I recently got the chance to chop it up with Grammy winning, platinum selling music producer Rey Reel, who was nominated for 3 Grammys this recent award season for his work on Beyonce‘s latest self-titled album. He’s produced singles such as Beyonce‘s “Flawless,” along with the remix featuring Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey’s “Thirsty,” Drake’s “Trophies” and Will.i.am and Britney Spears’ “Scream & Shout” remix, just to name a few.
We get down to the nitty-gritty with Rey as we talk about what the future holds for the 26-year old producer as he chats with me passionately about his love for producing. You can hear the hunger in this guy’s voice who happens to be relentlessly ambitious. While a Grammy might be enough satisfaction for some, Rey Reel has no plans on stopping there. He lives in the studio and has solidified his inherent talent by making a name for himself as a member of the Grammy award-winning producer Hit-Boy‘s syndicate of beat slayers under his imprint, Hits Since ‘87 (HS87).
Rey Reel is working on several, highly anticipated projects releasing this Spring and has plans on becoming a well-respected thespian; taking it so seriously he’s even enrolled in acting classes! It’s no wonder Rey Reel has come so far at such a young age as he carefully plans out his next chess move like Bobby Fischer in 1971.
Cherise Nikole: First of all, how does it feel to have a Grammy now for working on Beyonce’s album and winning for Best Surround Sound?
Rey Reel: It feels amazing! It’s an honor, a super huge honor to go from 0-100 in a matter of years.
Cherise Nikole: How long have you been producing?
Rey Reel: I’ve been producing since I was 12 but I really didn’t take it serious until I was about 15-16 [years old].
Cherise Nikole: And what made you start taking production seriously?
Rey Reel: I just started getting involved with it and it just started to become something and once it developed and put itself in it. You know God put me towards it so. From there I just was having fun with it and it became my forte and then it became my bread and butter and it’s something that I fell in love with. It’s quite a blessing, you know, that I was able to make a living off of it to take it seriously.
Cherise Nikole: Yes that is truly a blessing. So you’re with Hit-Boy’s HS87 – Tell me how you initially got connected with Hit-Boy?
Rey Reel: I got connected with Hit-Boy through Oktane from Audio Push. Back in the day when we were about 13-14 years-old – we were young bucks. We all grew up with together. Same street, same everything.
Cherise Nikole: And you guys are from the IE (Inland Empire) right?
Rey Reel: Yes. Well I was born in Sacramento but then I moved to the IE later on when I was like 7 years-old. And I bounced around then ended up there with them.
Cherise Nikole: Cool. So you guys pretty much KNOW each other since you grew up together?
Rey Reel: Oh yeah.
Cherise Nikole: What are you working on right now?
Rey Reel: More projects. Projects for myself of course. Projects for other artists – I can’t really put their business out there like that, we don’t ever want to do that. And acting – this is my first year of acting that I am trying to get into and I want to develop something.
Cherise Nikole: Cool! Have you been casted in anything yet?
Rey Reel: No, you know I haven’t. Right now I have been just taking it seriously and taking classes and stuff. People make a living out of this and I don’t want to just come into the game of acting and people say, “You got it because you are so and so.” I want people to be intrigued by my talent and really invest my talent into that career. They [actors] do it for their lively hood, they don’t take it for granted and they work hard for it so I want to be just like them.
Cherise Nikole: The transition from producing to acting is a pretty big move. Would that be something you would commit yourself solely to or would you go back and forth between acting a producing?
Rey Reel: Oh no, I’d definitely go back and forth and I would love to score movies at the same time too. Maybe I could score something I am in and at least get a few songs in there, or something going.
Cherise Nikole: I want to talk about a few of the people you’ve collaborated with and what it was like working with them. The first person is obviously Beyonce. Did you actually get a chance to work with her directly on “Flawless”?
Rey Reel: I did not. We worked at a distance with like I said, through Hit-Boy, who got the song in place for me. As far as her and I, we communicated via email, transferring files back and forth, etc.
