David Brik Laufer, Carlos and Bae Frontera, Rafa Sardina and wife Tami Sardina at The Latin Grammys 2017 (Jeff Riggs in front)
Hailed as the biggest night in Latin Music worldwide, the Latin Grammy Awards feature an array of talent from across the Latin musical spectrum. The star-studded 18th
Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards® raised the bar even further with performances from Juanes, Logic, Alessia Cara, Pitbull, Diplo, Steve Aoki, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, and Natalie Cole, to name just a few.
And Recording Connection student Jeffrey Riggs
(Los Angeles, CA) was there right in the thick of it.
No stranger to hard work, Jeff describes himself as a born and bred farm boy. And yes, he really and truly grew up on a farm where the day’s work started well before dawn, day-in, day-out, rain or shine. “I grew up in a town of 1,500 people on a small farm, in Webster, New Hampshire. And you know, you wake up in the morning, you feed the cows and the horses and the pig and the goats, and just go about your day. Midday you’re baling [hay], and then at the end of the day you’re sweeping up the barn, and that’s just pretty much how I was raised.”
Now, Jeff’s applying the same strong work ethic he developed working on the farm to something he’s passionate about—a career in audio—and it’s paying off fast.
Jeff found Recording Connection in late 2015 when he was looking to change gears in life. He was matched with Recording Connection mentor Luis Pacheco at The Hideout in Las Vegas, a well-known studio where artists from Alicia Keys, to Dr. Dre and Celine Dion to Ozzy Osbourne have recorded. Under Luis’ direction Jeff completed both the Audio Engineering Program and Advanced Audio Program. To say Jeff was green when he started is virtually an understatement. “I did not know a thing about how to use Pro Tools, I didn’t know anything about how to apply compression or EQ or even what reverb was.”
Having come very far in a little over a year, when the opportunity arose for Jeff to apply for the Learn from Legends Program and train with multiple Grammy winner Rafa Sardina, Jeff wasn’t about to shy away from the challenge.
Speaking of the experience he’s having learning under one of music’s greats, Jeff says, “It’s really intense because he works so fast…He’ll mix a session and do a quick mix session with over, I want to say, over 60-70 tracks. And he’ll have it, you know, all the way complete within an hour. So I mean, the speed that he works at, you can just tell that he’s been doing this for a very long time. He also tells me about things to do and things not to do in terms of, you know, just being professional.”
Session after session, Jeff makes it a point to always be helpful and appreciative for the truly immersive, hands-on education he’s getting by training with Rafa.
And although he didn’t know it, his can-do attitude had made an impression on his famous mentor. During a session, Rafa mentioned that he’d be attending the Latin Grammys and asked Jeff if he wanted to go along.
Jeff recounts the moment and says, “My only answer was yes…It’s always yes.”
Turns out Rafa wasn’t simply attending the Latin Grammys, he was the Executive Producer of the acclaimed event which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and was telecast worldwide.
So how did Jeff spend his evening at the Latin GRAMMYS? Answer: he spent it running.
“I was running to manage talent, finding talent, to making sure that people had certain supplies, to talking to lighting guys, to talking with the talent, making sure that they were all set, checking their levels, relaying that to the monitor people. I mean, I was everywhere. I had to work so hard I had blisters on the bottom of my feet. So it was just, and they were all worth it.”
He got to meet a few artists too. “I definitely met a lot of people. From Nick Jonas to Rosalita to Mon Laferte [and] Alejandro Sanz. The list goes on and on.”
And that’s not all. All of Jeff’s hard work culminated in recognition he didn’t expect. Jeff recalls the moment he realized Rafa had given him credit as Music Production Assistant for the Person of the Year Award segment. “For the Person of the Year [segment], and I was watching the screen from behind it, and I saw my name in reverse on the credits on the green screen, and I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure I just saw my name up there.’”
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