Producer Profile: Bruce Retief

Jeremy Koeries

This week we chat to award-winning South African composer and producer, BRUCE RETIEF.


What made you decide to be a music producer?

I used to be a school teacher and always did music on the side.  As time went by I realised that I enjoyed music far more than teaching, and I think I also did a better job of it! I eventually quit teaching and began to build my skills and gear as a professional music maker.


When did you get started in music production?

Professionally in 2008, but as an amateur, 1991.


Which artists or projects have you produced for?

Loyiso, Zwai Bala, Neville D, Adam Barnard, a number of international acts, Kirk Whalum. The feature films “Zambezia” and “Khumba”.


Do you use hardware, software or a hybrid approach?

All my work starts on Apple’s fantastic DAW: Logic Pro, and from there I get a map of the song; tempo, key / time signature, chords, verse-chorus arrangement, etc. I then am free to add live instruments / voice/ midi tracks to build the song how I see fit.


How different is composing/producing music for film from producing for recording artists?

When creating music for a film it’s very different from music for someone’s album. The main reason for this is because the music has to fit a very specific emotion which the director needs to enhance the scene. That means that the composer can’t just write whatever comes to his mind, he has to create music with a specific goal in mind. And this makes it much harder.


Mention one career highlight. 

Recording the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra in Hollywood for a film score which l had composed, and then going to mix the score at George Lucas’s Skywalker Sound in San Francisco. Sublime!


What advice do you give your clients most often?

Have you considered finding a real job? haha just kidding. Confidence. I think many people struggle with confidence, so I often spend time building them up. Also, singing technique / coaching while recording voice. Especially for inexperienced artists.


Are there any upcoming projects we can look forward to hearing you on?

I am about to release a collection of worship songs featuring various artists and songs which represent my work over the last few years. Also, I am currently working on the film score for a movie set in India – very interesting!


To see and listen to some of Bruce’s work visit the videos tab on his website.


5 thoughts on “Producer Profile: Bruce Retief

  1. So proud of this talented music producer/composer. Indeed he takes a personal interest with whom he works. I have known Bruce Retief to work very hard at what he does but with God’s grace he remains a humble man. Your music will continue to inspire and motivate many listeners far and near.

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