Mentor Darakai “D.G.” Gwitira of Quad Studio NYC
2010 was a big year for Dakarai “D.G.” Gwitira. That was the year he quit his job and started his career as an independent engineer/producer. Since that time D.G. has gone on to work with immensely talented artists including T-Pain, Nelly, Jamie Foxx, J. Cole, Sara Bareilles, Marsha Ambrosius and many more.
D.G. as he is commonly called, works out of Quad Studio in New York City, one of the most distinguished recording studios on the planet.
In addition to being a successful producer/engineer D.G. is also a Recording Connection mentor. He’s well aware of what it takes to make it in this industry due to the fact that he forged his career himself. “Well, I studied in Texas, and then moved to New York… I started at Quad, I’d say mid-2010, for a total of about five months. Then I left Quad and I started working for record labels independently. And then some of the writers I would work with actually worked out of Quad, and the studio recognized that. They were eventually like ‘how would you feel about bringing some these clients to us and work out of here?’”
D.G. parlayed working hard, being skilled, and being an excellent networker into advancing his career very rapidly which interestingly enough, led him right back to Quad, the very same studio he had left. “The biggest thing that I try to tell people, especially some of my students, is the skill is very, very important—however, sometimes what may really need on a project is a specific type of personality. Sometimes it’s about how you communicate with people,” D.G. said. “You hear a lot of musicians talk about ‘magic’, and if you’re not part of that magic they don’t want to work with you. The personality of the producer or engineer is very important. If you have both of those then you’re definitely a golden child.” D.G.’s experience also underscores a very important lesson: never, ever burn bridges. You never know where they will lead. In D.G’s case, they led him right back to Quad with a fresh perspective and plenty of clients who were ready to work.
By placing students with mentors like D.G., the Recording Connection helps students gain the skills and insight they need to work within the recording industry. This can vary from student to student. If you’re technically very gifted but you’re lacking in interpersonal skills, or vice versa, your mentor can hone-in on where you’re needing help and can guide you, give you direct coaching and advice and even modify your lessons accordingly.
D.G. also believes it’s important that his students get a sense of perspective about their goals. He helps them attempt to assess what their priorities are when it comes to getting work and getting known. Within the music industry there’s this constant notion of ‘Making It’. D.G. likes to help people explore what that term really means to them on a personal level. “For some people ‘making it’ is “oh, I just want to be a star on TV.” For others ‘making it’ is about achieving self-satisfaction, being proud and happy doing what you want to do saying, “I just want to be able to make a living working on music.” It’s frank and honest discussions like these that help students put together a plan for crafting the kind of careers they really want to have.
So what projects is D.G. working on now? Answer: LOTS! He says, “just worked with Jamie Foxx. The song we worked on is actually his latest single, and Chris Brown…Jamie Foxx is really cool guy, and awesome, awesome personality. Got to work with Waka Flocka, which was really cool, Sara Bareilles, Akon. Let’s see, T.I. is really cool as well. That guy’s a master at his craft…And Wallpaper—I have to mention Ricky Reed, I’ve learned a lot from that guy. He’s really cool, he produced ‘Talk Dirty’ by Jason Derulo, and ‘Wiggle.’ He’s a great, great guy.
D.G. is constantly attempting to integrate his apprentices into the creative process. “When I was working on the Jamie Foxx record, most of the students were actually there for that.” The Recording Connection is all about connecting those who want to learn the craft straight from the pros who are working with some of music’s biggest names. Our apprentices get firsthand experience, make industry contacts, and get to learn what it takes to make music from the very same professionals who are actively making the music you hear every single day.