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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER June 13, 2016 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


Are you getting CONNECTED?
Hosted by multi-GRAMMY-winner IZ (Usher, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan)
our NEW Connected Hangout takes place every Monday!
Bringing you the best jobs in music, film, and broadcasting! Don’t miss out on opportunity. Sign up for next week’s Connected Hangout now!


Congrats to Recording Connection mentor Big Bub!

Recording Connection mentor Big Bub

Recording Connection mentor Big Bub

Congrats to Recording Connection mentor Big Bub at Water Music Publishing (Bloomfield, NJ) for his recent work singing on Snoop Dogg’s latest release “Love Around the World.”      

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‘What is a Grind Opp?,’ you ask? It is a job opportunity. A help wanted ad.

Recording Connection student Nicole Thorp is launching her career one step at a time

Nicole Thorp and mentor Pierre A. Ferguson at the console

Nicole Thorp and mentor Pierre A. Ferguson at the console

Many audio engineers and music producers started off on the music performance side of things and eventually found themselves behind the studio console. But for Recording Connection student Nicole Thorp, she figured out early on that audio engineering was all she wanted to do.   “Since I was in middle school, starting at like 13 or 14, I wouldn’t just listen to music,” she says. “I’d be dissecting everything that I was hearing. I’d listen to a song time and time again and just trying to figure out what I was hearing, the instrumentation, the melody, just really analyzing and dissecting things…I’ve always had an interest in technology, I’ve always been a very technical person. But I’d listen to some of my favorite records like Thriller and Purple Rain and Mariah Carey’s Emotions album, and I would always just listen over and over again trying to figure out what I was hearing…I was like, ‘I really enjoy doing this. Why can’t I just make a career out of it?’”   Once her mind was made up, Nicole lost no time in picking a school to attend.   “It was about my sophomore year in high school,” she says. “I looked at a variety of different educational routes for sound engineering. I looked at four-year universities and technical programs. Then I came across the Recording Connection. I found it when I was 15, just researching audio engineering programs, and I found it and it was always on the top of my list…It got me that hands-on experience, so I felt like it was the best route for me, personally, to take since I am kind of a visual learner, and I’m best when people show me instead of just reading about things.”   Even though she knew what she wanted, Nicole says she had no real experience in the studio before coming into the program. But when she began her apprenticeship at Foundry Studio in Tacoma, Washington, her mentor, Pierre A. Ferguson, took her lack of experience in stride.   “Pierre, he’s really patient, and he’s really understanding,” she says. “If I don’t understand something right away, he’ll explain it in further detail. He’s just a really cool person to be around…I honestly don’t think I could’ve asked for a better mentor.”   Nicole Thorp and mentor Pierre A. Ferguson For being a novice, Nicole says her mentor is wasting no time in helping her get the hands-on experience she needs. “We’re working on a Harrison 10 Series 10B recording console,” she says. “He’s actually had me pull up mixes and mix on the console, which is great…I’ve never recorded before, so to really get to use the console and to put into action things that I’ve been learning about has been really, really exciting for me. And I also came and assisted on a number of sessions, setting up for bands, or vocalists, or guitar, and that’s been really exciting, too.”   As she approaches the end of her apprenticeship, Nicole is now taking advantage of the Recording Connection’s “Stay Connected” program to begin branding herself and preparing for her future career. While she’s got long-term goals, Nicole is remarkably level-headed and methodical in her approach, taking things a step at a time.   “I know the program is coming to an end, but I think it’s really just the beginning for me,” she says, “because I really feel like after this I could really go on and actually start conducting sessions on my own…At some point, I want to start my own studio, but I understand you have to take each step as it comes. I see myself working as an engineer and then working up to that point where I can actually open my own studio, start my own production company.”   At the same time, Nicole believes in keeping her options open. “I think it’s important, as a career, to never put yourself in a box,” she says. “Never just limit yourself to one thing. And that’s the one thing about audio that I really love is it’s everywhere, it’s so versatile. I’d love to get into recording TV, movies, radio, live sound. I really want to explore all of those things at some point and learn new skills along the way.”   Perhaps most remarkable about Nicole’s story is how quickly the hands-on training has progressed her toward her career. “The thing that I love about the Recording Connection is I came into this program with very little knowledge,” she says. “[What] I had known previously before the program, I had just read in books…and watched YouTube tutorials. But what this program has really done for me is dive into the fundamentals of engineering and got me to a point where I can actually use the concepts and the materials that I’ve learned about.”   Her advice to other Recording Connection students? “Commit,” she says. “Do the work. If you don’t put in the work, there’s no point…You got to have drive and a lot of focus and dedication to what you’re doing. And I really believe that with those qualities, anyone who’s wanting to do this can succeed.”   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   bud brinson Recording Connection student Bud Brinson is diving into the Ableton course with mentor Leland Kracher at January Sound (Dallas, TX). “Let me first start off by saying this is a really cool opportunity to be able to apply what I’m learning in my online class to a studio setting. The first meeting with Leland was good, pretty straight forward…The second meeting with Leland was great because we got into the studio and patched into the board. I made a little loop for homework that took 5-10 minutes to make with a few MIDI tracks and Leland showed me some cool tricks and ideas in arrangement and session view… I’m already looking forward to next week!”    ryan drake Film Connection apprentice Ryan Drake (Dayton, OH) is asking all the right questions as he gears up for yet another self-produced project. “I am debating whether I want to make it a series or make it a feature. If I go with a feature, it will be the second movie that I will have written and will be another great piece to work on. However if I try to make it a small series, it would be my first attempt of telling a story through multiple episodes…I guess the main theme I want to write is a question I have always asked myself, “How do people perceive the world?”…Now that I have my own little set up of a DSLR camera, cage, a tripod and Adobe Premiere, I think I can do this project fully on my own and be proud of my work again.”   
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NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker on pushing the limits

