Needlz Offers Pearls of Wisdom on Work-life Balance and Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Award-winning music producer Needlz has worked with some of today’s top artists such as Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Drake and much more. His talent is unparalleled as he continues to create musical hits that are known the world over. Aside from being a highly innovative creator, he is also a supportive and dedicated father to his special needs daughter Makayla. His short film As Long As I Got You chronicles the struggles of work-life balance and the day-to-day challenges of raising a child with Phelan Mcdermid Syndrome. This beautiful and inspiring testament to fatherhood celebrates an unconditional love between a parent and his child. In a conversation with QG, Needlz shares his experiences as a groundbreaking industry professional and how he hopes to create awareness for Phelan Mcdermid Syndrome as he strives to encourage other parents.      


How did you develop the name Needlz?


When I was in my senior year of college, I had cancer and at that time I didn’t have a name. I had just started producing and I didn’t have a cool moniker. At one point while undergoing chemotherapy I was just looking down at my arms, and I had needles, and, so that’s how.


How did you get started in the music industry?


I started as a DJ in high school and college. In my third year of school, I didn’t really see a long-term future in DJing. However, I wanted to be involved with music so I decided to go to New York University for their grad school music business program.


I interned at Bad Boy Records. I was in the part of the company that managed the producers and the Hitman. Once they discovered I made beats, they started sneaking my beats in with all the other Hitman.


What inspired music singles like Just the Way You Are?


Actually, Just the Way You Are was a hip hop record for Lupe Fiasco. I had Adam Levine in mind when my friend Cacius wrote the hook, but the label kind of decided they had a new guy that they wanted to get out there, and his name was Bruno Mars. One thing led to another and it ended up going from Lupe Fiasco featuring Bruno Mars to Bruno Mars’ first single.


What was it like winning the