RC grad Orlando Gómez left, mentor Alfredo Gonzalez right
Since graduating from the Recording Connection and taking a full-time position at his mentor’s studio in El Paso, TX, Orlando Gómez
has seen his career take off in remarkable ways. His latest milestone: Landing a Gold record credit for his work on soaring R&B star Khalid’s release American Teen, AND a Platinum
credit for Khalid’s debut single “Location!”
Orlando received both engineering and assistant engineering credits on the album, which he worked on alongside his former mentor, Alfredo Gonzalez, at Beacon Hill Recording Studios
in El Paso, where Orlando now serves as Alfredo’s right hand man. “We were lucky to be part of six songs on the album,” Orlando says. “For ‘Location’ [and] ‘American Teen’ I was assistant engineer. Then I also got engineering credits…for ‘Coaster,’ ‘Angels,’ and ‘Shot Down,’ and also songwriting credits on ‘American Teen.’”
How did Orlando wind up working with a Platinum-selling artist? As he explains, it’s a classic case of the studio forming a relationship with an up-and-comer at just the right time.
is from here, from El Paso,” he says. “They were looking for a studio to record here in El Paso, and luckily they heard about us and gave us a call, and his manager told us he had a very talented kid that he wanted to help record some songs. This was before Khalid was even signed…So they came down here to the studio, and I think they were here for four days the first time they came to the studio. And in those four days that’s when we recorded “Location,” “American Teen,” so a few of the important songs from the album…They liked working with us, and we obviously liked working with them as well… And we just had another session with Khalid last night, so that relationship is one that’s continuing. We ended at like 1:00 a.m. He just came here last night. They wrote a song and recorded it…Every time Khalid succeeds in anything, we’re just happy because we know him and…we’re just happy that this is happening to him.”
Alfredo Gonzalez, who served as an engineer and producer on the record, offers praise for his former student and is excited about the success he’s seeing. “I think it’s great for somebody like Orlando,” he says. “He’s gotten some very good opportunities, and he’s making the most of it. There are guys that have been doing this for many years and no awards yet, and Orlando is getting off to a great start.”
Orlando isn’t the only Recording Connection alumnus getting credit on the album. According to Alfredo, the studio is more than willing to credit apprentices who work on their projects. “Robert Macias…also did the Recording Connection,” he says. “He’s got a Gold too, because the record won Gold…We put them down as assistant engineers…You know, I’ve been doing this for a while and I know how hard it is to kind of rack the credits, so we like to credit our people here. So we passed on their names, and I think the label put them on the album. So the album goes Gold, and everyone that gets a hand in it gets a plaque.”
El Paso is not typically thought of as a hub for major label projects, but the fact that a studio in this west Texas town has generated a Platinum single underscores the fact that industry success doesn’t just touch “hotspots” like L.A., New York or Nashville anymore. “It’s a small town, but we’re getting some opportunities here,” says Alfredo. “Now we’re getting people from LA and Atlanta and some of the bigger markets coming to El Paso to record in the studio with us.”
Now with Platinum and Gold to his credit, Orlando keeps it in perspective, knowing that the kudos only come at the end of a lot of work.
“You really have to work to be successful in this,” he says. “Everyone here has shown me that it takes effort and dedication to be able to succeed in this career. I always tell new apprentices or students, I just want them to have the right expectations of what this is. It’s not easy, and it’s not all partying and hanging out with celebrities. It’s a job.
It’s a job that fortunately, if you love it and you dedicate yourself to be the best you can at what we do, it’s full of rewards…When you see a project that is complete, that sounds good and that can make people feel something, then that’s when you’re like, ‘That’s why I do this for a living.’”
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