5 years ago, I sat in the “I Make Gold Records” class at SoJam (think BOSS but with Southern accents) in 2007. I watched producers like Dave Sperandio, Mark Hines, Nick Lyons, Bill Hare, and James Cannon divulge their secrets on how to make an award-winning a cappella album. There could not have been better timing because I knew AcaBelles desperately needed a new CD and I was determined to make it miles better from the last one that we just did in a local studio in Tallahassee. So, I was that girl who sat in the front row frantically taking down every tiny detail that came out of their mouths.
Later that day, I introduced myself personally to Dave (by that point, I had probably emailed him around 18 times about recording the next ‘Belles album because I heard Christopher Diaz was doing the same for All-Night Yahtzee). To my surprise, he recognized me from my Facebook picture and told me that he was going down FSU to do a recording workshop with Yahtzee. But it wasn’t until after I watched the roof tiles blow off by Fork and Naturally 7’s performance that my life was changed… literally.
A few months later Diaz was nice enough to let me sit in the back of the studio while Dave gave his workshop. I even managed get Lo Barreiro, a former ‘Belle and current BOSS producer, in there with me and after 10 more pages of notes, I knew he was going mix our album too. All I had to do was record and edit it. Did I mention I had never even touched Protools before?
By the next SoJam, I was learning how to actually record the album. I spent hours on the phone with Dave and another engineer, Steve Ryan, asking every question I could think of. They would even send me screen shots of Protools sessions! With their help I figured it out…eventually.
Why am I telling you this story? Because I wanted to show you that going to an a cappella festival can actually help jump start your career. You see, that album was nominated for 3 CARA awards. I eventually went to school for audio engineering, but it was a combination of my experience recording the ‘Belles album and a chance encounter between Lo and Mark Hines at another a cappella event in California that scored us two jobs with The Vocal Company.
It’s been 5 years since my first SoJam and I recently found myself sitting in my room listening to the AcaBelles latest release. Except this time, I actually got paid to produce it. I went from the girl sitting in the festival classroom, to a professional in this community that works on a cappella music as my full time job. You want to start a career in a field you love, right? Come to BOSS, make connections, learn from the best, and one day you could end up working beside the people you idolize.