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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER May 2, 2016 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ

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

Internet radio host Leonora Martelly
ups her game with the Radio Connection

The Penthouse Suite By the time Leonora Martelly who goes by the radio moniker “Lelo” found the Radio Connection, she was already a fledgling pro, climbing the rungs toward broadcaster success as the co-host and producer of an Internet radio show she started with a friend in New York City. Lelo describes the show’s simple beginnings:   “Me and my co-host, we started hanging out a lot,” she says, “and my brother said, ‘You guys are so funny, you should start a show.’”   That was the seed of what eventually became “The Penthouse Suite” that the duo created from scratch and launched on SoundCast Fm. From there they went on to audition and earn a place on the popular NYC internet radio station, Droppin The Flava: “DTF” Radio. The weekly Internet show stars Lelo, co-host Jessie Rae and DJ Exeqtive. “It’s kind of like, you know when you go in an elevator, the very top floor is the penthouse,” Lelo explains. “And it’s like an elegant space, you feel like a woman, you feel free. So what we do is we run like the mouthpiece of our generation, we feel like there’s not a lot of people that can speak from our perspective…We speak about everything. We speak about religion, we speak about politics, we speak about our culture, what’s going on in our community. We’ve had a variety of guests, ranging from people on VH1, MTV, up-and coming-artists, we want to shine a light on other entrepreneurs that are doing great things in the community.”   So why would someone who was already forging a career as a radio personality want to attend the Radio Connection as an apprentice? To hear Lelo tell it, she felt the need to up her game.   “Originally I was looking into a master’s program,” she says, “but…I’ve learned that a lot of the time, hands-on experience works better in the field than sitting behind a desk…I like the fact that it’s real-time, hands-on experience, and that you have a mentor which is a connection to someone who’s actually in the industry. It’s not someone who is just teaching it, it’s someone who actually lived the life, experienced it, and is knowledgeable about what you need to get where you want to go.”   Lelo decided to enroll in the program and was placed with Radio Connection mentor Jay Dixon, a programming consultant at Hot 97 in New York City as well as WBLS New York and KBLX in San Francisco. At their initial interview, it didn’t take long for the two to hit it off. “We started talking about my goals and my experiences,” Lelo says. “We spoke about radio, we spoke about our personalities, and we got to know each other. It was like a really warm interview, where we were able to kind of like just feed off each other, get to know each other, understand each other’s goals.”  
Leonora Martelly

Radio Student Leonora Martelly

When working with Jay, Lelo says, she quickly began to see ways in which she could up her game, including building confidence with her own vocal delivery. “I have a very sultry voice,” she says, “and I feel like it doesn’t work for every type of sell or commercial…I’ve got kind of self-conscious about it. I had a conversation with Jay and he’s like, ‘There’s ways to incorporate that and keep that,’ … [to] just be myself, like learn from the masters and incorporate it, to keep my conversational skill and my energy the way that it is with my show and when I’m regularly speaking. So we’re definitely working on me building a consistent confidence with that.”   Lelo says she’s learned a lot about production value, as well. “I’ve learned that I really love the production aspect of it…the creativity of it,” she says. “Putting things together is a very intricate art, and you have to pay attention to every little detail. And I like putting things together, like the sells, the commercials, the drops. I really enjoy doing that.”   As Lelo finishes up her apprenticeship with Jay, she’s now able to incorporate what she’s learning into her own radio show. ‘I think that being able to meet with him and talk to him about my show and things I’ve been doing,” she says, “and then having him give me feedback and then applying it to my show, is definitely kind of buffering me up for the long run.”   Born and raised in New York, Lelo is a bona fide go-getter who’s confident and determined in her career. Her advice to other students can be boiled down to three things: practice, confidence and perseverance.   “I would merely say to be consistent,” she says, “and really get the best out of the program. I mean, not just doing the work when you’re having fun and getting into it, but actually going home and practicing it and applying what you learned so that it gets embedded in your memory, and it actually becomes natural. Because a lot of times people learn something, and it disappears, but you practice and it becomes a natural habit, and that’s how you improve your craft…Don’t doubt yourself, believe in yourself even when no one else does, because if they don’t see the vision, then how do you expect them to be as passionate about it as you are? So it starts with you…It’s really about being confident, understanding your natural gift and owning your vision.”   Leonora is also working on expanding her presence in the written word. Also a poet, her first publication Linguistic Gravity can be found on Amazon.com. A second publication is currently in the works. Find Lelo on Instagram.   Hear Lelo on The Penthouse Suite in the Apprentice Media section below!   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   Ryan F. Drake Film Connection apprentice Ryan F. Drake who apprentices with Shaunn Baker at World Stage Media in Dayton, OH, recently completed production on his short entitled The 7th Circle, a comedic romp exploring the dark side of indiscriminate eye-drop use. “I came to Film Connection because I wanted to gain the tools I would need to know how to make films and eventually sell them to work in the industry. With the help of Shaunn Baker, my mentor, I was able to get an idea out of my head to finally put it to paper and get it on a camera. While shooting the 7th Circle, I had to learn quickly, on my feet, but every problem was answered smoothly and a small group of no-name-wannabees had a taste of their first movie. It was exciting, fun, hard, and satisfying. I plan to use the skills I have learned to start working on my own projects and get a career with my dream production company.”    alexis-kirkbride Recording Connection apprentices Alexis Kirkbride and Curtis Dreager who study with Donny Baker at ES Audio in Glendale, CA, recently teamed up on a project and are having a blast getting the mix pitch-perfect. “Can’t say enough how Donny has prepared me for the real life recording world,” says Curtis. “The range of people I’ve helped work with goes from helping produce kid’s nursery rhymes being sent to the children of Nigeria, to helping the engineer during a late night vocal recording with DJ Paul from Three6 Mafia. It’s been a wild ride, and can’t thank you enough for this amazing opportunity.”   
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NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Recording Connection mentor Frank Sheadrick offers key advice for honing your craft and more!

