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Working in live events can be difficult to break into. It’s all about who you know. However, when your connections base reach critical mass then everything suddenly comes together. Recording Connection apprentice Alexa Cooper found this out first hand. Even before she could finish her apprenticeship, she had amassed so many connections that she got hired to work on tour. Since then, thanks to the connections that she was able to gain through her apprenticeship with Kaj Flach-Nielsen at Blue Light Studio in Vancouver she’s worked with bands like AC/DC, Dave Mathews and Katy Perry and, most recently, A$AP Rocky.
When asked about how she’s been able to advance so quickly Alexa says, “You got to be willing to put in work and not just look at the pay check. You have to be willing to give your time and show that you’re trying to learn and improve, because especially in the industry that I’m in with live events, for every 15 people that come in, there’s one that’s proactive. There are 14 others who are not really that good at what they do and not trying to get better. So if you put in even that small amount of effort, you’re going to stand out like crazy.”
The touring live audio industry is also heavily male-dominated. However, things are changing. When we ask Alexa what her experience has been like as a female in audio she says, “Pretty much all the girls that I have met that are in the industry are freaking rock stars and super good at what they do. The girl who helped me fix my rig in New Jersey was on Gwen Stefani. Gwen walked in and was like, ‘Oh you’re on tour, Girl Power!’ and was freaking out over her. As a girl, you definitely stand out a bit more and you do have that advantage. There’s a lot of heavy lifting in this and guys like to stand in and help you. Sometimes it’s really nice and sometimes it’s frustrating like, ‘Back off, I’m doing this.’ I haven’t run into any problems. I actually feel it to be a pretty good advantage most of the time, because you stand out more.”
So what’s life like in live events? Alexa says, “It’s so much fun, especially with A$AP since we’re a small crew. It’s like a family, because it’s just us everywhere we go. I think it’s a lot of fun. Everybody’s super awesome. It’s like we’re so…I think a lot of us know how fortunate we are to be where we are…When I tell people what I do, I’ve had girls scream in my face like, ‘You work with A$AP!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ It’s a really fun world and everybody…Even Rocky himself, he is really nice and he’s a super chill guy. Pretty much everyone I’ve met is awesome, minus the like, random sour people here and there, but that’s in every industry really.”
Succeeding in music, whether that’s in the recording studio or making a name for yourself in the live audio and touring circuit requires a tireless commitment to always doing your best work and getting noticed by those who can make that phone call or give you that offhand tip that culminates with a terrific gig working for big name talent. That’s why the Recording Connection apprenticeship approach is so helpful for getting people into place to build their careers and set a trajectory for success. When asked how she developed connections in the studio Alexa says, “When you’re spending 12 hours one day just sitting in the room with the same people, I feel like naturally you’re going to connect.” Of course, we think her can-do, proactive attitude is a big reason she’s going full-throttle. With nowhere to go but up, Alexa fills her off-days with building her own rig and working on her own music. For now, she’ll continue thriving in the music ecosystem as she readies herself for the next big thing.