Elton John is a British singer, pianist, and composer. Along with selling more than 350 million records, he has found success on Broadway, composing the music score for the Tony award-winning hit ‘Billy Elliot.’
Who Is Elton John?
Elton John’s unique blend of pop and rock styles turned him into one of the 20th century’s biggest music icons. He was musically gifted from a young age, and released his first self-titled American album in 1970, making him a huge international star. Some of his chart-topping hits include “Crocodile Rock,” “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Candle in the Wind.” He also found success on Broadway, composing the score for Billy Elliot (2008), which went on to win 10 Tony Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and knighted in 1998.
Singer, songwriter, composer and icon John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex, England. He discovered his passion for music at an early age and taught himself how to play the piano when he was only four years old. Proving to be a great talent, he won a scholarship to a youth program at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
John had a difficult relationship with his father, Stanley Dwight, a member of the Royal Air Force. His parents divorced when he was a teenager, and he and his father clashed over his future. John, captivated by the sounds of early rock and roll, wanted to pursue a career in pop music. And much to his father’s dismay, John dropped out of school at 17 to follow his dream. He started playing with a group called Bluesology, and he cobbled together his stage moniker from the names of two members of the group.
In 1967 John answered an ad for a songwriter for Liberty Records. He got the job and soon teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin. The duo switched to the DJM label the following year, writing songs for other artists.
John got his first break as a singer with his 1969 album Empty Sky, featuring songs by John and Taupin. While that recording failed to catch on, his 1970 self-titled effort featured John’s first hit, “Your Song.” More hits soon followed, including No. 1 smashes such as “Crocodile Rock,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “Island Girl.” John enjoyed a series of top-selling albums during this time, including Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) and Rock of the Westies (1975).
Memorable Songs & Energetic Live Performances
One of the top acts of the 1970s, John became equally famous for his live shows. He dressed in fabulous, over-the-top costumes and glasses for his elaborate concerts. In an interview with W, John explained that “I wasn’t a sex symbol like Bowie, Marc Bolan or Freddie Mercury, so I dressed more on the humorous side because if I was going to be stuck at the piano for two hours, I was going to make people look at me.”
‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’
In 1976 John hit the top of the charts again with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” his duet with Kiki Dee. He soon decided to take a break from music, focusing his energies on his soccer team that he co-owned in England. Around this time, John also publicly announced that he was bisexual (he later came out as a gay man). At the time, John was ridiculed and taunted for his sexuality. The controversy died down, and he made a triumphant return to music in 1979 with the album A Single Man.
‘Little Jeannie,’ ‘Empty Garden’
While not producing smash hits in the 1980s, John still did well on the charts. Some of the most memorable songs from this period include the ballads “Little Jeannie” and “Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny),” the latter written as a tribute to his friend John Lennon of the Beatles, who had been killed in 1980.
‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’
Branching out in different directions, John teamed up with lyricist Tim Rice for several projects. They worked together on the soundtrack for the 1994 animated hit The Lion King, and one of the movie’s songs, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” brought John his first Academy Award win for Best Original Song. The pair later netted a Tony Award for Best Original Score in 2000 for their musical Aida.
John received a number of honors around this time. In 1994 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Queen Elizabeth II made John a Commander of the Order of the British Empire the following year (The queen knighted him several years later, making him officially “Sir Elton John”).
‘Candle in the Wind 1997’
While he enjoyed all of the recognition and praise, he soon found himself rocked by grief. During the summer of 1997, John lost two good friends — fashion designer Gianni Versace and Princess Diana. He reworked one of his classic songs, “Candle in the Wind,” as a tribute to Princess Diana, with the song’s proceeds going to a charitable trust established in her honor. “Candle in the Wind 1997” proved to be a tremendous success, selling more than 30 million copies that year.
