The Top Student Success Stories of 2019
Recording Connection graduate Morning Estrada went on European tour with Aminé, Won Latin Grammy, and more!
To say 2019 has been a busy year for Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Morning Estrada would be an understatement. In just the past year he’s gone on tour as Aminé’s own engineer, (he’s currently engineering the artist’s forthcoming album), he received a Grammy nomination for for Camila Cabello’s debut solo album Camila, he’s won a Latin Grammy for a track on Rosalía’s smashing crossover album Con Altura and recorded tracks on Brandy and Daniel Caesar’s newly released album Case Study 01, produced by Camper, which is nominated for a Grammy in 2020. There’s more to share but we’ll save it for the feature (so subscribe).
Despite all of his success, Morning remains grounded and stresses the fact that he’s worked hard, very hard for years prior to “making it.” He’s got straightforward advice for anyone wanting to work in audio:
“In the beginning of Recording Connection, you want to go from learning how to push the Record button to, ‘Now I want to record the top artists.’…It doesn’t work like that. You have to really, truly fall in love with the process. I think that’s why Recording Connection works so well, because it’s not like, ‘Hey, you can do all your lessons in one day.’ You kind of go at your own pace instead of it being like, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to school for the next five days, then you get two days off, then you come to school again for the next five days.’ So you can kind of sit back and read the material or go over whatever you learn and practice it because you have access to the studio as well with the program. So yeah, I think it’s just falling in love with the process, really.”
Recording Connection grad Taylor Crommie kicked his career into high gear!
Taylor Crommie, graduate of Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, has had a jam-packed 2019. This past year he mixed DJ Paul’s, of Three 6 Mafia’s, Power, Pleasure & Painful Things. Other artists he mixed include Kembe X, Jay Rock, Wifi Funeral, YelaWolf, Lance Skiiiwalker, Reddish Blu, and Rob Vicious, just to name a few.
So what’s Taylor’s advice for those looking to work in audio and music production?
“[A] question that kids need to ask themselves is, if the music doesn’t genuinely excite you, and you’re just looking at engineering as a day job, let’s get it straight, it is a day job but if you’re going to look at it that way, then it’s not the right one, because I wake up and I get paid to make feeling out of thin air. Literally, I’ve been in sessions where after the song is done, cut, arranged, we’re doing the final listen back, and everybody’s crying in the studio. Like, if you’re not out there for that, then I don’t know. Because that’s what I do, that’s what I like to do.”
Read the exclusive with Taylor when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Recording Connection graduate Desirée Holiday Landed Job at BMI!
As a graduate of both Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production and Recording Connection for Advanced Audio Engineering & Music Production, Desirée Holiday does not shy away from a challenge. In 2019, Desirée’s desire to learn all she can about the music industry led her to BMI where she got hired as a Job Distribution & Administration Services Analyst and the performing rights giant. That’s not all. She’s just produced a track for artist Kiara featuring beat by Sonchild Beatz.
“I greatly appreciate everything Recording Connection has offered me, the skill set I’ve acquired thus far….The sky’s the limit from here!”
Learn more about Desirée Holiday’s new job.
Recording Connection grad Jason Abranches Did Live Sound for Rock Giants!
Shortly after completing Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, graduate Jason Abranches made the move to the easygoing island of Maui. Thanks to his determination, it wasn’t long before he landed a job working with producer/engineer Lynn Petersen at Maui Recording. Since then, Jason has recorded and done live sound for rock’s most iconic names including Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Steven Tyler, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Sammy Hagar, George Clinton, and more!
“Recording Connection definitely helped me get my foot in the door….I hang my certificate in my home studio with pride. Not only does it instantly prove to potential employers that you know what you are doing, but also that you are dedicated and truly in this.…Audio engineering is a deep science and if you look at it as just setting up mics and turning up the volume…good luck to you. It is extremely hard work sometimes! It’s extremely stressful at times. But it is also an amazing life to live.”
Find out more about Recording Connection for Live Music.
Recording Connection grad Jamila Nicolas Found her Passion (by surprise) & Got Hired Doing What she Loves!
Recording Connection for Live Music graduate Jamila Nicolas came to us for mentored externship with a very practical goal in mind: to learn how to run sound for her own event business. Training as an audio extern did far more than that:
“When I started taking the course at Recording Connection, I actually found a different passion. I realized how much I love live sound and audio….I think I really want to stick to live sound engineering and work different venues and do festivals and stuff like that.”
Now Jamila’s working at Buffalo State College as their A2 at the prestigious Rockwell Hall where she’s running state-of-the-art sound for a myriad of concerts, dance performances, lectures, films and more.
Learn more about Recording Connection for Live Music.
Recording Connection graduate William Reyes Got Hired and On-Path!
