As a natural introvert, Gabriel Cabanal-Duvillard, better known as Saavane Machete, has always been shy. With an intense passion for music, he knew he never wanted to be a performer, but was destined to share his talent with the masses. Becoming a producer felt natural to him, as he can stay under the radar but make music for a wide audience, expressing those emotions and feelings that he has trouble articulating with words.
“When I was in high school, I played guitar in one band and drums in another. I was also a DJ and the first songs I made were to impress my friends at high school parties. I would only say that I made the song after playing it, in case my friends would hate it or wouldn’t dance, but that didn’t happen very often, and I slowly started gaining confidence,” says Saavane.
That feels like a lifetime ago for Saavane, who is now an in-demand producer in his home country of France and around the world. He has worked with musicians and bands on acclaimed and platinum selling albums, including Columbine, Lorenzo, Kekra and Laylow, Joanna, and more. His music has been streamed by millions on Spotify, and even played in national commercials, such as the “Nissan x BET Awards Internet Commercial”. He has undoubtedly come a long way from that nervous teen, as fans everywhere are dancing along to his dynamic beats.
One way that Saavane aims to reach out to his vast fanbase is through his YouTube Channel. Under the name “saavane” Machete’s channel has over 7 million views, and each video is designed to simply share his music.
Saavane decided to start the channel back in 2015 when online producers were transitioning from Soundclick to Beatstars and Myflashstore (online beat selling websites). The problem with these platforms for Saavane was that only producers or artists that knew about them would use them. He wanted a broader audience, and realized YouTube would be a good way to showcase his work and redirect the viewers to his website where they could then purchase what they heard.
“I think I started my Youtube channel at the right time. I uploaded my first beat to see if people liked my music and the video got 100 000 views so I kept uploading more. I found a niche by uploading chill and slow beats and my audience grew steadily from there,” he says.
For a Producer that often works from home, Saavane loves the creative freedom that comes with having a Youtube channel. He usually uploads between one and two videos a week, aiming to stay as consistent as possible, which is important to staying relevant on YouTube and gaining new subscribers. There can be challenges, like having to deal with fake copyright claims or people stealing his music, but he says that’s what he signed up for having his intellectual property available on the internet, and those challenges make the success of the channel even more worth it. He has built a large, loyal audience, that always are eagerly awaiting his next upload.
“It feels really good, though it is sometimes overwhelming. My music is used all over the internet. For example, my beat “Roll With Me” has more than one million views on my channel, it has been used in the Korean song “Apple Box”, that has more than 2 million views, has been used in the song “Mat Za Ronga” that has more than 1 million views on Youtube and was topping the charts in Kenya. It also was used in a Dan Bilzerian video that has more than 1 million view. I estimated that this one beat was used in more than 1000 songs on Soundcloud,” says Saavane. “Some people have said that my music helped them study, motivated them, and helped them go through difficult times and even cope with grief. That is always a greater reward than the numbers.”
Saavane is proud to have built such a successful YouTube channel and often thinks back to that nervous teen that was afraid to share his music with his friends, that now shares it with the world.
“If I could talk to the 16-year-old Saavane, I would tell him to sleep, eat well. A Ferrari needs premium gas! Protect your ears, read every contract. Be smart, observe, adapt but stay yourself. Make music that you like, that is how you will get better,” he said. “Unfortunately, I’m not sure he would listen.”
To stay up-to-date with Saavane Machete’s career, or to buy some of his beats, head to his website saavane.com.