Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

MEET PANIZ FAROKHNIA: A MUSICAL PRODUCER & A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY CONNECTOR

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This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Paniz Farokhnia is a creative bridge builder. Give her a tune and she’ll tell you how she sees ways to connect them into a music you’ll want to put on repeat. Having fallen in love with music since her early days, Paniz was curious about what happens behind the scenes in a journey of making a music for your audience to enjoy and smile to. That is why, when we needed a new music producer, we knew Paniz was the one for our Studios. 

As someone who loves music, and of diverse styles, I knew she could help us tell the innovators’ story with the music we make together. Meet Paniz, who shares more about how she fell in love with music and what she recommends for those who want to do the same.

In my Q&A with Paniz, we cover an array of topics from why creativity is crucial to what she does, why she chose music and music production, how has the pandemic changed the music industry, and what are the trends she’s most excited about! We even delve a little into what Paniz is reading and listening to now, what are places she recommends in LA, what she does to decompress, and so much more. 

MONICA:  How would you describe yourself in three words?

Paniz:  Positive. Adaptable. and Ambitious.

MONICA:  Why is creativity important to you?

Paniz:  It’s the limitless of possibilities. There are no limits, no ceiling, no end with creativity and that fascinates me the most. 

MONICA:  What was your favorite project, experience or memory working at InnovatorsBox?

Paniz:  My favorite experience with InnovatorsBox has been the collaboration aspect. Even though the team is physically all over the world, it’s so cool to come together remotely and create!

Trend about work:

MONICA:  Why is making music important to you?

Paniz:  I love that music is a form of self-expression, regardless of whether you are the maker or the listener. You make a song from something that comes from within. Then almost every listener will hear that and relate it to something with them. One of my professors, Dr. Susan Rogers, once said “people don’t listen to records to learn about you, they listen to records to learn about themselves”. It is so fascinating to be a part of something that is so universal and can make such an impact in 2-4 minutes. 

Music is a form of self-expression, regardless of whether you are the maker or the listener.

MONICA:  What is one skill that you found to be key in being a music producer?

Paniz:  The psychological side of it.

MONICA:  What is something new you had to learn how to do for music production that you are excited about? 

Paniz:  Having remote sessions. Before the pandemic, the thought of making music with other creatives over a screen never even crossed my mind. Learning how to manage it and how to work the technology that helps it, has been so cool! Making music is still always nicer in person for me, but to be able to work with people from anywhere in the world has been game changing.

MONICA:  When producing music, how is it different from actually doing the role versus what you thought it was going to be? What would you shed light to others who want to be a music producer in what they should learn and hone to do?

Paniz:  Growing up, I always saw music production as this music making thing that’s done at the studio. Being in the role, I see that the studio is not necessary at all and you must put in a lot of time outside of the sessions alone to fine tune.

I would tell others to not overthink things in production and to not lose sight of what music means to them. Being in the pop music industry, it’s easy to lose yourself in what is trending and what is selling and let that drive your music. It’s important to take those things into consideration but at the end of the day, we all pursued music because it meant something to us, and we can’t lose sight of that. 

It’s easy to lose yourself in what is trending and what is selling but we can't lose sight of what music means to us.

MONICA:  How has the pandemic changed how you and your industry develop music?

Paniz:  Definitely working remotely and the more advanced we are getting with technology, the more the idea of recording studios are dying. The pandemic has been a huge jump for that. You can get studio quality recordings straight from your bedroom and a lot of people had to explore that during the quarantine. 

MONICA:  Is there any routine you have that helps you stay creative?

Paniz:  Freeing my mind and being inspired helps me stay most creative. If I’m in a block, I’ll just go on a drive and listen to music. Although living in LA, now I don’t like driving as much as I did – so lately my outlets have been indoor rock climbing or the beach. 

MONICA:  What trends are you seeing in music production that you are excited about and worried about?

Paniz:  I’m most excited about the middle eastern instruments I’ve lately been hearing in American pop music. I’m most worried about trap hi-hats. I really thought we would be over it by now. I feel like songs are starting to sound the same with it. 

Getting to know Paniz

MONICA:  What advice would you give your younger self?

Paniz:  You are capable of more than you think, believe in yourself more and trust yourself more. Also making money with music is important, don’t be so against the music business world. 

MONICA:  Who are creatives that inspire you?

Paniz:  Lido, Melanie Martinez, Galimatias, Grades, Justin Timberlake, Googoosh (Iranian Artist), Rick Rubin

MONICA:  What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading?

Paniz:  I only read nonfiction books these days so I’d say – Freedom by Osho.

MONICA:  What are you listening to lately – music or/and podcasts?

Paniz:  Lately I’ve been listening to more Bossa Nova and the record I always find myself going back to “Everything” by Lido. I almost only listen to music related podcasts, my three favorites are – and the writer is, switched on pop, and the new music business with Ari Herstand.

MONICA:  What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why?

Paniz:  Love Island UK. My day to day is filled with work from about 6 different jobs, it is just so nice to come from that, sit back and watch British people date on a reality TV show. 

MONICA:  What is your favorite way to decompress? Why?

Paniz:  Going rock climbing or to the beach. 

MONICA:  If someone is visiting Los Angeles for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do?

Paniz:  You can not come out here and not go on the beautiful hikes. My three favorite hiking spots are Runyon Canyon, Wisdom Tree, and Los Liones. I do not recommend going to the beach within LA but definitely go north to Malibu or south to Newport. For food, I absolutely love the Persian food out here. Before moving to LA, the Persian food was always my main reason for visiting. LA has the biggest population of Iranians outside of Iran so the food is AMAZING. 

MONICA:  If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do? 

Paniz:  Australia has been on my bucket list for many years now. I would just love to go explore it. 

Thank you, Paniz, for being such a passionate creator of music and for all that you do and bring to the table! You’re such a creative soul, and we look forward to working together at InnovatorsBox Studios in bringing more music for all to enjoy and be inspired from. 

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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