   A long-time music industry veteran, Recording Connection mentor Frank Sheadrick grew up in a very musical family, getting his start on drums as early as age 5 and picking up bass as a teenager. During his years as a musician, he has toured with The Temptations Revue and shared the stage with the likes of Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee and others before expanding into audio engineering. Working out of SoKnox Studios in Knoxville, Tennessee, Frank is a huge advocate for the Recording Connection and even had a role in convincing his studio to take on our students as apprentices. In a recent conversation with RRFC, Frank shared a bit of his backstory, bragged on one of his students (female singer/artist Brickelle) and gave some key advice on the importance of honing your craft, staying humble and more. We’ve gleaned the best nuggets from that conversation below.  
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Recording Connection mentor Frank Sheadrick

Recording Connection mentor Frank Sheadrick

ON HOW HE GOT INVOLVED IN AUDIO ENGINEERING AS A CAREER:   “My family, they’re all singers and musicians, everyone from aunts, uncles, grandparents, you know, they’re just a musical family and stuff. But age of 5, I started playing drums at the church and everything, and by 13 I was playing the bass…graduated high school and went to Cumberland University, in Lebanon, Tennessee, and that’s when I really started getting into engineering, because it was more hands-on work than just playing music.”     ON WHY HE CONVINCED HIS STUDIO, SOKNOX STUDIOS, TO BEGIN TAKING ON RECORDING CONNECTION STUDENTS:   “I like the way the curriculum is set up…It actually starts you from the beginning and brings you all the way up to the now…And not only that, it actually gives kids an opportunity to not just look at books all day, but actually go to places where they can do hands on learning…I was telling [my apprentice] Brickelle that I kind of envy her because when I was at Full Sail, we got a little computer and we talked to the teacher and had class and stuff, but I was never able to actually get hands on until we stopped and were setting up for a show, and I’d run and tell the engineer, ‘Hey, can I mess around with this?’ Or ‘Show me this.’ But having an organization and a group that actually provides that for kids in certain areas, that is a big plus for me…So that’s why I really pushed the job, saying ‘Let’s do this, it’s going to be great, trust me.’ They took that into consideration and granted me that wish.”     BRAGGING A BIT ON BRICKELLE:   “Every third Thursday we have two bands come in, and we’ll stream them live, and we will record them live, and then we’ll also give them the video and the recording; that way they can have it as a EP, or…if they have fans across the country, or something like that, that want to see them, then they can tune in and see them. [Brickelle] actually stayed for it, and was hands on with setting up the drums and lights, and then as the show was going on, her and a couple of other apprentices, after everything was set, and I just left them. I was like, ‘Hey, it’s your show…I don’t want to hear no squeaks or peeps.’ They did a really good job. Recording turned out great and stuff, and I think she really had fun.”     HIS THOUGHTS ON GENDER IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY:   “I don’t look at gender at any point of view, whether it be music, life, or whatever; and like I was telling [Brickelle], ‘You have a gift, and if that’s what you want to do, do it’…If Beyoncé, or Lady Gaga, or Shirley Caesar, or Alicia Keys, if they had listened to that [negativity], they wouldn’t be where they are right now. They just had to get in their mindset that, ‘Hey, I know I can do this. I will show them I can do this.’ And they got the work ethic, they practice their craft, and they went for it, and they’re successful…If you can train it, and you have the will and the drive for it, I think go for it because you never know if you don’t try. That’s my philosophy on that.”     HIS ADVICE FOR STUDENTS ON WORKING WITH NOTED OR FAMOUS ARTISTS:   “Don’t get star-struck, because a lot of people don’t like that kind of environment. They just want to relax and chill… I went to LA and met with the group 1500 or Nothin’ and they had so much stuff going on, and professional artists walking around, and I got to meet a lot of producers, artists, comedians, and actors while I was down there. And I just maintained my coolness, and by doing that, I was more respectful than trying taking pictures, and trying to get autographs and other things, because doing that actually got them to say, ‘Hey, let me get your information.’ And I’m able to contact them on social media, text…I call it just being chill. If you’re in the same place as them, you’re there for a reason, so don’t go over the top with it…Be yourself, and don’t get too anxious.”     HIS ADVICE ON HOW TO GET WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY:   I think first thing is practicing your craft…You know, practice is one thing that’s very key, because I don’t think nobody ever became good at what they’re doing without practice, or, you know, putting in the time…Another thing is practice good work ethics. Set goals and times, times and goals for yourself…you have a project, you’re going to spend this many hours on it, and it’s going to be done by this time. And the last thing, I think is most important, is stay humble, because there’s a lot of musicians that are younger, some older, and just waiting to have an opportunity to get ahead…If no one is able to work with you because of your bad attitude, or you think you know and don’t want to listen or take advice or even constructive criticism, that is going to be a downfall…Being humble is one of the biggest keys to making it a success, and that’s just in my opinion.”   
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