Charles Huston: The turning point
“I’m trying to be one of the producer/engineers really sought after in the industry,” says Recording Connection graduate Charles Huston of Chicago, Illinois. “I’m just trying to make sure my work is always on par, if not excelling past my peers.”
Indeed, Charles’ new career in the music industry is something of a turnaround for him. Although he’s always been a self-described “tech head,” he says before coming to the Recording Connection he got disillusioned when he went to school for audio engineering. “I actually dropped out of the Berklee School of Music out of Massachusetts as a production student,” he says. “Took a couple years as a break because I didn’t really find their program worth it for me…I was getting into a good amount of trouble living in the burbs.”
Charles decided it was time to get serious again about his career, and started looking for ways to get into the studio. That’s when he discovered the Recording Connection and discovered he could train on-the-job at a pro-level studio in Chicago. His mother put up the tuition money for him, and soon found himself externing with Andy Shoemaker at Rax Trax Recording. It was the perfect environment for Charles to turn things around.
“Andy was amazing,” says Charles. “He’d literally take any question I’d have, and we’d sit in that room if the time was available and just explore each topic until I understood it completely…Once I got in the Recording Connection, it wasn’t long before they go through the whole shadowing plan, and then they let you start assisting,” he says. “I got into having my own sessions booked real quick.”
And he didn’t stop there. Now that his foot was in the door, Charles began working forming lots of relationships, not just with artists, but with other studios as well. “A lot of kids have the desire to be the next great producer or engineer,” he says, “but aren’t willing to put in the work on the things that happen outside the studio, which is sometimes more work than what actually happens in the studio.”
Those connections ended up being the seeds for a burgeoning career as a freelance producer in the Chicago area. Today, Charles is an up-and-comer in Chi-town’s hip-hop community, working artists and producers like Shy Shanty, Lucky X and Tapez (of the production team Boogz & Tapez, credited with Kanye’s “New God Flow” on the Cruel Summer mixtape). Even better, Charles tells us that plans are in the works to hopefully build out his own studio soon.
The music industry is very much a hands-on industry that is best learned on-the-job, not in a classroom. For Charles, the music school dropout who was heading in the wrong direction, the opportunity to learn in a real studio has proven to be the turning point in what now promises to be a long and happy career.