Not long ago William Reyes was trying to find his career path in life. Enrolling in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production enabled him to get on-path, get working on his own EP, and get hired by his mentor Rob Malloy at War Drum Mixing.
Here’s William’s advice for students who are serious about getting hired and getting ahead:
“If you want it, you have to go get it….If you really want to learn this, read the modules and then, of course, the mentor’s going to further [help you] do it….And help as much as possible in the studio sessions….The modules tell you [how to do it] but when you’re actually there yourself, it’s a lot different.”
Read our interview with William Reyes.
Recording Connection grad Brian Piper Moved Up at Audio-Technica!
Brian Piper was two and a half years into his college education when he decided to finish off the semester and enroll in RRFC’s Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production program. Today, Brian has a rewarding job as a Sales Manager for Audio-Technica.
“Recording Connection gave me the tools to do what I do currently. It just so happens that the studio Recording Connection had me go to for school, their mic locker was 80% Audio-Technica microphones. It’s so interesting to me that I started learning the tonal quality and the sound of Audio-Technica microphones right out of the gate in school. Bringing that experience and knowledge with me to Audio-Technica as a sales person, I’ve been able to come up with a couple training seminars that we’ve done for our reps here and that I do with my accounts. In a roundabout way, Recording Connection gave me the tools to jump into a different part of the music industry that I never thought about as a career. It’s funny the way life takes you but I have really enjoyed the ride.”
Learn more about Brian’s journey to where he’s at today.
Recording Connection grad Gabby Kilgore Got Hired as 1st Assistant Engineer to her Mentor.
When Gabby Kilgore started Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, she told her mentor, Seva Ball, what she wanted to achieve. After that, she got busy learning and proving her value on the job. When the time came, Seva hired her on as his 1st assistant engineer and more!
“I truly believe what led to my hire was the goal that I told Seva before I started the program….I said that I wanted to start my own publishing company, and really get into branding and promotion of new talent. Now, Sequoyah Studios has signed some of our own artists which we help with promotion, social media, and branding along with the recording, mixing, and mastering….Seva really listened to what I wanted to do with this experience and made it part of my work at Sequoyah Studios!”
Recording Connection graduate Elijah Ibarra Got Hired at Electric Feel Studios (Post Malone, Louis Bell, Camper) in Hollywood.
Just weeks after graduating Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production program, Elijah Ibarra got hired at Electric Feel Studios, the studio home of Electric Feel Management whose roster includes some of today’s hottest music producers including Post Malone, Camper, Louis Bell, Brody Brown, and more.
So, what’s Elijah’s advice on how students can make the most of their time externships?
“Really, just pay attention and try to take up as much information [as possible] and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I feel like a lot of people get told it and they’re like, ‘All right, I don’t understand.’ And it’s okay to not understand it, because I remember when I first went in, I didn’t understand anything. And it could probably feel a little bit embarrassing, but it’s like, these people are here to help you understand it, because one day [in the past] even your mentor didn’t understand it, if that makes sense. So always ask questions, don’t be afraid. Even if you ask five times.”
View our Audio Engineering & Music Production Program.
Recording Connection grad Joe Dancsak Took his Production Skills to a Higher Level.
After a ten year interim during which he built his career as a music producer, Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Joe Dancsak returned to RRFC and completed the
Advanced Audio Engineering & Music Production program as a student extern to Donny Baker at ES Audio. As a result, Joe has seen his production skills improve resulting in some key placements on industry catalogs. We reached out to Joe, asking him to tell us what he considered his biggest win in 2019:
“As for what my biggest win of the year is, I’d say it’s the fact that I took a chance and decided to take a leap into the world of producing and engineering in a commercial recording studio environment. The RRFC helped me do that. What I’ve learned has helped me take my producing to the next level.”
Learn more about how this already-successful music producer has been able to elevate his game.
Recording Connection grad Echo Gabriel Didn’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer & Got Hired at Global Giant PSAV weeks after graduation!
When Recording Connection for Audio engineering & Music Production graduate Aqellezra “Echo” Gabriel didn’t land the job after her first interview with worldwide audio visual company, PSAV, she called Career Services. The encouragement she got helped steel her resolve to get the job she was after:
“When I talked to Gervais [in Career Services] about it…he was like, ‘This is a male dominant industry right now. Don’t worry, there are other female students that have been able to do it. Do not let it discourage you.’
So I took his advice. I saw PSAV on LinkedIn and found that they had a hiring event in San Francisco, and I applied right away. Right when I got there, I got the job easily….Everyone has their different wants in an employee, and you just have to keep trying.”
Why Echo quit studying audio at San Francisco State and joined RRFC.
Recording Connection graduate Alexis Schwarting Got in, Got Hired, Got Going in Audio.
