Latest posts by Liya Swift (see all)
When you’re a creative individual you sometimes need to take some time to take a step back, evaluate what you’re doing, and decide where you’d like to go in life. In a world full of quick so-called fixes and prescribed paths such intropection can be rare. Nevertheless, serious soul-searching and decision making was exactly what Recording Connection student James Boucher (Venice, CA) embarked upon prior to enrolling in the program.
A lifelong musician, James had attended college for two years and earned an A.S. degree in electronic media communications, with the ultimate goal of being able to produce his own music. Even with degree in hand, the accomplishment left him personally and professionally dissatisfied. Despite all his hard work and time spent, he still didn’t have what he’d been going after:
I wasn’t hearing what I wanted to be heard in my own productions when I would go to a studio. And it seemed that, to an extent, some of the creative flow got taken out of it because I wasn’t capable of producing my own work.”
Rather than just running on autoplay, James set his sights on finding the education he needed, and setting himself up in an environment that would enable him to grow as a musician and producer. A New York native, seeing the program had mentors in nearly every state, he decided to bite the bullet and spend a week driving across the U.S. to relocate and do the program in L.A, a choice James calls “a blessing in disguise.”
For his externship, James was matched with the two time Grammy-nominated Eric Denniston at Studio 1 Zero in Los Angeles, CA, who partners with producer Josh Monroy, also a Recording Connection mentor. Artists who’ve recently recorded at Studio 1 include JoJo, Walla, Gza, and 50 Cent.
Eric’s been keeping James busy by getting him mixing on real projects. One of the latest is an EDM infused, R&B track with heavy bass. And even though James says he’s always grateful when he hears “good work” once he’s wrapped a mix, he’s open to criticism and critique, espousing the belief that ego has to take a backseat when it comes to learning the craft:
It’s a matter of if we can convince ourselves to step off that ledge or to grab that hand that’s reaching out, and to accept the help and not sit there in our own pride, but to sit there and take it with a grain of salt, allow people to critique and correct us, and use that to our benefit, even if it’s not going to be what we want to hear at the time.”
Outside of working the curriculum and mixing projects at Studio 1 Zero, James hasn’t wasted a minute when it comes to making friends and collaborating with a number of different L.A. artists from across the art and musical spectrum. He’s delving into any and all projects that speak to him, including recording a female vocalist on top of a number of EDM tracks composed by her partner. Two friends who work in animation at Sony have been sending him drawings which he then uses as the inspiration to visualize and create a soundscape to. The collaboration requires a fair bit of back and forth but the project is enabling him to put his musicianship to the test in exciting new ways.
Now, even though he’s still a student, James feels far more confident about his abilities to make music, thanks to the hands-on and one-on-one training he’s been receiving:
It’s very comforting to know that when I have a fleeting thought or a creative idea in the middle of my writing process, that I’m able to lay it down on a hard copy, a written copy…knowing how to organize that and then knowing, you know, that this creative idea isn’t going to just pass me by—I’m not going to forget it—I’m going to be able to bring the most out of this track because I know what I’m doing, I’m aware, and I’m capable.”
James is bringing his all to building the career he wants to have, day in and day out. When asked to share his advice for fellow Recording Connection students, he keeps it smart and succinct:
It’s all about keeping positive and being proactive, taking those opportunities when they’re presented to you, and being available…Put the right people in your life who are going to want the most and the best for you.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.