There are a lot of choices out there when choosing a producer to help you bring your
songs to life. It may be the most important decision you make when making a record or recording your next single to be released out into the world. Here are a few guidelines to help you make the right decision. Ultimately your gut will usually be right.
Know who you are as an Artist and have a good general idea of what your sound is. A producer may ask you for reference track examples (commercial releases) so they can understand clearly what your sound is like.
Choose someone you like. You will be spending a good bit of time interacting with this person so choose someone you wouldn't mind hanging out with even when your not working on your music.
Choose someone you can easily communicate your vision of how you want your songs to sound and someone you feel is receptive and gets where your coming from. Not someone who already knows exactly how they think your song should sound. It's your song, your vision. A great producer will figure out how to help you get there.
Choose a producer that knows your genre and has a track record of success in that genre. Don't be afraid to ask for references of past clients and also records or releases they have produced in your genre. If they baulk at your request, that is a red flag. RUN. It seems obvious but don't hire a Pop producer to produce your country record with steel guitar and fiddles and vice versa.
Do your research on potential producers. Word of mouth is the best advertising there is. If you have a friend who has worked with a producer and had a great experience chances are you will too. Conversely if there are negative things floating around the industry about a producer you may be thinking about choosing, it's best to check into the validity of that as well.
Choose a producer that is not always in a hurry to get it done. Conversely, if you are on a budget time wise, make sure your producer is not too busy already to be able to make your deadline comfortably. Try to work with a producer who has their own home studio (many do) so you can have more privacy and time. It's a little unnerving having "the next client on deck" sitting there watching you do your last vocal takes.
If you have a producer in mind but they are out of your budget, contact them anyway so you can introduce yourself and let them know you would like to work with them at some juncture. They may have an understudy working with them that would be perfect for you and fit your current budget.
These guidelines are food for thought when choosing the right producer.
Happy music making!