Recording Connection mentor Paul Broussard on Adding Value
Being a professional in the recording industry takes a lot of dedication. It’s not a career you just waltz into. It’s something you hone your skills at, pay your dues, and build connections in. From there, you’re consistently striving to grow, even when you’re a full-fledged professional with years in the business. Being an audio engineer is as much a calling as it is a career. Paul Broussard knows this intimately, having been the owner and operator of Leap Studios in Lafayette, Louisiana for 15 years.
Paul recounts his journey into audio engineering as one that evolved organically over time.
It went from drummer, to audio engineer, to producer…Obviously I’m still an engineer and a drummer. But lately, production has been really—instead of just recording stuff, being super active, like just a member of the band type person whenever artists come in. And it started because I wanted to make little sh*tty-sounding recordings of my drums when I was like 15. And so I started making little demos for my band, and then people were like, “Hey, can you do recordings of my band like that?” I started charging, and I got a little bit of gear, gained a little bit of experience, changed locations. So it’s a very organic progression.”
When Paul works with artists in the recording studio he leans on the perspective he’s acquired by being a drummer and artist himself. Producers and audio engineers can get locked into coming at a project from a purely technical standpoint. Paul makes it his prerogative to never lose sight of the artistry and developing the artist’s vision and feel. When asked to elaborate Paul says, “Well, I’m an artist myself and so most of the decisions that I make…most of the time, me and the artist start on the same page…I figure out what they’re trying to do and what their approach is, and then I guide them. And most of the time, it’s not a problem. Locking stuff down like that early on always makes the vibe better because you don’t focus on one element too long…”
Paul has been working in the industry for decades and has seen it change. Helping people navigate the terrain and jumpstart their careers, beyond simply learning the technology, is a big part of his focus as a Recording Connection mentor. When asked if he had any closing thoughts on how to get hired at a recording studio Paul gives this key piece of advice to anyone looking to make it in today’s landscape:
They have to make themselves worth it…The reason that apprentice Morgan [Ramsey] is hired here is because I’ve kind of adopted a new scheme of the way I’m doing things. I don’t have to be the only person going out, finding people, bringing them in and generating income and generating music…The more that I can keep that percentage of bookings up there, the better off I am, and also the better off for other engineers…[So for] some of my students I’ve offered, I said, ‘Whenever you finish this program with Recording Connection, I can hire you as an engineer.’ They’re not paid unless they bring in clients, but it’s really up to them. They can bring in as many clients as they want…You’ve got to fill a need for a studio, and make yourself valuable to them.”
Make yourself valuable. Work hard and be enterprising in your approach. When you provide value for those you work with, you become valuable. Make it happen.