Later Albums, Books, Broadway, and Movie
John continued to record new music later in his extensive career. In 2006 he released The Captain & the Kid, a sequel to his earlier autobiographical effort Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975). He also teamed up with Leon Russell for 2010’s The Union, which led to a joint tour. John later released The Diving Board (2013), his 30th studio album produced by T Bone Burnett.
In February 2016 John released his 33rd studio album, Wonderful Crazy Night, to generally positive reviews. The album featured the Elton John Band, with whom he last collaborated with a decade prior.
‘Billy Elliott the Musical’ and ‘Rocketman’
Also in demand as a songwriter, John was instrumental in bringing Billy Elliott the Musical to the stage. The show, adapted from the 2000 film, opened on Broadway in 2008, where it quickly became a critical and commercial success. John also worked on the 2011 animated film Gnomeo & Juliet, serving as a producer and a composer.
Even with a toned-down stage persona, John remained a very popular live act. In 2012, he performed with Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney, among others, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne.
Around this time, it was revealed that John and his husband were working on a biopic about the legendary musician titled Rocketman. Starring Taron Egerton, the film finally reached the finish line with its premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, drawing attention for its whimsical musical scenes as well as its unflinching portrayal of John’s sexuality.
On January 24, 2018, John announced that he would retire from the road after his planned Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, set to kick off that September. “My priorities have changed,” he said, citing his desire to spend more time with his husband, David, and their kids. “In 2015, David and I sat down with a school schedule … I don’t want to miss too much of this.”
That year also brought an end to his Las Vegas residency, “The Million Dollar Piano,” which wrapped with a May 17 performance at Caesar’s Palace.
Substance Abuse Issues & Elton John AIDS Foundation
In 1990, after years of battling substance abuse issues, particularly cocaine, which may have triggered severe epileptic seizures, John went into rehabilitation. The newly sober musical star, delighted at his second chance at life, soon founded his own charitable organization to help in the fight against AIDS. Established in the United States in 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has brought in more than $400 million to support HIV/AIDS programs around the world.
In addition to his own foundation, John supports a number of different charities and arts organizations, including the Globe Theatre and the Royal Academy of Music.
Husband and Sons
John met his longtime partner David Furnish at a dinner party in 1993. The pair got married in a civil ceremony on December 21, 2005 — the same day the Civil Partnership Act 2004 went into effect. With the help of a surrogate, the couple welcomed their first son, Zachary Furnish-John, in December 2010, and welcomed their second child, Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, in January 2013. Nine years after their civil ceremony, on December 21, 2014, the couple wed after laws allowing gay marriage took effect the same year in Britain.
John was previously married to Renate Blauel from 1984 to 1988.
Learn How to Make Your Own Music, Beats, and Instrumentals
This guide is a step by step on how to make your own beats and record your music from home studio.
This is one of the best times in history to be living if you’re a musician or someone that wants to make music. Why?
Well, there are lots of resources that exist, both online and offline, to show and teach you how to make your own music, beats, or instrumentals. And there are even more ways to turn that into a way to make an extra income, full-time or part-time income (yes, you can). Isn’t that exciting?
Well, this blog post, and this entire site, really, is dedicated to helping you make your own beats. And in order to do that, first, you need to know what you need to have, and how you’re going to use them.
Making your own music…
It’s simply, actually. This can be broken down into only 2 steps:
Finding out what you need
Finding out how to use what you got
All we need to do now, is to extrapolate that into some steps that will get you started making music. First, let’s get the first step out of the way…
What you need to make beats
What we are talking about is not so much how to start a home studio, or even get into music production, we just want to know how to make a beat, whether that is for a piece of music, or an entire instrumental composition.
If you want to start a home studio dedicated to beat making, or get into music production, read the guides in the links above.
Now that we’ve gotten some words out of the way, here is what you need to get…
#1 – Laptop or Computer
The first thing you need to make your own beats is a laptop or computer. If you already have one that’s fills the basic requirements of being a music production machine, then skip to the next thing you need. Or you can check out these laptops or computers to see if you’ll need an upgrade.
