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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER January 2, 2017 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


The art of small talk: Recording Connection grad
Desiree Holiday lands job at iHeart Radio!

Since we featured Recording Connection grad Desiree Holiday in this newsletter back in July, it seems she hasn’t missed a beat, continuing to build her career in Nashville, Tennessee by pursuing her passions. Recently, her go-getter attitude paid off with a job as a producer and board operator at iHeart Radio!   While Desiree’s focus at RRFC was in audio rather than broadcasting, she’s found her audio skills lend themselves well to the radio business. “I monitor the broadcast of local college sports,” she says. “Early in the year, I’ll be doing more stuff, projects, as far as actual audio work and using Adobe.”   According to Desiree, landing the job at iHeart was a classic case of working connections until the job came about.   “I’ve made a lot of connections in Nashville,” she explains, “so I asked a friend of mine…I just asked her out of the blue, ‘Do you know anyone in radio or in audio that needs help?’ And she said she knew a guy… She basically 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 helped produce it as far as making interviews, editing audio, and I’m doing a lot with him on that. And so from there, he kept his ear to the ground for me, and just let me know, ‘Hey, they have an opening here, such-and-such, you ought to apply for.’…Just being in that environment, having been able to meet the manager, just working with him and being at the right place kind of allowed them, when they got my resume, to put a familiar face to it. I applied, and they got me in for the interview and that basically got me the job… So it was just really knowing people and doing good work with the podcast I’ve been working on since August.”   That’s not all Desiree has going on. Among her other projects, she’s working on restoring some audio for a rap artist and recently, she even got the opportunity to do Foley work on an animated short film! Desiree also drops hints of a huge, hush-hush project in the works with her former mentor, Ric Web of South Street Studios. “We can’t say too much about it because we’re all under an NDA,” she says, “but I’m excited for it…I can’t wait to share more details.”   Interestingly enough, with all the connections she’s worked on, and the resulting successes, Desiree admits that the process of networking doesn’t come naturally to her.   “Discomfort breeds success,” she says. “I don’t consider myself a social person at all. I’m a true introvert…I had to tell myself, like, don’t be afraid of people. You know, you got to be willing to meet new people and make new relationships no matter how uncomfortable you might feel…I had to learn the art of small talk, and through small talk, I’ve gotten to meet so many people and just make different connections.”   What is the art of small talk? “Start with simple questions,” Desiree explains. “‘Where are you from?’ ‘How many kids do you have?’ ‘Where did you go to school?’ I start with simple questions that anyone wouldn’t feel uncomfortable answering if you’re in that environment, you know? And then they give you an answer, and then you find something in that answer to ask another question about… and from there you build on the conversation until you get to the point you’re looking for.”   For Desiree, overcoming her own shyness with the art of small talk has led to many of her connections, and ultimately multiple jobs, including the one at iHeart Radio. That, and her willingness to say yes to opportunities. She has this advice for students:   “Take all the experience you can,” she says. “You know, always give everything a try… give everything a shot. You just never know where that’s going to lead as far as getting work…That comes from getting out of your comfort zone, saying yes to things you normally wouldn’t say yes to. That’s how I got it.”   
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RRFC INTERVIEW: Recording Connection launches new
Music Business Curriculum written by Rahki’s manager,
Ashley Calhoun!

