If you want to succeed in the world of audio engineering you’ve got to be in love with the grind. The hours can be long, the work relentless but you’ll stay in it, working hard because you love music. Billy Gardella is one of those people.
Billy recently graduated from the Recording Connection. His apprenticeship took place at Factory Underground in Norwalk, Connecticut, about 20 minutes outside of Bridgeport. Billy applied himself to his studies and didn’t shy away from hard work. His can-do attitude was one his mentor and studio owner Ethan Isaac and Factory staff members, including producer Kenny Cash, noticed right off the bat.
In fact, they were so impressed with Billy’s work ethic that after he graduated from Recording Connection they hired him on as an assistant engineer.
In a recent interview we asked Billy what he did right. He’s quick to respond, saying:
I did everything that I possibly could do: overnight sessions, coming here even when I was working another job, the restaurant job that I had. I was either coming here before or after my shifts, I was working seven days a week. Anything that I could do to get my foot more into the door, I did. And it paid off.”
A normal job isn’t for everyone. Billy had been finding this out firsthand when fate (or family) stepped in and led him to Recording Connection:
I actually didn’t find the Recording Connection. My sister did. To be honest, I don’t know where she saw it, if she saw like an ad online or whatever. It may have been, but she just mentioned it to me because she knew I was at a community college, just a regular plain old college, and I wasn’t into it at all. My family knew that. They could see that it wasn’t for me. I was struggling because I had no passion for anything. I was literally going just to go, to make other people happy. And she mentioned it to me, I looked into it, and I thought why not? It could be a great way for me to get my foot into the door into something I loved, because almost all my life what I wanted to do is music, have something to do with music. Luckily my sister found you guys, and it all worked out from there.”
Now a year later, Billy has more good news to share. He’s been promoted from assistant engineer to full-fledged staff engineer. Once Billy was earning a paycheck he didn’t rest on his laurels. Instead, he’s stayed focused on improving his skills, bringing in new clients and adding value wherever and whenever he could. He says: “I really stayed dedicated and kept sitting in on sessions and working late hours…just really wanting to learn and grow myself, and through all my hard work I was able to secure a position as an assistant engineer, and now I’ve recently moved up to an engineer as my title. So yeah, things are going great.”
When asked if he’s got advice for creators who are still trying to break-in Billy says:
It’s all what you make out of it; it’s all passion I’ve seen people come into the studio, do the Recording Connection and not even finish the program. Even if they did finish the program, not do anything with it…It’s really up to the person who’s doing the program, you know, the student, the person who is trying to make a career for themselves. It’s all work ethic and passion…It’s either this or nothing for me.”