These days, the laptop is the best choice in being a beat-maker or composer. The reason why is, obviously, the portability.
You can take your laptop from between your home studio to a pro studio. You can carry your laptop to the park and, with a pair of headphones and MIDI controller, compose your own beats on the spot.
Your laptop, of course, needs to have certain specifications to make it capable of producing high-quality beats. The best beat-making laptop is the MacBook Pro, hands down. But you can also get premium Windows laptops. And if you’re on a budget, there are laptops for you as well.
Requirements? Make sure you have a decent size hard-drive, enough RAM, a powerful processor, and ports to plug your external devices in.
If you need help in deciding on those requirements, see the link below…
#2 – Digital Audio Workstation
So, you have gotten yourself a high-quality laptop, what else do you need? A digital audio workstation.
This is what will bring all your musical ideas together into one package. With a DAW, you can record, mix, manipulate, edit, arrange entire musical compositions. And it’s very simple once you get the hang of it.
Chances are that, if you’re reading this post, or you’re just starting out, you’re more interested in making music and beats than, say, recording, mixing or mastering. The latter skills are important, too, and you should have some basic knowledge of sound engineering in order to make professional industry-level music. But the reason why I mention this is because some DAWs are actually more conducive to beat-making than others.
FL Studio, Ableton Live, Bitwig Studio, Propellerhead Reason, Logic Pro X, and PreSonus Studio One are examples of music production software that are great at making your own music and beats because it has the best of both worlds: music and beat making, as well as mixing and mastering).
There are different reasons to choose each DAW since each DAW has its own particular strength and will suit your purpose based on what you want.
If you need help deciding on the right DAW, see the link below…
#3 – Education
Next you need some education. Yes, you need to know what you’re doing…
This is where you learn the engineering and technical side of music, but here are other things you need to learn–take out a pen a paper and note this down when looking up educational materials and tutorials:
You need to learn:
Music theory and harmony for electronic musicians.
The technology of music production and sound engineering.
How to make beats like the best beatmakers in existence.
(Optional) If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, you can pursue a degree or get certified in music production.
All the resources and courses have been compiled to be some of the best you can find online, by the best people that you can trust to will lead you in the right direction.
See the resources compiled from around the web in the link below …
Read: Best Online Course & Schools for Music Production
#4 – MIDI Controller
Earlier we mentioned something called a “MIDI controller.” This is simply a device that you plug into your laptop that controls various aspects of your music production software. The most basic type of controller is a keyboard with a USB-MIDI connectors in the back. With it, you can use your keyboard controller or a drum pad to control the sounds that come with your DAW, or that you’ve installed later-on.
These sounds would be produced by what are called virtual instruments, or VSTi plugins. They are either software synthesizers, drum machines, or sampling machines, that will either generate note sounds or trigger recorded samples of real instruments or real life sounds that came with your DAW or is stored in your VSTs sample pack (or samples that you’ve download elsewhere from the internet).
If you’re new to music production, simply stick with the VSTi plugins that came with your DAW, or try some free alternatives online.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable and want to go pro level, it’s time to invest in some professional VST plugins.
Read: Best MIDI controllers, Keyboards and Pads
#5 – Headphones and Studio Monitors
Of course, you need a pair of high-quality headphones, as well as studio monitors. These are the way you are able to hear what you are doing. Consumer speakers or headphones will not do it, as they are desired to “please” and not be “honest” to you about how your music will sound once it’s played across various devices. That said, these are essentials and can’t be skipped.
If you can only get one, get the headphones, as they will be valuable in you being able to make beats anywhere you go (and not disturb any neighbors, roommates, or the sleeping cat).
#6 – Audio Interface
At some point, when you want to record audio into your laptop using a microphone (either your own vocals or another singer), you plan on recording instruments, you’ll need a device that’ll interface with your computer so you can get high-quality recordings.
Audio interfaces bypass your computer’s consumer sound card so that you get the best quality from your recordings. They also output to your studio monitor and headphones as mentioned above.
#7 – Microphone
If you’re a vocalist or plan on recording vocals over your beats and instrumentals, you need to have a good quality microphone that will sound good on your recordings.
Professional studio microphones are designed for this reason, and only these types will be able to capture the nuances of your vocals well.
Time to make some beats!
Now that you’ve gotten all the gear you need, how do you make your own beats?
Most of what consists of making beats or any form of instrumental is similar to what is involved in the songwriting approach of creating a new song.
Only that, this time it is your DAW that is your electronic instrument.
However, there is no real rule to making beats, or any form of instruments, you will find your own workflow after a while. What’s essentially important is that you follow a songwriting structure that ensures your music has a logical flow, from beginning, to the middle, and in the end.
You can learn about this structure some more from this post on songwriting for beginners.
The two schools of beat-making…
I’ve observed that there are two schools when it comes to beat-making. There is the “beat first” school, and there is the “music first” school. But there is no right or wrong way to get started.
Some producers like to start making a beat by laying a drum beat or groove down first, others like to start with “music,” and by that, I mean adding keys, strings, synths, and bass first, and then adding the “beat.”
Why choose either?
There are various reason why you’d want to start with either. But I think it’s a good idea mix it up. Many have found themselves starting with the “beats-first” approach, switch it up, and then produce using the “music first” approach. Switching between helps with your creative flow. Give it a try yourself.
However, as you will see, there are benefits and necessities that may lead to you wanting to start with either your beat, or your instrumentals, first.
The “beat first” approach
The beauty of this option is that, if you like making beats, beats will automatically be playing in your head. Either you’re tapping it out on the table, our using your mouth to generate beats. The trick is to capture them in your DAW.
If you already have the music beat in mind in your head, capture them using the recorder on your phone, using your mouth, or whatever is handy. Then when you’re by your DAW, simply play out the best idea as a loop on your drum pad or MIDI keyboard. Make sure you get at least the kick, snare, and hi-hats in.
If you actually don’t have a beat in mind, then just start with the typical beat of the genre you’re working with. Lookup a favorite song, listen to the beat, and play or write (with your mouse) the basic beat in your piano roll, using the kick and snare and hi-hat.
Loop it over and over for the rest of the song (3 to 4 minutes should be sufficient).
A note of BPM: If you know what genre you’re making, ensure that you know the tempo that music is supposed to be at.
Here are some guidelines:
Hip Hop is around 80-115 BPM
EDM tends to be between 120-150 BPM
House is usually around 128 BPM
Dubstep tends to be between 138–142 but averages at 140 BPM
Trap be from as low as 100 BPM to 176 BPM, but on average it’s usually 140 BPM
Future Bass is all over the place…
As you may have noticed, the sweet spot for most electronic music, except traditional house music, tends to be 140 BPM. Hip hop is slower, with 90 BPM or 100 BPM being the most popular.
So once you have your BPM, turn on your metronome, and start writing in or playing in your beat, using the drum groove style of whatever genre you’re trying to make.
Remember to keep it simple. Kick, snare, hat. Once you have a simple beat of the genre you want to produce, there is one out of a few directions you can go…
If you’re a keyboard player, start by choosing a nice keyboard sound and jam to your beat until you get something you like. You’ve looped your beat so for the next several minutes you’re bound to find something that sounds good. When you’ve found something you like, just copy that into a few measures, and loop it. If you want to add variations, you will know when by listening back.
You can also start with other things. You can start with strings, synths, etc. It all depends on the genre.
This is an excellent option if you’re a singer or rapper. You can simply vibe off your own simple beat, or perform your song into a microphone as your music plays, recording yourself over the beat inside your DAW.
If you work with vocalists, or you have vocals from a song you want to create a beat around, adding vocals over the beat helps to give you a sense of how to create instrumental arrangements.
