This is the spot where you’ll see upcoming producers and Industry veterans in the game. A lot of people don’t know what goes into production. This will be the section where we feature the hottest producers in hip hop. Each month we’ll bring to you a new producer along with their background.
THIS MONTH’S FEATURE IS: WONDER ARILLO
You may not know his name and you’ve probably never even seen his face, but you have definitely heard Wonder’s work. Aside from helping a friend land an overseas recording contract, the 25-year-old has already been on the top of the charts, contributed to two platinum albums, and successfully runs two companies. But the boy his mama named Gabriel Wonder Arillo was built to do this.
The Arillo household was always full of music. If you came by early, you may have been greeted by a Bob Marley and The Wailers record. A little later it was probably some of the traditional Mexican music his father adored. And late night it might be The Beatles’ White Album blasting through the speakers. With such a diverse assortment of aural goodies constantly in the air growing up – and his training with and tinkering on an assortment of instruments from the piano to the trombone – the youngest Arillo developed an ear for all kinds of music; but it was when his older brother and sister started to bump the likes of Boogie Down Productions, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest that Wonder knew he had found a friend in Hip-Hop.
At 18, while in his first year at Georgia State University, Wonder bought his first 4-track recorder and started producing songs for his songwriter friends (one of whom landed a deal with Universal Asia) using the school’s computers and software, borrowed instruments and a microphone his father gave him. By his senior year he was engineering for the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum producer DJ Toomp.
“A friend of mine had done a song with Toomp, and they were looking for a cheap place to mix,” Wonder remembers. “It turned out that Toomp had just bought ProTools for his studio, so I immediately volunteered to help set it up and teach him how to use it. In return, he showed me how to use a lot of his equipment. [The relationship] grew from there.”
Before long, Wonder was working contributing his engineering and mixing skills to projects from major artists like Boyz N’ Da Hood (“Don’t Put Ya Hands on Me”), Ludacris (“2 Miles an Hour”) and former Hot Boy, Turk (“Still a Hot Boy”).
In 2006, the ‘hood was set on its collective ear by Wonder’s most noticeable production to date, T.I.’s “What U Know” from the platinum-selling album “KING.” and the soundtrack to the film “ATL”. Produced in collaboration with DJ Toomp, Wonder’s dramatic backdrop was so vivid that when coupled with narration from the South’s “King”, listeners were taken straight to the trap without ever leaving the comfort of their couches, cars, or cribs. But it’s no surprise, because that’s just the thing a Wonder track is designed to do.
“If I had to describe my sound in one word, it would be ‘cinematic’,” shares the former Sound Recording and Film major. “At the movies, you can close your eyes and still know the mood of the story – when people are angry, happy, sad or whatever – just by the sound and feeling of the music you hear. I try to do the same thing with my music.”
With his beat-game all the way on point, a record label and production company primed and ready to make their mark, and a certified #1 smash already on the charts, there’s no limit to the success in store for Wonder Arillo. I just wonder if the world is ready…What you know about that?
“U Don’t Know Me” – Engineer, tracked music, Pro Tools FX “Motivation” – Engineer, tracked music “Bankhead” – Engineer, tracked music “What You Know” – Co-Producer, played instruments, Engineer, tracked music
“2 Miles an Hour” – Engineer, tracked music
BOYZ N DA HOOD:
“Don’t Put Ya Hands On Me” – Engineer, tracked music
“Still A Hot Boy” – Engineer, Mixed, edited, and engineered entire album
“Penitentiary Chances (Remix)” – Producer, Mix Engineer
UNIVERSAL ASIA Recording Artist AMANDA:
“If The Music’s Good” – Writer, Composer/Arranger, Engineer