A true music industry veteran, Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker is the owner and chief producer/engineer for Maximus Music Records, one of the top recording studios in Charlotte, NC, serving clients like Jadakiss, DMX and many others. As a Recording Connection mentor, Ira is passionate about training up new talent and always looks for opportunities to push his students to expand their skills. In a recent conversation with RRFC, Ira shared a bit about his own journey into music and offered some insights into his teaching style—and even shared how he sometimes gains new perspectives from his students, as well! The best nuggets from that conversation have been mined for you below.  
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Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker

Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker

ON THE TYPES OF CLIENTS HE SEES AT MAXIMUS MUSIC:   “We do all music. I guess it’s kind of a cliché because it looks like there’s a lot of rappers and R&B artists up there, but we do all music. My guys are very versatile. I do a lot of pop. I’ve been doing a lot of alternative acoustics lately with guitar and vocals. I’m very good at that. Me and my guys, we do R&B, pop. We do soul…Of course, we have done a lot of hip-hop. In the building, we’ve had Jadakiss, Beethoven Beats, we’ve had DMX, Naughty by Nature. Currently, we had Yung Joc, Yung Ralph, a couple of [the] Barrino family, which is Fantasia’s family–Joe Barrino, which they call Teeny on the VH1 episode…a reality show with Fantasia. We had her brother Ricco Barrino. Ricco, he does a lot of work, a lot of R&B work.”   WHAT HE SEES AS THE STUDIO’S BIGGEST ADVANTAGE:   “Our mixes are what we’re known for. Our guys are just amazing…We’re dealing vintage equipment and having it modified, power supplies taken out, more beefy power supplies put in, analog railings, the headroom and some of this older vintage equipment which allows us to push the envelope a little bit harder than anybody else.”   ON WHAT DREW HIM INTO A MUSIC CAREER:   “It was on my mom’s side of the family. My mom taught school. She was a teacher for 33 years, the majority of that. She was a music teacher for elementary kids, school kids…My uncle was a jazz musician named Matt Smith. [He] was like my hero when I was a little kid…I learn differently so I couldn’t–it was hard for me to pick up instruments like that because I repeat a lot. It was hard for me to go past measures. So I guess falling into engineering…I could just take steps and try to go over it until it’s correct. It’s more like problem solving if anything, so I guess it kind of really worked out, which makes me pay attention to meticulous details a lot of people just miss. So that may have made me keep coming up with my own sound. I’m even nerdy enough to take apart equipment and modify it to get extra measures out of a sound.”   ON WHY HE DITCHED COLLEGE TO LEARN HANDS-ON:   “I ended up going to school for broadcast communication. I was bored senseless…I was antsy, and we’re in the classes, some in the actual audio room…kind of like a station, but it wasn’t for the college set up…I ended up putting down broadcast. I just started following myself into audio engineering and ran into a couple of great guys at the time that were actually teaching me. I just kept learning from there.”   ON WHY HE MENTORS FOR THE RECORDING CONNECTION:  
Control Room A in Maximus Music

Control Room A in Maximus Music

“I’m always providing information to and for someone and explaining it…It’s just a good feeling knowing that you can get that light bulb to go on in somebody’s head. This program should be for everybody: songwriter, artist, producer, engineer, whichever one you want to be…The biggest advantage is you’re working with the recording studio…instead of paying a very, very large amount, and maybe not acquire the attention that is needed…you’re doing all three at one time, you’re learning, then you’re learning hands-on, then you’re taking a quiz, and then you get to come in and watch it happen realistically every week. The only real way to learn is to be around it enough.”   ON HOW HE PUSHES HIS STUDENTS TO STRETCH THEIR LIMITS:   “I think if you’re going to be here, you should get pushed, because if you’re not pushed, you’re just going to be mediocre and moderate…You’ve got to push the limit. You got to jump on top of the mountain. You got to get up there somehow. So that’s what I do. I’m always trying to find, every week, I’m trying to find a new way to push the limit. I think everybody should.”   ON HOW HE GAINS NEW PERSPECTIVES FROM HIS STUDENTS:   “The really cool thing is people like Wes [Hagy]. Wes is curious. His curiosity leads to doors. Sometimes, it makes me scratch my head like, ‘I never thought about that.’ When he gets it, he gets it, and it’s so cool. The fact is he got it by working with me and working with the Recording Connection, and because I push him a little bit harder, then he starts pushing back, and I like that…Sometimes, I get new ideas because of guys like him. I’ve got Spence [Green], I’ve got Demario [Rushing], Chris Wedlock finished the master’s program. These guys are…totally enthused. They make it worth the reason to be in this business in the first place because you know you’re doing something that’s making a difference.”   ON WHAT HE LOOKS FOR IN AN APPRENTICE:   “First of all, I don’t have to do this; I want to do this. So if you’re really not going to take it serious, I’m not going to take you serious. I am going to go about my life that is serious, for other future students that might need mentoring they really want to take it serious, because at the end of the day, if you’re wasting your time, you’re probably wasting someone else’s time, too.”   
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