+ Learn how to break out of repetitive loops and add emotionality and vulnerability to your beats and tracks with Soundfly’s course, Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability.
FL Studio has had an unspoken history of being the entry-level tool for producers since its introduction in the late ’90s. Since those days though, it has evolved into an absolute powerhouse of sound manipulation. Throughout all of its changes and upgrades, it has maintained a remarkably consistent level of accessibility to attract musicians of all learning levels interested in music production, not just hip-hop.
All the way back in 2005, FL Studio (formerly, “FruityLoops”) was my own first experience with a DAW at the ripe age of 14. For those of us getting started in music production, we’re often met with Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, and AVID’s ProTools being the standard DAWs to use (I am a Reason man, myself) — yet even still, these conversations often tend to find their way to: “oh, you started with FruityLoops, too!?”
A more universal gateway software platform there is not. Artists such as Tyler, The Creator, Skrillex, and the late Avicii have all stated FL Studio as crucial during the beginning stages of their production journeys.
For many, FL Studio is not just a stepping stone into production, it is a way of life. That’s certainly the case for Chicago-based producer Jlin, who claims that in her Footwork scene, “if your first version of your DAW wasn’t cracked, you’re not a real producer.” As such, there are plenty of artists who have remained loyal to the DAW and Image-Line Software’s dedication to delivering top-notch beat making grids.
From Metro Boomin to Martin Garrix to Kaytranada to Jalil Beats, the wealth of imagination FL Studio can bring out of artists is phenomenal. So, let’s take a look at seven artists known for making creative use of all that FL Studio has to offer. And why not start with someone very special to Soundfly…
Jlin has been called one of the most prominent producers of our generation — male or female — and there’s good reason for it. With material that is 100% original, Jlin has risen to fame quickly through an initial release on Planet Mu’s Bangs & Works Vol 2. compilation in 2011 with her tracks “Erotic Heat” and “Asylum.” And her use of FL Studio is right at the heart of her creative efforts, as someone who studied advanced mathematics in school, she sees the grid as a playground of opportunities.
Jlin has a unique ability to unify sound and motion through her music, often collaborating with dancers and choreographers, and leading the charge in the Chicago footwork scene as one of the rare women producers of the genre. Beyond her raw talent, what really sets her apart is her overall philosophy on music making and her commitment to helping others grow in their craft as well, that makes her a true icon.
We wanted to capture those philosophies and processes at work in our brand new online course with Jlin! If you’re a producer or beat maker looking for inspiration and invigoration in your sound, and the validation that you’re worthy and on the right path as an artist, check out Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability, exclusively on Soundfly.
Soulja Boy is an essential part of the conversation if we’re talking about FL Studio. As an artist that has embraced documenting his artistic endeavors since the early social media days of Myspace, we’ve known he’s been a faithful user of the DAW since he was a teenager. His viral debut single “Crank That” is emblematic of the magic of FruityLoops: it only uses the program’s stock sounds and features, meaning that anyone with access to this software can make it right out the box with no extras required.
This fact has become such a staple to the FL community that the song is now honored by musical speed runs, with producers seeing who can use those same stock sounds to recreate the song in the shortest amount of time
He has continued to champion the program that made him a star to this day. He’s often taking to Instagram Live, Twitch, and Snapchat to share full sessions of his beat making in real time. Surely his budget for new sounds and fancy plugins has grown over time, but his ear for catchy tunes and attention to production detail were refined and honed with the basics everyone starts off with on their FL Studio adventure.
MYKKA is a producer and DJ from Argentina. She picked up FL Studio when she was only 11 years old, and it’s been a steady incline on success from there. Though she uses FL Studio to release dubstep under her own name, she’s also becoming known as one of the go-to producers in South America for the popular trap/hip-hop sound.
She explains on Image-Line’s website:
“For me, FL Studio was always a way of expressing myself unconventionally, which is the only one that helps me to get feelings out. It changed my life in a radical way and for that I will always be grateful.”