Working with vocals is one of the favourite ways to make a beat. And even if you’re lacking inspiration, grabbing vocals from an already hit song and slapping it onto the arranger view can really add inspiration. Just listen to all the popular remixes by Flume and Baauer of songs that were already popular and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Above, I talked about the choices of instruments by genre. Although there is no hard and fast rule (Flume, for instance, has EDM songs that are more string samples intensive than synth), there are some general guidelines that can assist you…
Instrumental styles by genre
Trap and hip hop tends to have a stronger emphasis on keys, samples (especially hip hop), pads (especially trap) as their core instruments.
Musically speaking, trap and hip-hop harmonies are a lot of the time, modal. Meaning, they don’t typically adhere to the harmonic progressions found in most styles of music traditional found in the west (such as I-IV-V progressions).
Often a trap or hip hop producer will prefer choosing one of the minor modes to writing haunting pad and keys sounds with (trap), or jazzy riffs (hip-hop). This is a general rule, which is always broken, but it’s a good place to get started.
Another thing that trap emphasizes a lot of is high-speed hi-hat rolls wit 808 kick-bass. Getting the 808 kick-bass should be easy since you should be able to find those sounds in your DAW (all DAWs these days come with sample packs)
But how do you get those hi-hat repeats?
There are a couple of ways to get this, depending on your DAW. In PreSonus Studio One, you can simply write each quarter note in, then set the quantize to something like 7/8, select your hi-hat notes, right-click and select Split at Grid, and each note will be split based on your quantize setting (remember to change it back!). Simply select and remove notes as your ear tells you.
In other digital audio workstations, you will have similar options, as well as the ability to turn on the note repeat option to repeat each time you record a note into your piano roll.
Hip-hop emphasizes sampling other music. You can do this too by downloading some music that you like, or using samples that came with your software. Next:
Listen for a section that sounds really cool, like a groove or lick.
Within your DAW, use either a sampling plugin or just edit the audio file to chop out that section.
Slow it down or speed it up to meet the BPM of your project.
Change the tune and pitch.
Put a hi-pass filter on it to cut out the low-end and give it that old-timey feel.
Then trigger the chop rhythmically with your sampler or drum pad over your drumbeat to get a really cool classic hip-hop beat.
Now, you have a hip-hop beat!
EDM, Dubstep, and Future Bass focus on synth sounds and harmonic progression, which would require a knowledge of chords, harmonic progressions, and synthesis.
In EDM and Dubstep in particular, the harmonies are generally very simple, I-IV-V, II-V-I, and other simple progressions are popular. Their complexity is more in the way of how you manipulate the synths to get growling and wobbling basses. So you’d have to have a good knowledge of the basis of audio synthesis, to compose these genres. The drum beats are pretty simple in and of themselves.
To learn how to make interesting and complex synth sounds like a pro, check out the courses in this guide.
In Future Bass, you get into complex harmonies that requires some knowledge of jazz theory. Future Bass relies less upon the sound design complexity of a particular synth, and more upon harmonic complexity, adding thick, rich chords, and layering your sounds with more than one different kind of synthesizer.
Another important aspect of future bass is the use of foley. So make sure you get a good collection of foley instruments and sound effects.
What you’ll need to make Future Bass is a knowledge of music theory, harmony, and sound design. Again, you can learn these principles by checking out the material offered from this course guide.
The “music first” approach
This would require some knowledge of music and music theory. It is more effective with genres like Dubstep, Future Bass, and some EDM. Whereas the “beat-first” approach is more appropriate with hip-hop, trap, and house.
Take the same principles that you would use if you were starting with the beats first approach when you were making your instrumentals, and simply begin playing or writing in your harmonies and riffs before you add the beat.
This approach has benefits in the sense that you get to focus on the music more than on the beat. What usually results from this approach are very well composed and arranged harmonies that sound really unique. The beats first approach can easily sound generic, in my experience, but when you focus on the music and harmonies, you are forced to come up with some interesting sounds through experimentation.
