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Recording Connection mentor Josh Monroy is proof-positive that getting in and showing your commitment to the craft, day-in and day-out, can launch your career to unprecedented heights. With more than a decade in the music industry, Josh “Igloo” Monroy has worked with everyone from Justin Bieber to Quincy Jones, to The Notorious B.I.G. The seasoned engineer/composer/producer is also known for his longtime work with iconic artist Ludacris. An Atlanta native, Josh recently answered the call to come out to Los Angeles and is now co-owner of Studio 1 Zero. His most recent success includes the work he’s done on JoJo’s critically-acclaimed album Mad Love, which includes three tracks recorded, produced, and co-written by the multifaceted music professional.
Josh knew that getting work in the music industry would mean late hours and ample hard work and persistence. So, he took whatever in-studio jobs he could, just to get his foot in the door, spending a fair amount of his time doing the necessary “dirty work” of taking out the trash, dusting consoles, and filing papers. He knew that just being in the right ecosystem was a rare privilege. “I knew that the reality of the industry is that you just need connections.” And those connections might not stick to 9-5 hours, either.
Speaking of the time when he was just starting out, Josh says, “I lived very far away. I drove a Jeep and I couldn’t afford the gas money. On one hand, it was because I was broke that got me that gig. On another hand, it was always because I would stick around the studio. What was for me at my house with my brothers that I was living at, at 20-years-old just out of Full Sail, there wasn’t anything to do besides drink or play video games. It was like, ‘Man, I’m just going to stay here [at the studio]. This is cool. This is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life and here I am in it.’ A lot of times I’d find myself sleeping at the studio. There were showers. There was a kitchen. There was coffee. There was a snack room. I pretty much had everything I needed. I’m still a simple person but I just put myself out there.
…Then one of those nights I was up there. It was just me in the studio, you know, the late night manager, and Ludacris called and I happened to be the one to answer the phone. I took the order for the session, basically. I called the studio manager. She couldn’t get anyone. It was very late. She was like, ‘Well, Josh, it looks like you’re going to do your first assisting gig for Ludacris.” And there you go. She found an engineer, luckily, and I went in and set up the room and all that kind of stuff. Then, as they say the rest is history. That engineer ended up quitting. Then boom. Luda offered me a job later on.”
Speaking of the work he did on R&B artist JoJo’s Mad Love, we wanted to know more about how the title track, co-written by Josh and JoJo, came about. According to Josh, JoJo walked into the studio with the idea for a song already percolating:
“She walked into the studio and was like “I have this idea. People say ‘mad love’ like ‘I got mad love for you.’ She’s from Massachusetts and people say ‘mad’ as in a lot or whatever. She was like, ‘Let’s write a song. Let’s use that as a concept.’ That just gave us our basis to start the track…That’s how we get our day started. We had some coffee then, I think that just led from the mad love and the vintage thing to the song. “Mad Love” was born right there. It was literally the first chord progression I played… It’s like four chords I think. It doesn’t normally… Usually I would have a change in the pre-chorus or a chord change for the chorus or whatever. In that particular song, it just felt right. I kept trying to change it but it just felt right just to keep it the same progression the whole way. It just makes for a really big record and I’m very-very thankful and blessed that she chose it to be the name of her album.”
So what’s Josh’s advice for Recording Connection students on getting ahead in the industry?
Josh doesn’t mince words when we ask him what advice he has for Recording Connection students on getting ahead in music. He says,
If this is your dream as a student, then it’s really how much you put into it is [that predetermines] what you’re going to get back… I never had a plan B. I don’t know if this is great advice or terrible advice… but I just never gave myself another option. It was never even a thought in my head that, ‘Well, if this doesn’t work out…’ That was never an option for me. It was, “This is what I’m going to do.” I think that a mindset like that and just not giving up, it kind of sounds cheesy but just not giving up, man.”
Get in. Work hard. Don’t give up and make sure to answer those late-night phone calls. You never know who might be calling you!