We had the good fortune of connecting with Za “Zay” Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Za “Zay”, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
That’s a great question. I’ve actually been writing and producing for about 10 years now, and picked up engineering along the way. There was a lot of learning and just trying to polish what I bring to the table in the beginning. The more work I did by myself, as well as with others, the better I became. While working with others though, I always wanted to make sure the experience they had with me was a pleasurable, and an impactful one. I wanted them to genuinely love working with me, and feel like it was different. Fast forward a few years to when I was actually good, haha, people started to hear the work I did with others and the calls started coming in. People would say things like they loved the quality of sound it had, or they’d describe a creative element that grabbed them from the song. The next thing I knew, I had clients coming to me for production, or for a feature, or to be their engineer. Still I wasn’t looking at myself as a business owner, more so just someone who provided services by request. It wasn’t until I started to really notice how many clients were coming and expressing how the experience they were getting with me was so different than what they’d get going to other studios. Of course they loved the product, all glory to God, but more than that, they loved working with someone who cared about what they were trying to birth. They’d express that what they typically got was an engineer who was there to just press the red button and collect their money, or a producer who cared more about what they wanted on the track, not what the artist needed. But what they felt they got with me was someone who prioritized making sure what they heard in their head came to life. That always held so much weight with me because I genuinely do care. I know what it’s like to create and really work to birth something. That “thing” is your baby. What doctor doesn’t care about if the baby is delivered properly? So for me, all of those moments where people shared why they kept coming back to work with me, that’s how I came up with the idea for my business and ultimately why I started it.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My Business: I own a Music Production Company called “Common Goal Productions LLC.” At Common Goal, we provide services centered around creating Hit content. Whether you’re working on an entire album, or looking for just that one missing harmony, we can promise it lives here. A company by creatives for creatives, your next hit is within reach! What sets us apart: To plainly put it, we care about YOU! Your project, your impact, your success, your LIFE, we care! Of course while creation is taking place care is shown, but even more than that. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat with clients before or after the session and just listened. I literally just tried to be there for them in whatever way they needed. At the end of the day, before we’re artists or creators or anything else, we’re people. We all go through things. We all have feelings about the things we’re going through. We’re all just big kids figuring it out as we go. Why would I not take a moment to be there for another person? I care about if you’re okay. I don’t know how else to say it, it just matters to me. Yes, it’s a business and a schedule has to be followed, I have other clients and projects, I know all this. But, that moment you take could mean the world to someone else. Plus, all glory to God, I believe putting those things in priority is why He’s never allowed me to miss a beat or get off track with everything else. We care about you. How did I get to where I am today business-wise: Well, like I said before in the “how did you get the idea for your business” segment, my clients. I went from looking at myself as someone who could do a lot of different things musically and did them by request, to hearing the love and appreciation my clients would express after working with me. I care about what they’re trying to birth. So as things progressed, I feel as though God gave me my “Why,” and I got to work. I’ve taken my time to really learn my craft, learn the industry I’m apart of and the way business is handled, and I apply what I’ve learned. I learn something new everyday. Common Goal is brand new as a business, however I have total faith it’s going to have the impact God intends for it to have. What am I most proud of: I think I’m most proud of how satisfied all of my clients are with their product. It feels great to see them excited about their song and feel that “Oh my God! It’s finished! YES!” moment. There’s nothing like it. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome: No it’s not easy at all. I think any business owner can agree that owning and running your own business is challenging but, I think the reward is in knowing this is mine. I can build it and continue to add to it the way I see fit. I can pass it down to my children if they would like it. I just have to keep my feet to the ground and keep going. What do I want the world to know about the brand: I want them to know at Common Goal has everything you’re looking for. You’ll get class, care, and ultimately a HIT! Our commitment to you is that we’re going to bring what you hear in your head to life. We don’t believe in album fillers and we never settle. A company by creatives for creatives. Your next hit is within reach!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I’m actually originally from Baltimore, Maryland and there’s a funny story about that. When my family and I first moved down here, they were running the “Snapple facts” Snapple commercial on the radio, and one of the facts they would tell was that the city of Houston by itself was bigger than state of Maryland. I used to be like “Man, why they gotta call out my state, out of all the states!” Haha it was funny. All that being said, Houston is HUGE! There are still so many places I’ve never been or heard of! But if I had to pick, I’d probably say the Museum district down-town is probably my favorite. I love the parks down there and I love a good museum. If you’ve never been and you’re coming to Houston, check it out!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I have to give all glory and honor to Jesus Christ, The Center of my life. Without Him I’d be NOTHING! I’d also like to shout out my parents, Charles and Cynthia Smith, who’ve been there supporting me from the very beginning. My dad shaped and molded me as a music creator and my mom brought an incredible presence as a writer as well! Matter of fact, go check out her new book, “When he CHEATED and I FORGAVE,” OUT NOW! (shameless plug haha.) All 5 of my brothers and sisters, I love you guys! You keep me grounded. My brother and fellow creator, BTHEONE, an incredible artist with an incredible voice, actually saying something! His new project is coming out soon. And last but CERTAINLY not least; my best friend, my rock, my blessing, my fiance, Sophia. Talk about a life partner. She’s the most talented person I know. There isn’t any one else that could wear all the hats she’s able to wear for me. She’s been a voice, a writer, a videographer when I needed it, a director, business manager, my chef haha, my shoulder, and a million other things all while kicking butt in her senior year of college. I love you babe, God knew I couldn’t do it without you so He placed you by my side just in time.