Once you’ve created a loop, I suggest copying that loop over and over again for the remainder of the song. Then you can make variations as your ear tells you. Either drop the bass at one time, then the drums another time, or a synth sound.
Sometimes a melody will pop into your head for a lead, get a simple piano on that track and play out the melody first, then transform that track into another instrument to see what it sounds like. Make some variations in the harmony where you see fit if necessary.
In other words, just have fun with it!
If you feel stuck, take a look at my other post on ways to generate song ideas if you’re a beginner (although these tips work well for pros as well.)
At this point, you should probably have a beat on your hands, and all that it requires now is some fine-tuning and mixing.
Once you have those things, start by simply recording your beats into the DAW or by writing in or playing your harmonies or harmonic ideas. Make sure you know the BPM you’re making your music for, and understand the basics of the genre you’re writing your music, beat, or instrumental for. This includes harmonies, beat styles, and instruments and samples used.
Learning how to make your own music, whether beats or instrumentals is very fun. The entire process is one of self discovery and experimentation. But it’s good, from the outset, to have the right tools, and to get proper guidance.
Hopefully you found this information useful and helpful. If you know anyone who also will, share this post with your friends or anyone else you think will find this information useful.
The third Knowles sister, Koi, was born in 2010 to Mathew Knowles following an affair with Koi’s mother, Taqoya Branscomb while he was still married to his then-wife, Tina.
Branscomb reportedly sued Knowles back in 2014 over Koi’s paternity, with the pair going back and forth in court over child support issues. But, aside from this, fans can’t over how much the little girl looks like her older sisters.
While confirming Rihanna and Chris Brown’s relationship recently, Ne-Yo says he could have been with Rihanna. The chart-topping singers have shared the hit single “Hate That I Love You” and label home at Def Jam in recent years but Ne-Yo says there was potential for more — at least for publicity purposes that is.. “Just months prior to them dating record companies were trying to put me with Rihanna to build up some controversy” says the “Year of the Gentleman” star. “They’ve (the record companies) been trying to do it with me for years but I refuse to sell my soul.” While there is nothing going on between him and Rihanna now Ne-Yo is very sure that the star’s relationship with Chris Brown is the real deal. “I’ve hung out with them so much that I know that it’s the real deal and they’re in a relationship,” he says via The Sun. “They tear hair out of each other and argue. I’ve seen them kiss and make up like other couples do.” In related news, Ne-Yo is looking forward to working with Alicia Keys. “She can do no wrong in my eyes. I have a little crush on her. I’d love her to star in one of my music videos.”
The two wed in an exquisite private traditional ceremony as per the customary laws of the Nandi people.
Nyashinski managed to keep his personal life out of the public eye, having never posted his significant other until they tied the knot over the weekend.
the lady who is not very known to public left team mafisi salivating after their traditional wedding last weekend.
Much like her husband, Zia has kept her private life away from the hawk-eyed media, with one particular photo shared on her Instagram page with the musician causing a stir.
Rumour mills went on overdrive after she posted the photo of the two of them at an undisclosed location with ‘never a better day’ as her tagline.
Most of the media houses reported that the two of them had eloped and got hitched somewhere in Naivasha back in July 2019.
It’s safe to say this wasn’t true after Nyashinski posted some exclusive photos from his invite-only wedding.
Zia is a respected fashion designer in the Kenyan industry having started her very own clothing line – Zia Collections, where she serves as the chief executive officer.
She has dressed countless Kenyan celebrities such as Talia Oyando, Fena Gitu and of course, Nyashinski.
The two lovebirds marked the start of their journey together at an event attended by close celebrity friends, Nameless, Bien and Savara of Sauti Sol, BigPin, UB, Talent Manager Fakii Liwali, and Roba – former Kleptomaniax group member among others.
“This is possibly if not certainly the best day of my life,” stated Nyashinski at the end of the ceremony.