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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER December 26, 2016 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


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Stepping it up: Recording Connection student
Isaac Patton crosses the barrier

  
Like so many people now working in the industry, Recording Connection student Isaac Patton of Chicago, Illinois grew up around music—growing up in church, singing in the choir. But his interest in the production side of things came almost by accident.   “Me and some other family members of mine, we’d form our own little group, doing rap and things like that,” he explains. “And when we did record, I was always the person that would pretty much do the engineering or producing. And they would joke around every now and again that, ‘Yeah, you should probably be a producer or engineer.’ And I would scoff at it at first, because I guess at the time I didn’t see myself being in that position.”   When he did start to take a more serious interest in engineering, Isaac drew inspiration from his mother, of all people, who had pursued her own dream by opening a recording studio in their church. “Seeing her take a leap of faith inspired me to do the same,” he says, “and redirected my focus from being an artist behind the mic to being the brains behind the mix…She’s the inspiration behind my drive!”   Even so, Isaac could hear the difference between his own self-instruction and the work of the pros, and knew he needed more.   “I started to really be more interested in the work that goes on into making a song,” he says. “I knew there was something that these professional engineers and professional producers were doing that was completely different from what I was doing, and I knew that something was missing there. I’m like, ‘What is it that I don’t know that I need to know to get me to the next level?’”   Isaac checked out the Art Institute of Chicago, he says, but balked at the $80,000 tuition for their audio program. “I was almost close to signing up for it until something told me, ‘Look again,’” he says. “So I did a simple Google search, and then I ended up finding Recording Connection.”  
Control Room in Miller Street Studios

Control Room in Miller Street Studios

When he discovered he could be mentored in a Chicago recording studio for a fraction of the cost, Isaac was hooked. He enrolled and was placed for an apprenticeship with Joe “Dante” Delfino at Miller Street Studios in Chicago. Isaac recalls hitting off with his mentor at their first meeting.   “The day we first met up, I actually brought my mother with me, too, I guess just to give her some insight on what I was getting into,” he says. “So we walk in, and…we just basically get down to what is it I’m interested in, and what is it I’m looking to learn…He’s a great guy… definitely a professional, easy to speak to.”   Right away, Isaac says he began seeing all the gaps in his own self-training, and started to fill in those gaps: “Things like working with a patch bay,” he says, “and learning how to mix and master—for so long, I put those two… I always thought the terms mix and master was like one thing. I didn’t know there were two different processes.”   Isaac also got to sit in on a lot of sessions and watch his mentor work. “That’s a real eye-opener right there,” he says, “because you see how warm and welcoming he is with different clients, whether they’re new or returning. And the artists, they’ll record their vocals and things like that, and before they leave, they’ll hear themselves back…they all leave like so astonished at how it sounds. That’s the thing about it: every last one of them, they leave just so astounded. And then they look at me and they’re like, ‘Man, this is the guy to learn from.’”   Going through the program has not only helped Isaac step up his own game, but he also says it’s opened him up to the possibilities for a career. “Just going through the program has just really opened my eyes,” he says. “I look at everything differently….The Isaac of today is more focused, as far as the way he records, what he records and what he sees himself doing in the future, as far as career-wise, whether it be not just recording with big-name artists, but maybe going beyond that, maybe working on like a movie score or something like that.”   To Isaac, it feels like crossing a barrier into another world. “I didn’t know how much I didn’t know,” he says. “That’s the thing about it. It’s about crossing that barrier from what you don’t know to what you do know.”   
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Recording Connection mentor Edwin Ramos chats about landing his fourth Grammy nomination!

  
At the Recording Connection, we’re pleased to have hundreds of world-class producers and engineers mentoring our students across the country—and we’re even more pleased when we can celebrate their achievements with them. Recently, Recording Connection mentor Edwin Ramos of Bridgeport, CT landed his fourth Grammy nomination, for Best Latin Jazz Album, for his work on Entre Colegas, a solo album by Latin bassist Andy González! (Edwin has had three other nominations, as well as a Grammy win for Mary J. Blige’s “He Think I Don’t Know.”)   We caught up with Edwin recently to chat about his Grammy nomination, and along the way he also brought us up to date on his current projects and how his students are helping out in the studio. Enjoy!  
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RC student David Smith and mentor Edwin Ramos

