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It takes lots of hard work and preparedness to be ready for those big opportunities. And sometimes, those big opportunities don’t seem like much at first. For Recording Connection graduate and now assistant engineer Orlando Gomez, opportunity came a-knocking in the form of a young local artist with lots of talent, material, and a manager in tow.
For just-graduated Recording Connection student Robert Macias, who apprenticed under studio manager/engineer/producer Alfredo Gonzalez, simply showing up and doing the best he could has taken him farther, faster than he ever could have anticipated.
As mentioned in a previous interview, when Orlando started apprenticing with Alfredo at Beacon Hill Recording Studios (El Paso, TX) nearly two years ago, he recognized the opportunity as a great one. His gameplan as an apprentice was, he says, “to do my best to keep working there, to keep my job.” Come graduation, Orlando knew he had achieved his goal when Alfredo offered him a job.
Now Orlando serves as Alfredo’s right hand man. A phone call from a local manager who was looking for a local studio to record in quickly turned into a number of recording sessions with a then-18-year-old singer named Khalid. Despite his age, the young artist had already garnered a loyal following of fans in the El Paso area. With a manager by his side, Khalid was going into the studio to lay down his tracks. Many would go on to appear in the artist’s debut album—American Teen. That studio was none other than Beacon Hill. When asked about his credits, Orlando says, “For ‘Location’ I was Assistant Engineer. Then I also got engineering credits on five more songs. Well, I think another Assistant Engineer credit for American Teen and engineering credits for ‘Coaster’ ‘Angels,’ and ‘Shot Down,’ and also songwriting credits on American Teen.”
And there’s a certain amount of pride Orlando takes in the fact that music’s newest rising star is homegrown:
Khalid is from here, from El Paso…His manager told us he had a very talented kid that he wanted to help record some songs. This was before Khalid was even signed…So they came down here to the studio, and I think they were here for four days the first time they came to the studio. And in those four days that’s when we recorded ‘Location,’ ‘American Teen,’ a few of the important songs from the album. They liked working with us, and we obviously liked working with them as well…”
Ever humble about their successes, Alfredo and Orlando both say they’re “very happy” for the success the album they’ve worked on is seeing. To date, American Teen has earned Gold and Khalid’s single “Location” has brought both Alfredo and Orlando Platinum credits!
And even though Khalid has achieved overnight fame and is nominated for an MTV VMA for Best New Artist, he’s currently in the process of laying down more tracks at Beacon Hill! Orlando says:
And we just had another session with Khalid, so that relationship is one that’s continuing. We ended at like 1:00 a.m. He just came here last night. They wrote a song and recorded it…Every time Khalid succeeds in anything, we’re just happy because we know him and…we’re just happy that this is happening to him.”
When asked the just-graduated Robert Macias, who wraps up his audio education with a Gold album credit under his belt, Recording Connection mentor Alfredo Gonzalez says that Robert’s abilty to just be around and do what needed to be done in session and for the success of the project earned him an assistant engineering credit on the top selling album. He says, “Being humble and able to take direction is crucial, because advice is no good if they don’t implement it. So following advice and having perseverance. I think those are three key things [to have]…So the album goes Gold, and everyone that gets a hand in it gets a plaque.”
Read Khalid nominated for MTV VMA for Best New Artist Billboard article.