Q-and-A with Music Producer Nick Sarazen

The North Kingstown native, who now lives in Los Angeles, has been nominated for a Grammy award.

Photo from D Smoke Facebook Page. Rhode Island native, Nick Sarazen, has been nominated for a Grammy award for his work with rap artist D Smoke; The album, “Black Habits,” was nominated for this year’s Best Rap Album.

North Kingstown native Nick Sarazen, who moved across the country to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in music, has been nominated for a Grammy award for his work with rap artist D Smoke. Sarazen produced the artist’s album, “Black Habits,” which was nominated for this year’s Best Rap Album. He also produced the album’s lead single, “Gaspar Yanga,” which also has a feature from rap icon Snoop Dogg. We talked with Nick Sarazen about his career and his love for the Ocean State.


How did you get your start in the industry?

I started producing music for fun at thirteen-years-old. I took piano lessons and I remember my family got this new computer and it had the program Garage Band on it. I made the worst beats ever. But that kind of sparked my passion for it and I never really stopped. I felt like music was what I re-ally wanted to do. Early in high school I made a Twitter account and began following song writers and producers that I found on the credits of songs that I liked. I wanted to see if I could gain some knowledge of the industry and of producing and writing music. It ended up being really helpful to gain meaningful connections. When I graduated from college, writer J Kash, who was somebody that I had become friends with on Twitter and had given me lots of advice, told me to come to Los Angeles. So, I booked a trip for four days just to visit and he was nice enough to actually meet up with me. He even introduced me to his wife, Jaime Zeluck, who is now my manager. They were kind enough to take me under their wing they helped me hit the ground running.


What was it like to relocate from Rhode Island to Los Angeles?

I love Rhode Island so much and I hope to one day come back home after I’ve put my time in here in Los Angeles. I think the biggest takeaway from coming here is that I really gravitate to-wards other East Coast people. Working and writing involves meeting a lot of new people, and when someone says they’re from Connecticut or Massachusetts, it’s like an instant connection. It’s also seventy-five degrees and sunny here every day, and I like being near the ocean even though it’s not the same as back home. I feel a sense of comfort knowing that the ocean is close and I can drive to the beach if I wanted to, just like I would back home in Rhode Island.


How did you find out that you had been nominated for a Grammy? What does it feel like to have reached this milestone in your career?

I was home in Rhode Island to be with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was at the Wickford train station parking garage waiting to get a COVID test when I got a call from my manager. They had just announced D Smoke was nominated for Best Rap Album. I freaked out! It was crazy to get that news because nobody ever really anticipates that. It felt very full circle because I made that beat in Rhode Island!


What is it like to work with big names in music industry like Ty Dolla $ign, Justin Bieber and JLo?

It’s really cool… nerve-racking at first, but you realize that everybody’s just a regular person at the end of the day. It’s really nice to hear from an artist after you’ve written a song and they start working on it.


What upcoming projects are you looking forward to working on?

The JLo and Maluma project is coming out in May, which I’m super excited about. I’ve been working a bit with Ben Platt (who was in the movie Pitch Perfect) and it has been cool to be involved in some-thing very different musically than what I would normally do. My main focus is trying to work on more rap and R and B, which I’m hoping comes to fruition in 2021.


What advice do you have for other aspiring creatives from Rhode Island?

If there’s something that you love to make, don’t question it. It’s very easy to ditch what you want to do in exchange for something that seems more popular. Trust your gut and believe in what you’re doing. There’s plenty of people who won’t like what you’re making, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Keep making and making and making and don’t be afraid to reach out to other people. None of this is any fun alone, so find people you can share your passion with!