RC student David Smith and mentor Edwin Ramos

RRFC: Congratulations on your Grammy nomination! Tell us about the artist and the project.   Edwin Ramos: His name is Andy González. He’s a legendary bass player, very well known in the Latino field and Latin jazz genre mostly. But he’s played with the greats, and he’s a pretty awesome guy…I did all of the mixing and mastering.   RRFC: How did you get involved with the project?   Edwin: It was a project that was brought to me by some friends of mine that run a label here out of Connecticut…They approached me, you know, they asked me if I’d mind working with him as a mixer and recording services if needed. And I said, “Yeah, absolutely.” I took a listen to the project, and I absolutely loved it. And I knew it was an important project because Andy…he’s a legendary player, but he’s been playing for many, many years and has never recorded a solo album. So this is his chance to do that. I really had to jump at the opportunity to work with Andy on his first solo album. And I’m glad I did.   RRFC: Anything else you’ve been working on lately?   Edwin: I have a…you know, quite a few projects that I’m working on right now. You know, we just finished—not too long ago, I was out in Miami recording a 30-piece string section for Brian McKnight… I [also] have this small independent label that I’ve launched actually recently. And my first artist is a Latina singer out of here in Connecticut. She came in and recorded a couple of songs. We released one as the first single, and we’re looking to release more in the near future actually. But she’s already opening up shows with some pretty big Latin artists here in the Northeast area. So we’re really excited. Her single is doing very well.   RRFC: Great! What’s the artist’s name, and what made you want to work with her?   Edwin: Her name is Judy Gonzalez…She just has a captivating voice. I ran into her actually through my studio manager. My studio manager just kind of pulled me aside one day and said, “Edwin, you really have to listen to this girl that I ran into at this show, and she’s going to be performing tonight. You should come. She’s inviting you to come and take a listen.” So I went, and I just fell in love with the voice and her personality.   RRFC: So how are your students doing, and what are they up to?   Edwin: Well, I mean, all my students are great…A lot of my students end up coming back with their own projects and their own clients. I offer my studio to my graduating students, you know? And they use the studio quite a bit. We recently expanded to a bigger facility…We’re in Bridgeport now…My last two studios were about 750 square feet apiece. This one here is 6,500 square feet.   RRFC: Oh my goodness!   Edwin: So it’s a huge facility…Late this month, I have the New Haven symphony coming in. Yup, I have a whole symphony, and I can fit them into my live room. My live room can fit up to about a 125-piece symphony orchestra.   RRFC: Wow, wonderful. Will your students be involved?   Edwin: Yeah, all of my students are actually required…these are required sessions. We have workshops. Like once a month, we’ll have like a drum micing workshop. We’ll have a vocal workshop. We’ll have a like a mic shootout workshop. We’ll have a mixing workshop. So every month, there’s always something going on where all the students are required to attend— I even invite some of the graduating students to come in and participate as well. So I try to keep them pretty busy.   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

  

Lindsey Kappa

We’re happy to announce Recording Connection graduate, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer Lindsey Kappa is releasing her first EP called World’s Collide. Lindsey’s former mentor Frenchie Smith has this to say about her: “She’s really important. She has a real voice on her…she may find her own journey on that duality of being a performer, and then a recording engineer and producer in the studio for other artists. So, I see some commonalities in her that I see in me.”   From the contagious hook of the title track “World’s Collide” to the upbeat flavor of “Please Don’t Go Away,” we’re thrilled to see Lindsey Kappa going strong in Austin, TX. Hear a track in our Students’ Work section below.    As all our readers and students know, we believe in the power of hard work and building connections as a means to landing paid in-industry work. Recording Connection graduate Desiree Holiday (Nashville, TN) made opportunity align for her when she offered to produce a friend of a friend’s podcast. Desiree tells us: “I asked a friend of mine… ‘Do you know anyone in radio or in audio that needs help?’ And she said she knew a guy…she hooked me up with him, and he worked there at the radio station at iHeart with 1510 WLAC. So working with him on his podcast, I basically helped produce his podcasts…he kept his ear to the ground for me and just let me know, “Hey, they have an opening here [at iHeart Radio]… just being at the right place, right time, when they got my resume and put a familiar face to it, they got me in for the interview and I got the job.” Congrats on the new job Desiree!  
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Check Out Our Students’ Work

               



 

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