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Anytime a Recording Connection student or graduate gets hired we want to know exactly how they made it happen for themselves—in detail. Here are tips from just a few successful graduates on how they secured their positions and got working in audio. Put their knowledge to use and make it work for you!
When you’re first starting out trying to get those first few credits under your belt just finding the right kinds of artists to work with can be quite the challenge. Getting out to clubs, concerts, open mics, and various events can definitely be a great way to meet musicians and local pros in the music industry but you might even take networking a bit further the way Chris did.
Chris Locke got out into the Austin scene with a strategy for getting people’s attention and making them want to engage with him. Rather than just striking up conversations, he put his other creative talent, photography, to work.
Today he owns his own successful hip hop recording studio that’s busy 24/7.
Speaking of his strategy, Chris says, “And every single show, I would stay there [at the venue] the whole time and take everybody’s picture. And when they would come and talk to me, I would pretty much tell them, ‘Hey, this is what I actually do,’ and I would show them my studio and get them more involved with that. So the camera became like a business card to me.”
Recording Connection graduate Billy Gardella got hired at Factory Underground in Norwalk, CT, the studio where he did his externship.
How’d he do it? He came into the studio as much as he could and showed his mentor and the other engineers that he was serious about the work.
“Anything that I could do to get my foot more into the door, I did. And it paid off… 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 did everything that I possibly could do.”
Initially hired on as an assistant engineer, Billy has since been promoted to staff engineer at Factory.
April Edwards was a Recording Connection student when she noticed the recording studio where she was apprenticing wasn’t monetizing as best as they could. Revenue for a number of rehearsal rooms wasn’t being collected and various business opportunities were going unrealized.
April landed her music job by taking initiative. She put her business skills to use while she also developed her skills separately as an audio engineer. The studio owner gave her 30 days to put her business sense to work and April proved she was up to the challenge.
Today, April is the acting manager and lead engineer at Nitrosonic Music in Lexington, Kentucky. Recent projects include cowpunk band Hillbilly Alarm Clock and the garage rock Nine Pound Hammer. A vocalist and songwriter in her own right, she’s also getting back into her own music.
“You can’t rely on anyone else to do it for you. That’s the whole reason I started the program. I was tired of waiting for other people to record my music. You want something done you want it done right, you do it yourself. You can’t get anything done by sitting around hoping or talking about it.
Get your hands dirty. Be in a session, setting the mics up and doing your sound checks. Get in there and do it, don’t just watch. I could read the textbook all day and there’s valuable, golden information in there but I didn’t learn until I actually got in the studio and started doing it myself.”
Garrett Pace (Atlanta, GA) was already a classically trained musician, opera singer, and graduate of Western Carolina University when he started Recording Connection. His mentor Nick Chahwala at Bravo Ocean Studios (Katy Perry, T.I., Mariah Carey, Ulrika) was impressed by Garrett’s musicianship but sensed he needed to build his confidence in order to break into a music industry job.
So he challenged Garrett to get out of his comfort zone, delve deep into working in other genres and rely on his innate sensibilities and the production and engineering skills he was learning in the program.
Garrett adopted a new mindset. Nick says the change was palpable.
“He was like, ‘All right, I’m gonna get on this track, I’ve got to provide a hook. I gotta record hip hop, I gotta mix hip hop, I got to record R&B, I got to tune R&B vocals,’ says Nick. “It was really good for him.”
Seeing just how far Garrett was able to elevate his game in just a matter of months, Nick hired him on at Bravo Ocean Studios. Garrett’s advice to those who are hungry to work: “Don’t give up. Ride it until the end.”
In just a few years Orlando Gomez has gone from being a Recording Connection student to earning a Platinum and Gold credit while working alongside his former mentor, now employer, Alfredo Gonzalez at Beacon Hill Recording Studios (El Paso, TX). Besides getting great credits on Khalid’s chart-topping “American Teen” album, word is: Khalid is back at Beacon, recording with the duo again!
For Orlando, there are no shortcuts. Success in the music industry is the outcome of ample work and relentless dedication.
“Everyone here has shown me that it takes effort and dedication to be able to succeed in this career. I always tell new apprentices or students [because] I just want them to have the right expectations of what this is. It’s not easy, and it’s not all partying and hanging out with celebrities. It’s a job. It’s a job that fortunately, if you love it and you dedicate yourself to be the best you can at what we do, it’s full of rewards…When you see a project that is complete, that sounds good and that can make people feel something, then that’s when you’re like, ‘That’s why I do this for a living.’”
Recording Connection grad Morning Estrada on working with Aminé, Trinidad James, HitBoy and others.
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