How working in audio catapulted my music career
When I moved to New York City for film school, I wasn't sure what exactly I was doing. I had developed a pretty serious addiction to recording things - video, film, tape. And writing songs and poetry and stories. But I didn't have a clear idea of where I was going. I knew I couldn't stifle the wellspring of songs coming to mind every day, and I knew I wanted to be in one of the biggest cities in the world. I had lots to learn at school, and I did my best to absorb and ponder a direction. Editor? Director of Photography? Camera Operator? Foley artist?
It was only two years before I dropped out (I came back and graduated after three years, just for the record) and knew I needed a job to supplement my commitment to a new band I had joined - Girls Don't Cry. I went straight to Gotham Sound and Communications in midtown where I had gone on a college field trip, and begged them for a job. I had tons of interest, moderate knowledge, and little experience. They still hired me, despite my audacious insistence that it was likely my band would get signed and I would have to leave promptly. And that job at Gotham ultimately became my gateway into doing location sound recording for film and tv. I learned every recorder and mixer inside and out, checking them as they came off productions and eventually preparing packages to send out to productions. I gigged as much as I could.
NYU is expensive. I doubt if I had chosen cafe work, or bartending, that I would have (and still would) survive(d) financially. It's pretty interesting that the place that I will have to pay off until I die is also the place that essentially gave me the know-how and tools to pay for it. Or at least get by. NYC is expensive. I spent a lot of time multitasking, not sleeping, and shooting the moon.
10 years and multiple local and international moves later, I happened to be on an audio gig in Atlanta where I caught wind of a reality show about musicians in Nashville. I could bore you with all the in between stuff, all the random crazy jobs, the romance and heartbreak, the places I traveled and wild experiences I had.. but that's for a memoire and not this short blog. I found myself with the strongest desire to try out for this show. I also had made a promise to myself that it wasn't just "music whenever I could" around work anymore. Music would be my main work. I would split my time and work harder.
As someone who had worked on the backside of the camera for years, and had seen how these shows ultimately ended up for the cast members, I was crazy to want the opportunity. But actual experience in the driver's seat is king. I auditioned and astonishingly, got in.
It was the show and moving to Nashville that changed the course of my musical career. I was able to focus in on what I really wanted, and what I didn't want. I was able to move past the year the show had aired and start truly realizing some of my most important musical goals. I still do audio, but my main focus is music. Since moving to Nashville, I've released two studio albums with notable producers and had a role in a major motion picture (Pitch Perfect 3). I've also met a million amazing musicians and songwriters that have surrounded me with the drive I've needed to carry on making music.
I owe almost everything to a boom and a mixer.