Cleveland Native Wins Red Bull’s New Songwriting Competition

click to enlarge Cleveland Native Wins Red Bull’s New Songwriting Competition
Courtesy of Red Bull
Red Bull has just announced that Ramii, a producer who grew up in Cleveland, has won The Cut, its new songwriting series.

Hosted by multi-platinum record producer and DJ OG Parker, The Cut features 18 unsigned songwriters and producers who pair up to compete for a publishing deal with Red Bull Songs. Contestants must create tracks from scratch in under 10 hours.

Ramii and singer Desta Dawn were crowned champions on account of their song “Make You Feel," which you can hear as part of a Spotify playlist.

Ramii, who now lives in Los Angeles, says he has fond memories of growing up in Northeast Ohio.

“I’m first-generation Palestinian,” he says in a phone interview from his home. “My parents are immigrants and moved here 40 years ago.”

Ramii, who played basketball at Lakewood High School, Tri-C and John Carroll University, started making beats when he was 18.

“Growing up in Cleveland was a lot of fun,” he says. “It’s easy to navigate the city. It’s easy to meet everyone because it’s such a small town. I love Cleveland. I grew up listening to Bone Thugs N Harmony and Tupac and Dr. Dre. I have three older brothers, and I was the youngest of four. They got in early on the gangsta rap music that was coming out in the early ’90s. Bone Thugs was my favorite. They had the melodies. There was nothing like Bone, and I related it to the most because they were from Cleveland.”

Initially, Ramii wound up working with Chip tha Ripper on his mixtape called Money.

“I recorded that in my basement in Lakewood,” Ramii says. “That came out, and then I started producing for him and [local rapper] Fat Al. They had a project called Double Trouble.”

He also started working with Northeast Ohio native Kid Cudi in 2008.

“It was before his first mixtape. Day 'N' Night was out in Europe, but [Kid Cudi] wasn’t known at the time. I met him in 2008, and I got to work with him, and we used some tracks for Chip Tha Ripper’s project Can’t Stop Me.”

He also worked with Machine Gun Kelly on a mixtape and on his first album, Lace Up.

At that point, he took his talents to Los Angeles.

“It was very hard,” he says of the move. “I was couch surfing. I didn’t have a job or any money. I was taking the bus and eating $2 tacos. I had worked with the biggest rappers in Midwest, and I needed to grow. I moved because I wanted to diverse myself, but it was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life.”

Things improved after he opened a store/studio in Los Angeles.

“I met everybody in L.A. at the store,” he says. "And I was making music for 12 hours a day.”

At first, he didn’t want to participate in the Red Bull contest, but once he signed on, he was happy he did.

“I had an ego, to be an honest,” he says. “I felt like I was above it, but thank God I did it because of the outcome. Competing was a little stressful. Having musicians at hand was great. I could call in a keyboard guy or a guitarist or drummer. I could utilize all these veteran musicians. Having them at my fingertips and being able to utilize them was huge. Red Bull is a very nice studio. Having the resources and ability to work out of a legitimate studio was great. I was nervous at first, but it’s like basketball. Once you get in the game, the nerves go away.”

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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