Jumping in with both feet: Chingas Kemps moves to Nashville
Sometimes when pursuing a dream, you have to make the choice to jump in with both feet. Chingas Kemps came to this key moment in his life not too long ago when he made the move to Nashville.
A self-taught audio engineer, Chingas had already worked himself into a part-time career recording out of his own studio in his New Jersey hometown. “I was always tinkering around with audio since I was a kid,” he recalls. “I was always just kind of recording myself and my brother and my friends. And one thing led to another.”
But Chingas wasn’t happy. He wasn’t making enough to quit his “day job” in oil, and he came to the realization he needed not only more education, but change of location, if he really wanted to take things to the next level.
“It was an accumulation of a thousand things, but…at the end of the day, I was just an unhappy person,” he says. “I knew my heart was in music, and my day-to-day job was in oil. And you can’t wake up and be unhappy every day.”
That’s when Chingas decided to jump in with both feet. He left his job, closed his studio, packed up and moved to Nashville to see if he could up his game.
“I had five years of my studio, and no one ever told me whether I was doing it right or wrong,” he says. “I wanted to have a solid foundation, a solid background, something that I can validate myself saying that, ‘Okay, I know what the hell I’m doing, and I could do this on the pro level.”
Chingas checked out some Nashville schools, but ultimately decided on the Recording Radio Film Connection & CASA Schools because it would enable him to learn on-the-job in a real Nashville studio. “Having the option to be with a mentor instead of just being one of 15 or 20 in a class,” he says, “that spoke to me the most.”
Chingas soon found himself apprenticing as an extern with a seasoned industry pro in Nashville: producer/engineer Ric Web (Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift) at South Street Studios. He experienced the benefit of one-on-one instruction almost immediately as he began to see the gaps in his self-taught experience.
“I got to sit down with the mix and show my mentor exactly what I did, every step that I took,” says Chingas, “and having him hear it with his ears and his experience, and then let me know what I could have done differently, or what I might want to try next…These are questions I never had to ask myself.”
Chingas says he’s also learning the business side of the recording industry by watching Ric run his studio. “Anything that he tells me business-wise, I really try to hone in on and decipher where he is going with it,” says Chingas, “[so] that I can really just embed that in to my brain and use it in the future.”
As to the future—that’s now wide open for Chingas, who has expanded his long-term goal from simply working as an engineer in Nashville to running his own publishing house. “It’ll be handling everything from songwriters to producers, getting the songs written, getting them recorded and mixed,” he says.
It’s a lofty goal, to be sure. But Chingas has jumped in with both feet now. Thanks to his commitment and the training he’s receiving from the Recording Connection, he’s well on his way.