It’s so empowering to have such a tool at your disposal when it comes to music creation. Seeing that her talent and dedication has taken her to produce for artists like Bad Bunny, Cazzu, and Omar Varela, it’s safe to say she’s found a piece of software that truly supports her ideas.
MdL is a producer that works primarily in mainstream and pop music. You may not have come across this guy’s name, but you have definitely heard his productions. Justin Bieber, Anne-Marie, and Maroon 5 are just a few of the star-studded artists that light up his illustrious resume. He maintains a low profile, offering sample packs and various production services via his website.
The FL community is huge on sharing tutorials via YouTube, which became MdL’s school of choice when learning the DAW. And judging by the artists he has worked with so far, it seems like he earned an A+ building up his production knowledge. The videos MdL has uploaded to his YouTube channel are all about sharing information and building a better productional foundation through practice and study. MdL is a perfect example of giving back to the community that helped him cultivate his own artistic output and sound.
Starting at the age of 9, WondaGurl got her start replicating her favorite beats using FruityLoops. She received a Casio keyboard from her grandparents and dedicated herself to learning and perfecting her craft. Her earliest production credits link her to JAY-Z, Rihanna, and Drake; her work has gone on to include all kinds of huge names and projects to match her huge, colorful beats: Mariah Carey, Pop Smoke, and she even contributed a track for the Black Panther: Wakanda Remixed EP.
In a male-dominated field, WondaGurl focuses less on the competing and more on becoming better for herself. Throughout her career thus far, she has been a staunch advocate for female producers of all ages to believe in their sound and to reach for the stars. She’s become a trailblazer for women in music and specifically in production / engineering, and she doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.
P.S. If you’ve ever come across another Toronto producer Boi-1da and wondered “gee, their names sure are similar,” you’d have good reason to. WondaGurl modelled her name after Boi-1da’s, and he’s since become a sort of mentor for her (he also uses FL Studio, by the way).
Hudson Mohawke is a multifaceted artist with SO MUCH going on. Solo artist, DJ, producer for himself and others: Kanye West, Christina Aguilera, Björk, John Legend, Drake, Boards of Canada, these are just a few of the artists Hudson has worked with in some capacity. A meticulous creator, he prefers things to be efficient and ready to go in his workflow. FL Studio is his choice DAW in that regard, and considering his output over the last few decades, it’s an excellent choice.
Hudson Mohawke is a prime example of an artist that defines his work on his own terms, and with the help of FL Studio, this has been possible on monumental levels.
Story time! The year is 2007, I am 16, and a huge fan of some unknown 20 year old Canadian rapper named Drake. His second mixtape, Comeback Season, was released in the fall. One of the last tracks features some of my favorite rappers and an otherworldly beat that sampled my favorite Anita Baker song, “Sweet Love.” Before the song could finish, Drake chimes in to say he had not yet paid 9th Wonder for the beat and couldn’t release the full track. Soon after, I search for as much music produced by 9th Wonder as possible… If I knew that 9th used FL Studio just like I did at that time, I’d probably have stuck with it to this day!
There is a special quality to the way 9th Wonder crafts his beats, and it feels wonderful. Hailing from North Carolina, 9th’s production captures that warm and fuzzy feeling you get from listening to vinyl, and then repackages it with a slickness and bounce suited to represent southern hip-hop at large. From rap phenom Kendrick Lamar to hip-hop supergroup Little Brother (which 9th was once a member of), to vocal queens Erykah Badu and Destiny’s Child, and remarkable improvisers Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin, 9th Wonder has constantly worked with some of the heaviest hitters in popular music and found ways to elevate their landscape while including his signature brand.
FL Studio has an immense amount of power in the music production world, and the biggest thing about this DAW’s pull has to be its community. This is a very specific breed of creators that take a “turning water to wine” approach to their work: and with enough fruity parts to the equation, it’s bound to be delicious.
Don’t stop here!
Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, recording and production, composing, beat making, and more on Soundfly, with in-depth artist-led courses by RJD2, Kimbra, Ryan Lott, Com Truise, and the acclaimed Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability.