Aamir Yaqub.jpg

Course Studied: BA/MA Music Production

Year of Graduation: 2006/2007

Top Career Highlights:

  • Becoming a professional Engineer/Producer (an accomplishment in itself!)
  • Working on a Number 1 Record
  • Winning a GRAMMY for my work on Rihanna’s Unapologetic album

With a specialist understanding of hip-hop, R&B, soul and pop music, Aamir Yaqub is an award-winning and highly sought after producer, engineer and writer. Perhaps most notably, Aamir won a GRAMMY Award for his engineering role on Rihanna’s album ‘Unapologetic’. His career is flourishing and previous clients have included Emeli Sande, David Guetta and Alicia Keys, to name but a few.

He studied on both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Music Production at Leeds Conservatoire, an experience which proved invaluable for building a network which has supported Aamir in his career to date.

What was your earliest musical experience? 

In my early life, music was always a big part of my culture. My parents both enjoyed it and it was always on around me. I think my earliest memory was handling a vinyl record and putting it on the player. I remember being blown away by this record bigger than my head and the fact that the record player was making a sound! I think it was a Herb Alpert record… though I can’t remember which one!

Was there something in particular that made you choose Leeds Conservatoire to study your BA and MA in Production?

When I visited Leeds Conservatoire, I really liked the city of Leeds - I had family in West Yorkshire so always used to visit during school holidays. I remember being really impressed by the facilities and the fact there were a few studios that I could access. The people who took me for my audition were very nice, made me feel comfortable, and were very friendly too, which made me feel even more positive. I remember looking across the road on the board at The Wardrobe and seeing the upcoming acts and then getting a feel for the Leeds live music scene in general - it seemed like a perfect fit for me!

How did your time here help you shape such a successful professional career?

In many ways. I obviously learnt so much, with the ability to access great facilities and the teachers were always pushing me and believed in my talent. It was very reassuring. I really got to grips with the technical stuff, but also learnt so much about the importance of networks - such as your peers and other working professionals, who had come in as guests. I had a mentor that was introduced to me via the course, and that really helped loads too. It was great to be around such great musicians on other courses as well, it made the whole experience so much better!

You say you’re involved in mentoring young artists and producers in your home town, London. What inspired you to get involved with this sort of work?

I felt inspired because I had teachers who looked out for me beyond delivering lessons at Leeds Conservatoire. I really loved that they were so open, honest and humble enough to share their knowledge and experience and it really left a great impression on me. I felt inspired to do that myself one day, and now I am!

You’ve done the rounds on the London studio circuit, having worked in Metropolis Studio and many more. What has been your favourite collaboration or project to date?

I have been so fortunate to have worked with so many great artists, but I really loved working with Sia the most. It was so much fun and she was so humble, gracious and talented. It didn’t feel like work! She’s incredible and I’ve always admired incredible talent. 

Your innovation as a producer is reflected in your critical acclaim – you won a Grammy Award for your work on Rihanna’s ‘Unapologetic’ album! In your opinion, what makes a unique producer?

Uniqueness comes from a few things. Firstly, the chemistry between a producer and songwriter/artist creates a unique energy - especially when you’re pushing each other to think differently, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Secondly, confidence - you have to be confident enough to know you’re doing something that is both great and not insecurely copying someone else!

What is your top advice for a young producer trying to break through?

Create great music and collaborate. Sounds obvious, but collaboration can breed some really amazing results, and that’s where the magic happens! Also, try and develop great working relationships with a few great musicians, songwriters and artists and create with them often - that’ll help you to establish a sound.

What’s coming up next in your diary?

I’m currently working on some stuff for major labels here in the UK, both in terms of production and mixing, as well working on independent acts and stuff remotely from Europe and the USA! Busy (but great) times!

Learn more about Aamir and his work

Discover more about our BA (Hons) in Music (Production) – here.

Find out more about what our successful graduates have been up to in our Alumni Profiles

Are you a Leeds Conservatoire graduate? Reconnect with us here

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