It’s not often talked about among creative artists and producers, but there is an important business element to the music industry without which these artists, producers and engineers would have no platform to reach their audience. Many people who dream of a music industry career are at least aware of the business side, but they know little about it, let alone the career potential within it.   Well, that’s all about to change. RRFC is pleased to announce our new Music Business Program, complete with an all-new curriculum written by one of the music industry’s top players, Ashley Calhoun!   As manager for Grammy-winning producer Rahki—himself one of Recording Connection’s most coveted mentors—Ashley recently agreed to write a curriculum specifically geared to the current needs of up-and-coming music business professionals. In the interview below, Ashley talks about how the curriculum came about, what it covers, and the types of career options for which it can prepare you!  
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  RRFC: So tell us a little bit about the curriculum that you wrote and what it covers.   Ashley Calhoun: The music business curriculum gives a really good overview of different careers within the music business and their roles, be it different departments, be it record labels, marketing department, publishers’ marketing department, sync departments, the difference between a music publisher and a record label, artist management and what that entails, and how that differs from producer management and songwriter management, and PR promotion…an overview of the music business from the business side of the desk.   RRFC: How did this project come about?   Ashley: I manage Rahki, who’s a multi-Grammy award winner. Rahki is one of the mentors for the Recording Connection, so each month we generally bring on an apprentice for him, and we work really closely with Brian Kraft, the Chief Operations Officer, and the school. And Brian and I just got to know each other, we had a couple of really great meetings, and he just picked my brain on the music business and what I do on a day-to-day, and expressed that he wanted to build out this program, and I asked if I’d be interested in contributing.   RRFC: It seems like people coming into the music business often don’t even know where to start and what the career possibilities are for them. Would you agree?   Ashley: Exactly. And that’s why I wanted to build out a curriculum that really touched on all the different facets of the business side because I know myself getting into it, I moved out to LA and went to a similar school that wasn’t quite as structured as this, and I had no idea that there were all these different professions to the business, I just thought you’re an artist or a producer and that’s kind of it. So I wanted to really make something that could open students’ eyes to professions that they probably didn’t know existed, but that really interest them, and I think this program accomplished that.   RRFC: What are some examples of two or three different career possibilities that the music business curriculum might cover?   Ashley: I would say the most popular career that people on the business side are interested in is A&R, particularly the A&R on the record label side, which entails finding artists, developing artists, working on the record, putting the artist in with different producers, songwriters, what have you, and really being a liaison between the artist and the artist management with the rest of the record label…A lot of people don’t know that there’s also music publishing, and you can be an A&R on the publishing side as well, which deals with developing songwriters and producers as opposed to just artists…The other most popular kind of career choice, or thing that people in the business side are most interested in, is management, whether it’s artist management, producer management, both, songwriter management. The curriculum touches on that as well…   I would say the most overlooked positions are anything on the publishing side because you can work in the Sync Department which is film and TV placement, or Internet placement. On the record label side, you can also do that on the publishing side for songwriters and artists and what have you. I think Sync in general for people that might not be familiar with the business is often overlooked but it’s something that people really get interested in. Because it is rewarding to see your songs, put a picture, and go to the movies, and see songs you’ve helped sync, and artists love that, and writers love that.   RRFC: How important is it to be proactive in this industry?   Ashley: It’s extremely important. It’s harder and harder to place songs with so many different outlets for music, it’s harder and harder to be noticed if you’re just throwing things out there haphazardly. So it’s extremely important to be a proactive. I think everyone on someone’s team should be proactive, from the publisher to the record label, manager, etcetera or it’s not going to work. It’s extremely important. There’s really no other way to elevate if someone on the teams is lagging and really just hands off.   RRFC: If someone feels they are more wired for the business side of music and helping to make things happen, what would you advise them to do? What direction should they be looking in regarding a career?   Ashley: They should look where they’re most passionate. I know a lot of people personally that have left massive corporations where they had six figure jobs to be an unpaid intern in the music business and figure it out, and some of them have gone on to be managers, some have gone on to be publishers, record label A&Rs. It’s really just what you’re passionate about at that point, because you kind of need that in any career or in any path in the music business especially with how fast things change.   Learn more about the Music Business Program here.   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

Recording Connection students Grainger Weston, Zach Kattawar and mentor Jeramy Roberts

Recording Connection students Grainger Weston, Zach Kattawar and mentor Jeramy Roberts

Recording Connection students Zach Kattawar and Grainger Weston who apprentice with Jeramy Roberts (Austin, TX) have had their own individual tracks released within the first two months of the program! Jeramy says with these guys and any of the seriously committed students he takes on, that’s just the beginning: “A lot of these kids, they want to make music, they want to get music out there…They come to RRFC so that they can get a job in the industry with job training. That’s great, but I don’t want them to just go out and get a job—I want them to create their own job. And they’re actually already starting to do that.”    Thanks to her mentor Johny Fischer, Film Connection student Leticia Rodriguez (Denver, CO) recently got the chance to shoot BTS footage for a comedic short during the 48 Hour Film Project. Leticia says, “It ended up being a good size crew made up of Blair’s team and several of us students from Film Connection… It never fails to impress me how a bunch of strangers can come together and work professionally to produce a film…The Film Connection group were enthusiastic and eager to lend a hand… It was long day but a fun one. I enjoyed working with everyone and would love an opportunity to do it all over again. If it hadn’t been for Film Connection I wouldn’t have been there. I look forward to many more film projects in 2017!” View full BTS video.  
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