Remember that geeky kid you sat next to in high school homeroom? The one who could set your clothes on fire if the sun hit his glasses just right? His name was Keith “Fresh Nerd” Mitchell, and he grew up to be a record producer.
Keith cut his teeth by watching chart-topping artist Busta Rhymes and hit makers’ Cool n Dre work in their natural habitat. The studio became his new classroom. Late night sessions illuminated his path, ultimately leading to collaborations with Sudanese war survivor Emmanuel Jal, American Idol finalist Ace Young, and singer/songwriter Roz Bell. Their song, “Pink Cadillac”, displays Mitchell’s mind for melodic lines and deep roots of rhythmic soul.
As a student of hip hop, Mitchell sees promise in today’s crowded landscape. When asked about his thoughts on hip hop music today he had this to say:
“The current state of hip hop is good, but not great. Yes, we have tons more crap because of the digital revolution but there is also a lot of good hip hop out there. Unfortunately, you just have to look a bit harder. I’m hoping once artists get a good grasp of how to navigate the new business model (whatever that may be), we will get more good music consistently.”
Mitchell’s search for the future of music has recently taken him overseas. Keith tells a funny story about the origins of his move. His mentor, Grammy-nominated engineer Neal Pogue, left him alone in the studio to teach Debbie Gibson how to rap. She failed to find the downbeat, but he learned a valuable life lesson — when L.A. hands you lemons, move to London.
England has agreed with Fresh. Within months of his move across the pond, FreshNerd has caught the attention of DJ Whoo Kid (50 Cent, G-Unit) by making his way to the finals of the Buma R’dam Beats Int’l Battle, occupied the same bill as Queens MC, Action Bronson, all while continuing to produce various 100 Akres’ beat tapes & cassette releases on his 100 Akres Limited label.
Fresh lives by the words of Dizzy Gillespie, “Musicians should play for themselves first, their fellow musicians second and their audience third.”
He admires artists who paint with a different brush. It is this respect and admiration of contemporary art that sets him apart from the rest. Be sure to catch his passionate blog, Freshnerd.com.