When recent graduate of Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production Alexis Schwarting first came to us, she’d already completed several semesters at a traditional university. Nevertheless, her drive to get in and get going in music led her to Recording Connection, and consequently, to longtime mentor, Rick Rooney (Clay Aiken, Warner Bros, Interscope, Sony). The in-studio and one-on-one approach was just what she needed:
“[Rick] was very hands-on and wanted to make sure that you knew everything that he was trying to get into you. It wasn’t just about taking some quizzes like it would be a lot of times in schools. It was really about, you know, ‘I want to make sure that you understand this…that you’re understanding what you’re doing outside of the studio, and when you’re at home and working on this stuff.’ He wanted to really make sure that you grasped what you were learning, and not just reading a book and trying to get by….
[Now], I’m a lot more confident in what I can do in the studio and what I can bring to the industry.”
And it’s paid off! Alexis now works as a broadcast engineer at a large church and is freelancing at a local studio where she records rappers and hip hop artists (learn more).
Russell Dennis Jumped & Got Going on the Right Track.
By many people’s standards, Russell Dennis had already attained success when he enrolled in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production. As an instructional designer and technical support specialist, he was making a good living and was right where he ought to be as a husband and father. Nevertheless, Russell yearned to get back to doing what he loved–making music. Opting to leave his good job in order to focus on training with his mentor and making his own music, Russell gave it his all and the payoff was sweet:
“I can’t even go in depth about the amount of hours [I spent] and my family. My daughter Deja, who was my motivating factor behind me doing all of this…she can tell you the times that I just kept playing a snippet of a song over and over and over because I was trying to EQ it the right way….My proudest moment was when I got hired on at Vision 3 Studios and I was able to bring her to the studio and let her record one of her favorite songs, by Billie Eilish. That was a special moment for me.”
Hear about the unexpected conversation that led Russell Dennis to change his course in life and join RRFC.
Recording Connection graduate Connor Donald Chose a Career that Fit!
A lifelong musician, the then 20 year old Connor Donald was on an entirely different career path, when he got honest with himself and decided to double down on doing what he loved:
“I went to school for nursing, and I just…knew that five to 10 years from now I probably wasn’t going to stick with that….I looked at different schools and I kept seeing that I was going to have to move away to other places. Then I just happened to stumble upon Recording Connection. I found that I can stay home and find a studio near me, but I still get to learn and work with people that are good at what they do….I was able to get in and had the opportunity to work with Don Mosley …and it was awesome.”
Shortly after graduating RRFC, Connor got hired at global giant PSAV, one of the largest audio-visual production event and stage service companies worldwide.
Recording Connection grad Frank Demilt Got hired as Head Engineer and A&R!
Prior to enrolling in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Frank Demilt was no stranger to audio education. In fact, he’d already graduated from Ithaca College where, entering as a sophomore, he completed their 4 year program in just 2 years.
Being able to train with a professional at the top of their game, ask them questions and gain firsthand knowledge of how things worked, appealed to Frank. Externing with his mentor, renowned mastering engineer Mark Christensen at Engine Room Audio (The Killers, 50 Cent, Trey Songz, Dr. Dre, OK GO) enabled him to broaden his perspective of the many stages that go into producing high-quality, radio ready music:
“[I] got to see a side of the creation process that I was not previously given access to. Being able to gain the perspective of the producer (working before mixing) and learn from the last person to work on the song before it’s finalized (the mastering engineer), gave me an overall sense of what each individual is looking for when they get the tracks, and what they are doing to enhance the tracks. This made me be able to go more in-depth when talking to artists about the full process of their song creation.”
Frank’s education has served him well. He landed a job at Water Music Publishing, another Recording Connection mentor studio, where he works as Head Engineer and A&R.
Recording Connection graduate Vic Castaldo Opened his own Recording Studio.
When Vic Castaldo enrolled in Recording Studio in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production he’d already spent the past five years teaching himself music production. Getting his questions answered and improving his production game through training one-on-one, in-studio with a mentor just made sense to Vic. Even though he’s still in his early twenties, Vic was able to open his own studio Victory Recording Studios (VRS) just months after graduating and that’s just the beginning:
“I am looking at growing my business….So I’m hoping maybe within three years actually to start another studio, and we’re trying to grow it in other ways. We have somebody making merch [merchandise] for us, and we have our own press and we’re doing all that.”
Vic speaks highly of what Recording Connection (RRFC) is able to provide its students:
“I would suggest it over any other program for anybody interested in audio training….The studio time and being able to…watch how your mentor engages with the clients, and really learn how to do what you want to do, and see it hands-on is very important.”
Vic was smart and did his research prior to opening his recording studio.
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