It takes a certain degree of "chutzpah" in order to pioneer something new. Pioneering is hard, for it can be slow work, and doesn't come without it's challenges, disappointments, and occasional setbacks.
I remember when I was 18 years old I was fresh out of high school, and green behind the ears. I really wanted to play drums, and go to recording school to learn music production. With a little research I found a local studio nearby in Fort Myers, called "Unity Gain" that also functioned as a recording school. I didn't have much cash, so I decided to ask my parents for some money, in order to pay for tuition.
I managed to scrape enough dough together to enroll at the studio, and I spent the first 6 months basking in a new environment of learning at the school. It was amazing. I was learning so much, and I remembering walking back into the control room for the first time, to learn how to record tracks to analog tape.
Being in that environment, I felt like I had gotten bit by the "studio bug." I remember the day when I got to actually sit down behind the recording console and pull some faders up on a mix that had been tracked by Ian, the head engineer. I could hear every instrument with such clarity and separation. As I solo'ed the various instruments, what I was hearing was the combined total of Ian's expertise as recording engineer, and I was smitten. I knew that day that I wanted be a engineer/producer that day and one day sit behind a similar desk and make records.
But then reality happened. One day while driving my best friend Wade to college, I accidentally slammed into the back of the car in front of me, and wrecked my white 1985 Chevy Blazer. Major bummer.
Fortunately no one was severely hurt in the accident. Wade had a few cuts, and I had a bruise on my head from hitting the steering wheel, but the lady whom I had smashed into was ok and her car was still intact other than a minor fender bender. As far as my Blazer was concerned, it was smashed up good, and considering the age and mileage on the vehicle, there wasn't much I could do to fix it, so I paid to have it junked.
After the accident, I spoke with my folks and tried to arrange getting a new car. At the time my dad was selling life insurance with a new company, and we lived from commission check to commission check. Needless to say, there wasn't any extra money available for another car, and since the school was a 45 minute drive from our hometown I had no way to get to class. I tried carpooling for a few weeks with a fellow classmate, but often times she was unreliable. So after some deliberation I sadly decided to drop out of recording school.
I was devastated.
All I wanted to do was play music and learn how to record and produce, but it felt like my dreams had been shattered.
Fast forward 10 years, I was living and working as a prep cook in Boone, North Carolina. For those who know, working in a restaurant can be extremely stressful. I was burnt out with work, and I spent most of my time daydreaming about recording music and being behind a recording console. In that season of my life, I felt like I was just working to survive, and my heart just felt dislocated. Day after day I would daydream of doing music, and I knew I had to change my life and return to my passion.
Then one day my friend Jonathan, who played bass told me about C.R.A.S. ( the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences.) I checked it out online, and it looked great and offered a lot in terms of curriculum and being able to learn hands with industry level equipment.
I prayed about it, and decided to make the plunge and enroll at CRAS, with the hopes of being able to break into the music business as an audio engineer. Here was my chance to pick up where I had left off, and finally achieve my goal of getting a degree in music production. After applying online, I did a short interview, and after an evaluation period I received a call that my application was accepted!
I was stoked! My whole world suddenly got exciting again, and I could not wait to head out for Arizona. Here I was at age 28, and I realized I had spent the better half of my twenties engrossed in excuses, procrastination, and bad habits. Have been gifted with music felt like a blessing and a curse, a blessing for the joy that it brought to my soul, and a curse for not being able to fulfill a dream that I had in my heart.
At age 29 however all that changed and I made the plunge to pursue that dream again, and not look back. It's now almost ten years later, and here I am approaching my 39th birthday next January. I am still pursuing that dream, and I am blessed to have a home studio here, where I can connect with other local musicians and worshipers who want to cultivate something unique here in England.
I never though it would take this long to "arrive" and by no means do I feel like I have fully "arrived," ( in life you never stop learning and growing) however I feel that I am much closer to the life I originally dreamed and envisioned as a teenager.
After having spent the past twenty years making various choices I have been able to reflect on those choices made, and learn a few things about myself. The things I have learned is that if you are going to pioneer a path in life, and go where no one else has gone, it is gonna require courage, determination, and perseverance.
You can either procrastinate in life or you can pursue your calling. By procrastinating you waste time and go nowhere. However, by pursuing your calling ( humbly I might add ), you can be enabled by grace to go further than those around you.
So here I am in 2021 on the verge of 2022, ten years later from when I first enrolled at CRAS. What have I achieved? Well for starters, I built my first home studio In England from scratch, I have produced 4 albums ( all which are imperfect and have major flaws) and I have been able to do remote recordings and mixes for friends along the way, which has helped me grow as an engineer. I also launched my website, and produced a course for independent musicians wanting to break into the field of music production.
Did all this take place by simply daydreaming? No! Everyday I get to work, learning, spending time mixing, reading blogs, and trying new things in the studio. Anything I don't know how to do I research and study it, and then try to apply the things I learn.
So what are you waiting for? Are you procrastinating with that new project? Stop it!
It's time to re-envision your goals and be willing to go out on a limb in order to pioneer something new. Whether it's a song, a new album release, or a collaborative project, a new season is upon you. Go forth!