Producer/engineer Bill Davidow owns and runs Virlouise Recording in Anaheim, CA. His client list includes names like Israel Houghton, Darren Vegas, Johnny Come Lately, I Am Ghost, Guy Fieri to name a few.
And he’s been mentoring our students for nearly a decade.
The reason? He says he wants to give back and help the next generation of audio professionals but there’s also an ulterior motive at play. Nearly all of the Virlouise’s engineers and studio assistants came through the program. Bills says, “I’m going to hire the guys that I train from the Recording Connection. I’ll just use one of my externs if I’m going to hire someone because I trained them.”
Why? The curriculum is practical, the training is practical, and RC grads are already accustomed to being in a professional environment. Turns out, getting a real world understanding of the craft pays off (duh). Bill recalls trying to hire people coming out of other programs:
“I had a kid come in from Full Sail. He did the four-year plan at Full Sail. He does the L.A. Recording Academy, another $18,000 or whatever. [He] pops into my studio. I point in the corner and say, ‘what’s that stuff in the corner?’ He doesn’t understand what a UPS is.”
Ask Bill about the students who succeed and he’ll tell you, they’re proactive and are really into the program. They “took the initiative and learned the stuff.” Two successes are Recording Connection Nick Becker who’s currently finishing the Master’s program and is gearing up for a job at a solid production house. Coby Thompson, a recent grad, has a paid gig mixing a rock band.
So is learning the gear and technology all it’s about? Not really. It’s about getting a well-rounded skillset that serves you well in the studio and the world. “Sometimes people have a lot of skill on the audio engineering and producing side but don’t have good people skills and don’t know how to make connections. Sometimes they have the opposite.”
No matter where you’re at today, the best externs remain confident and aim high. Speaking of the inner strength it takes to build a career in music, Bill quotes his friend Harriet Schock, the Grammy nominated singer: “‘If you’re trying to hit the ceiling, you probably won’t, but if you shoot for the moon you’ll hit the ceiling.’ And hitting the ceiling in the music industry is making a living out of music. So people have to be confident and believe in themselves.”