Recording Connection mentor James Salone at Salone Productions in Jackson, Mississippi!
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James Salone of Salone Productions in Jackson, MS is a highly regarded engineer and producer who has worked for many years in the gospel, blues, and R & B industries. He’s also been a Recording Connection mentor for over a decade. We sat down with James and picked his brain on everything from how to break into the industry to the best way to approach a project.
RRFC: How did you start working with the Recording Connection?
James: They contacted me via the telephone, so that’s how I initially got involved with them but I heard about them because I watch the YouTube show Pensado’s Place.
RRFC: We hear mentoring for us isn’t your first experience teaching audio to people.
James: Actually, I designed a program for a local community college, Hinds Community College. It was the local community college in the area, when I was in school at Jackson State, I was trying to work in the recording studio they had at the college.
RRFC: Given your experience in a traditional school setting, what do you see as the main benefit of working in an apprenticeship style learning environment?
James: I think the main benefit of this program is that you get hands on experience and you are able to actually see what being a musician requires as far as how to treat people and how to be on time and how to conduct yourself in a field position. You don’t always get that in a classroom. With this program you get both of them, so you get the academic aspect of it, you go through the lessons and you’re also able to hang out at the studio and just learn what you learn.
RRFC: How are your current apprentices doing in their audio engineering studies?
James: I’m currently mentoring Marcus Blackman from Hattiesburg, MS. He’s doing really well. He’s very serious about it. And that’s the main thing. The more students put into it, they more they are going to get out of it. As far as their time and whatever we talked about in class to then go back and apply it to whatever he records or whatever he’s working on at the time.
RRFC: When students come to you, do they have a concrete idea of what they want out of the program?
James: Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It depends on the student. In Marcus’ case, I think he had an idea. He wanted to get better at recording and the technical side of it. I think I was able to help in both ways, as far as seeing what he wants to do. Now he’s in the studio, he wants to open up his own recording studio in Hattiesburg. So I’ve been able to help him plan for that.
RRFC: While Marcus has been in the studio with you, what musical acts have you worked with?
James: Well I guess recent artist I worked with are a couple of Malaco artists recently, the Minister and the Man’s Choir. Actually, that album I worked on won a Stellar Award, which is pretty big in Gospel music. And then I did another album with them a guy called Michonne and Worship. He did pretty good on the gospel charts. I have a couple rap artists that I’m working on, but they haven’t came out yet. I think they’re going to be really good.
James is just one of the many Recording Connection mentors who take pride in helping ambitious people get the hands-on audio engineering and music production skills and connections they need to turn dreams into reality.