Bronx native Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson discovered drums in the fourth grade. He realized two things immediately: that he loved hip-hop and that music was his future. Amadeus calls New York City his home. He often works at Universal’s Manhattan studio through a deal with BMG. In addition to his gig as music director and tour drummer with multiplatinum artist Trey Songz, he has a weekend residency at Las Vegas hotspot Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub. He’s worked with a righteous roster of artists that includes Chris Brown, Agnez Mo and 50 Cent.
Nearly 20 years into his career, Amadeus has gained some valuable insights into his creative mechanisms. “I’ve always created from my heart. I don’t chase trends, sounds or styles. I just do me and that’s the best way to create because you give an artist your heart and soul. When they hear a track for the first time, I want them to feel what I felt.”
Amadeus launched his publishing outfit Platinum Boy Music out of necessity. It’s since grown into a commodity. “I was at the ASCAP office and needed a name for my company,” he recalls. “A friend suggested Platinum Boy because I wanted all of my music to go platinum. I‘ve had some [signed] artists but it’s more of a production company now. We house me as well as some songwriters and other up-and-coming producers. The great thing about collaboration is that if you put five producers in a room, what you’ll come up with is epic because that’s five different points of view.” Producers signed to Platinum Boy include Mike DiMuro, production team Velocity Music and Trilogy. Rising artists take note: submissions from unsigned producers are welcome.
There have been times when Amadeus felt the pressure to move to LA to advance his career. But they were never strong enough for him to abandon his home turf. “New York to me was always the hub. With technology today, it doesn’t matter where you are. A lot of [the work] happens online. Many of the records I’ve created, I wasn’t even in the studio. But to actually be hands-on and in the studio collaborating, I’d say that LA would be the place.”
Amadeus believes that it’s important to reinvest in the production community. He formulated his industry class Music 101. To date, he’s taught it at 30 institutions including Yale, Howard and NYU. “Coming up, no one schooled me on the business. I had to figure it out on my own. Years ago I picked up a book called Everything You’d Better Know About the Record Industry by [the late artist and producer] Kashif. That educated me on the business. I’ve got 18 years in the game, have produced for more than 90 major artists and toured the world. I’ve got a lot of knowledge that I’d like to share.”
Recently Amadeus produced with Chris Brown for 2019’s Indigo. He offers this parting piece of guidance: “Don’t talk about things before they’re released. I told people that I had a song coming out with CeeLo Green. But creatively [the record] took a turn [and the song wasn’t included].”