Stick-to-itiveness is the word Jeremy Beaver, 39, uses to describe how he realized his dream of
running a recording studio, a dream he’d held ever since he was a wide-eyed 18-year-old freshman at George Washington University. The former DJ, engineer and award-winning music producer founded Listen Vision Studios in 1998 and is currently director of operations, overseeing 74 shows.
The recording, multimedia and broadcasting facility located across Georgia Avenue from Howard University has grown to become the largest and longest-standing recording studio in the nation’s capital.
His recordings have sold thousands of copies worldwide and he has toured with many bands. As a music producer, Beaver has worked with such renowned artists as Jay-Z, Wynton Marsalis and Barrington Levy.
Beaver recently took time out from his busy schedule to talk with us about his jazz-loving father, a typical day running Listen Vision and his favorite artist to work with.
How did you become interested in music production?
My father is a jazzophile, jazz freak, vinyl enthusiast, and I grew up in a household that was always filled with music and jazz and my father, I don’t know, I guess it just sort of rubbed off on me. My father’s a really creative guy. He’s twice been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame, and I guess I was in a pretty creative environment and music just seemed to be something I always gravitated toward. At the age of 15, I decided to buy myself a pair of turntables and try to DJ and that turned into audio engineering, which is what I went to college for at George Washington. And then that turned into producing because I just couldn’t see myself doing DJ battles and scratching records at age 70 but I could see myself being a music producer at age 70. That was it, really.
What does being director of operations entail?
It entails putting out a lot of fires. Anyone who I ever met who runs a small business knows that. It’s fun for me. I’m not producing. Running the company is fulfilling because I get to do so many different things. One minute I’m talking to the Opera Network about some audio they are cutting in our studio and the next second I’m dealing with a radio broadcast, the next second I’m dealing with a client who is flying in from California to get something mixed and mastered. But that type of fast-paced environment and diversity of tasks is what I like personally. It’s fun.
Our radio station has 74 live shows every week and that makes us the largest Internet broadcaster in America. But on a daily, just realistic level, it is like a circus freak show and it’s really compelling and crazy and fascinating to try to organize and program 74 live shows and all the different personalities and DJs and guests and call-ins and Skype-ins and FaceTime and tweets and Instagram.
I might win the award for world’s most interesting job because the subject of each show is a different topic. “Lonny the Street Lawyer” is one of our top programs. That’s a legal show. But then the next moment I’ll be dealing with a yoga show and then I’ll be dealing with a cooking show. Then I’ll be dealing with a financial credit show. And that will all be just within four hours, and so for my job it makes things very challenging but also uniquely fun.
Is the audience spread out all over the country or are you more locally focused?
We have viewers from 135 countries and there are only 193 countries in the United Nations, so we have daily listeners from 90 percent of the globe and all 50 states in the United States. I think a lot of that success of the station can be attributed to this unique technology that we have which is radio you can watch. And it’s free and there are no apps to download. It’s for the lazy
person who has no time but wants mobile media or entertainment on the go. That’s been really helpful. So not only are we the largest broadcaster in the United States but we also have fans from all over. And we get to see our staff and that’s kind of unique too, that our broadcasters are able to actually see where people are tuning in from and how long they are listening for.
Who was your favorite artist to work with?
One of the artists that I worked with who opened my mind up to looking at music in the industry in a different way and forever had an impact on me was Wynton Marsalis. He showed me that it was OK to be a music nerd. That it was cool to be a music nerd. That it was cool to be smart. That it was cool to be knowledgeable. That it was cool to be creative. His influence on me is probably greater than anybody else and I would say working with him, it would have to be Wynton hands down.