Recording Connection mentor Doug Boulware: What it Means to Hustle
You never know where life will take you. Having a plan is a good thing, but it’s ultimately how well you think on your feet that enables you to make a career.
Just look at Recording Connection mentor Doug Boulware. As an aspiring music producer, Doug started out working at the Recording Connection corporate offices in downtown Los Angeles, after he’d graduated from another, ahem, recording school. From there, he met the right people, made connections, and landed a gig at ES Audio with Donny Baker. From there, Doug worked his way up to the point that he started taking on his own apprentices. Today, Doug works as the VP of Operations at The Abstract Recording Studios. He’s someone who thinks well on his feet and looks for a proactive, can-do attitude in those he hires. In fact, all of the staff at Abstract are former Recording Connection students who know the name of the game.
In one word that name is “Hustle.”
The chief underlying principle that has gotten Doug to where he is today can only be described as an unstoppable willingness to hustle, go the distance, and not be defeated by seemingly insurmountable odds.
“That’s literally what I’ve built my career on,” Doug says. “It’s kind of a hustle mentality…I never had a staff position. It was never like, ‘Oh, I’m just kind of trying to get a job at a studio.’ I would go out to shows and I would hand out business cards that I made on my computer…I started doing stuff for free for people, hip-hop guys around my neighborhood, people I went to high school with… Very rarely did someone ever say to me, ‘How long have you been doing this?’ It wasn’t a question that came up a lot, once they saw how excited I was about their music and how energetic I was about doing it, that was it.”
Doug, like almost every other successful person, has the keen awareness of when you need to play it cool and when you need to really grind. Nine times out of ten, the answer is grind.
“I’d meet people who’d say, ‘I actually have a budget and I’m looking for a studio. So what I did was I went to bigger studios and I said, ‘Okay, I get that you don’t have a job, but if I bring you a client, can I hang out in the session and just kind of soak everything up?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, of course.'”
It’s ideas like this that helped Doug fully ingratiate himself with those around him. As someone who’s always got something in the mix it wasn’t long before others took notice and said, “This guy has got some skills.”
So during our interview today, when I ask him “What’s new?” he says in a totally non-plussed and humble manner:
“We started working with IGA, which is Interscope Geffen, and A&M. So we’ve done some production projects with them… Scoop DeVille’s been in, who does tracks for everyone…he’s worked with Eminem, Busta Rhymes, keys the track on the first Kendrick Lamar album. He’s become a friend and part of the family here at the studio…Bruce Bang has also been in lately.”
Yup. Things are snowballing for Doug and the guys at Abstract but that’s what happens when you grind and grind and just keep going.
When asked if he had any suggestions for students who want to go big, Doug’s basic advice is to just go for it. “What I’m talking about is really not something that you can teach,” he says. “I can explain it to you, and I can try to encourage it from students but it’s something that you just have to kind of have. I won’t say that’s something you can’t learn. If you motivate yourself to be that way, you absolutely can do that, but the motivation has to kind of originate from you.”
And just in case you’re thinking Abstract might be getting a little too big for their britches, Doug will be the first to set you straight:
“We still cater to the independent artists because, for me, I don’t really care about the fame or anything like that. And the money obviously, while it’s important to stay afloat and it’s an important part of business, to me it’s like, if I can feed my family making music every day I’m a happy man. You know what I mean? So with that as a goal, it’s been really easy to be pleased.”
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