Uriel Soto on Finding Recording Connection and Getting Hired at ES Audio
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Uriel Soto has been musically gifted since all his life. He grew up in a family that was very musically oriented and started playing multiple instruments as a child. Into his late teens, he graduated to being an in-demand pianist and studio musician. From there, Uriel decided he wanted to transition into working in the control room and learn the nuts and bolts of making music sound just as good as possible. Looking to meet the challenge, Uriel enrolled in Recording Connection in the spring of 2013 and was paired with Donny Baker, studio manager and longtime audio professional at
ES Audio in Glendale, just 20 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles.
The hands-on, in-industry nature of the program really appealed to Uriel who explains: “One of the things that I really loved about Recording Connection was that Recording Connection is, I guess, probably the only school that I know of where my classroom was going to be the studio. The classroom wasn’t going to be just out of a textbook.”
Although establishing good rapport and communication with one’s mentor sometimes takes a few weeks, Uriel experienced an instant affinity with Donny: “We connected right from the get-go…I was like, ‘I’m there. I’m sold. I want to learn here with Donny.'”
Now, with close to four years of work experience under his belt, talk music prodution with Uriel Soto aka “Junior” and you’re likely to hear this word—cake: “Making music, especially recording, is kind of like when you make a cake. You mix the ingredients together, which is kind of like when you sit down and you pre-produce some music, or you pre-produce a song, and it just takes very different phases for you to actually record a song…and then you produce it. Many times you don’t have the lyrics there, so you have to sit down and actually record the lyrics. After you’re done recording, you go into editing. After you edit, you go into mixing. After mixing, you go to mastering, which is the final stage, or if you think of it as a cake, it would be the frosting on the cake. That’s what you present to the people. That’s what gets released…When you’re in the studio, it’s kind of thinking like that. There’s many layers, many different things that you go through to actually make a song or a record.”
Uriel loved learning with Donny so much that he went straight from the bachelor’s program and into the masters which he says was a holistic, accelerated way to learn everything that had to happen in a professional recording environment:”It was a great experience, because you’re basically thrown into the mix. You’re basically thrown into, ‘All right, now you learn it. Now you have to do it. Let’s do it.’ And that’s what you do every day at the studio. You work. That part of the program was what we do at the studio every day, as far as recording the songs, editing, mixing, mastering, booking the talent. Everything that has to do with it.”
When graduation day came, months after working with Donny elbow-to-elbow, Uriel found himself not saying goodbye, but rather, getting hired at ES Audio as a fulltime audio engineer! “I had already been helping as much as I could as a student, so when it was time for me to graduate, when I was almost done, Donny came to me and he just basically told me, ‘You know what? Why don’t you just stay here?’…So I just said, ‘Yes, let’s do it. Let’s keep on working.’ It was that easy.” Nearly four years later, Uriel is still coming in every day, working with artists and making great music in a plethora of different genres, from rock to reggae, to pop and hip-hop.
When asked about his experiences at The Recording Connection Uriel says, “I have to be thankful to Recording Connection, to Donny, to ES Audio. It’s the best thing I ever did for myself. I’m enjoying life, I’m working with so many great talented people, doing what I love, and every day is different. It’s not the same 9 to 5 job. It’s not the same sitting in a cubicle. I get up and do what I love to do.”