Cherise Nikole: And what about working with Drake? Was that someone you had to work with at distance as well? “Trophies” was a pretty big hit.
Rey Reel: Actually that just fell into my lap. Hit-Boy, again, was working with him, and that just fell into my hands because I was involved with the production of the beat. Drake is a busy worker so, Hit [Boy] was only with him for a few days at that and I was out of town working on other projects.
Cherise Nikole: What has been your most exciting or fun project to work on so far in your career?
Rey Reel: Funny enough, I would have to say M.I.A’s album even though I didn’t get placed on there it was still fun working with her because she’s one of my favorite artists. I know a lot of people would think, “But no, you worked with Beyonce”. Yeah I did, but I didn’t get a chance to work with her hands on which I am sure is probably like a monumental moment in someone’s life especially being a producer like myself but I didn’t get that opportunity. So for the opportunities that I have had given to me, I would have to say M.I.A. She is very enlightening, and she’s just fun all around, very free-spirited, she speaks her mind and her music is grimey, dirty, and I love it!
Cherise Nikole: Have you worked with M.I.A. recently? Does she have something coming out? *Crosses fingers*
Rey Reel: I haven’t worked with her recently but I am looking forward to getting back in with her as soon as possible. Maybe our teams will connect again and we’ll be able to get a few records in. I don’t know what she’s working on but I hope she’s working on something ‘cuz I am ready for it too.
Cherise Nikole: You’re on hits right now. You’re producing for big names like Beyonce, Drake, Big Sean, Lil’ Wayne, and Audio Push. You’ve won a Grammy already. Besides the acting, where do you see your producing career going from here?
Rey Reel: I would love to get more records in. There a couple of more artists that I would love to work with like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepson, and some old school artists like Usher. There’s so many other people that I want to work with but I do see the success is coming. It’s going to take some more time. I want to become a household name like Timbaland and Pharrell. To have that would be really, really, really dope and I don’t want to take any breaks for the next 10 years. I really want to focus on my music artistry and acting. Acting is going to be one of the hardest thing for me because obviously producing is the forte for me. I walk in it and I am good to go. Acting – I haven’t done it so it’s a more concentrated effort.
Cherise Nikole: I think that is going to be an exciting thing for you to get into. I haven’t really seen a producer seriously make a transition into acting. You usually see that with musicians so I think that will be very cool for you to do. I am excited for you!
Rey Reel: Thank you!
Cherise Nikole: Is there anything that you are working on right now that we can look forward to?
Rey Reel: Right now to be honest, I am pitching myself around to some labels for some deals, for me. Not for me rapping but more like a DJ presence. That way I can get various artists together and do a lot of collaborations. Maybe release my own, not like a mixtape, but something like where we have different artists collaborate on their tracks.
Cherise Nikole: Thank you for the interview and congratulations on that Grammy win. How old are you?
Rey Reel: 26. 26 years-old.
Cherise Nikole: I think that’s really cool and I think that is such a big feat for such a young producer with humble beginnings.
Rey Reel: Aw thank you.
Cherise Nikole: Is there anything that you want to leave us off with or let your fans know?
Rey Reel: Just follow me on Instagram and catch me on Twitter. My Instagram and Twitter are both @reyreel. And if you want updated information on me, my website is REYREEL.COM to find out everything else that’s going on.
Cherise Nikole: Awesome. I will make sure I follow you and I’m going to tell everybody else to follow you! Thank you!
Rey Reel: I appreciate it. Thank you!
Rey Reel has a lot ahead of him and we will definitely be looking forward to when he becomes a household name as he certainly has the drive, passion and skill to make it happen. We hope to see him catch a few more accolades and perhaps an Oscar will be in his future. You never know. Make sure you keep up with Rey on his Twitter and Instagram. Also, be sure to check out his website ReyReel.com and get into the various tracks he’s put his magic on.