountain eCards. At times, this involves the genesis of pure songwriting. At other times, this may involve my having to learn how to play an instrument that I really don’t know how to play, just to record a part. At other times,
I may have to conduct a string quartet or sing like a cartoon kangaroo with an authentic Australian accent or lead a jazz trio…it all depends on the specific needs of a particular greeting card. My job requirements and even the method by which we work can be random and require a great deal of improvisation at times; and I wouldn’t have
it any other way. I love that I do something that continuously keeps me on my toes.
Which is your favorite ecard you’ve created and what makes it special to you?
I think my favorite is ‘La Birthday’ song. The inspiration behind that card came from my tendency to break into an exaggerated, comedic, French caricature voice at any given moment for no apparent reason. (I’ve been doing it since French class in the 6th grade.) Arbitrarily, I have retained a lot of the French vocabulary lessons about food, which is why that is a major theme in the card. I was able to offer some lyrics and even some art direction during the production, on top of producing and performing the song. It was just one of many fantastic experiences I have had collaborating with the writers and animators that I am so lucky to work with–and the end result is an absolutely delightful little greeting. Another is the Reggae Birthday Song that we had a great time recording!
There are so many great artists and influences out there. This is a difficult question to answer! One of my favorite recording artists has always been Bob Dylan. I’ve always been inspired by his ability to make something brilliant out of very modest building materials. He can conjure up clever, colorful stories with a fairly simple use of vocabulary. He’s written beautiful, effective, poignant songs using very unassuming melodies and arrangements. He’s got that unforgiving, even controversial storyteller’s singing voice that he uses so well to sell it all. Something I should ask myself about every project I work on is: am I really selling this? Is this really going to affect someone? What Would Bob Do?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’ll still be wondering what I’m going to do when I grow up.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist who’s interested in the same career field you’re in?
I have made it to where I am today with a lot of hard work and diligence; but I’ve also made it a point to not take myself too seriously. I think that I have a pretty healthy sense of humor about myself and have tried to keep ‘having fun’ as an important priority in my life. This is important stuff to keep in mind for the professional greeting card musician!
On a final note, Dave, what are some things you like to do when you’re away from work?
I have two incredible sons who keep me more motivated and inspired than anything else in the world. Among other things, we are railroading enthusiasts together. We spend a
lot of time hanging out by train tracks, watching the cars roll by.
I’m also a runner. I love to run and to race, and I commit a great deal of time and energy to it. I believe that the benefits of running, both physical and psychological, are innumerable.
As you can tell from my work that is shown above, I paint and draw quite a bit, too. Sometimes I refurbish old furniture in a fresh and funky way, but that’s usually just
in the summer when it’s warm enough to garbage-pick for canvases!
Thanks so much, Dave!
We hope you know that your considerable talents are appreciated and enjoyed by