Perhaps nothing is a better birthday present for any aspiring audio engineer than a job offer and that’s exactly what Jacob Keithley of Corpus Christi, TX, got just days before turning 22!

While some externs start Recording Connection knowing exactly what they want to do and which areas they want to focus on, others like Jacob, are following something more akin to an instinct or hankering that just won’t go away. Jacob knew little about audio engineering and even less about the business side of it, but he jumped in with both feet and just absorbed everything he could. His natural curiosity about the work, impressed his mentor, industry veteran and owner of Trinity Recording Studio, Jim Wilken. “That’s the one thing Jim loves about me the most, is that if I don’t know it, I’m gonna find out, or I’m gonna ask about it.”

Aside from Jacob’s intense passion to learn about the recording and audio engineering, is another closely aligned strength, seen in all successful audio engineers and music producers—his openness to learning any and everything his mentor had to tell him, even soaking in the stuff that isn’t on the Recording Connection curriculum but facets and technologies that can often present, exciting creative possibilities for a newer generation that doesn’t get hung up on the analog/digital divide: it’s all part of the same soup.

“Yeah some people [would] say, ‘Well that old man’ but I say, ‘That old man is so smart and talented. I learn something new every day I go into the studio, whether it’s reel-to-reel or vinyl or cassette. Hell, he pulled out a four-track the other day, and we started learning about that… It’s not only that I learn what I need to learn in the studio with Jim. I learn the history of it too, and there’s always some stories behind it and stuff.”

Jacob’s mentor and now employer, Jim Wilken, member Texas Radio Hall of Fame, wrote into Recording Connection to say, “Jacob is the most enthusiastic, intelligent and responsible student we have had the privilege of working with. He has proven to be very competent and mature beyond his age.” Seeing diversity as the strength that it truly is, Jim is expanding the studio’s foray into hip hop and rap, all of which will be spearheaded by Jacob Keithley who sounds super-excited when he says, “Jim’s already got 10 or 11 bookings set up for me.”

Within less than one year, Jacob’s dedication, curiosity and passion have made him an asset to his mentor’s studio. Thanks to his hard work and the mentorship he’s received he can spend his 22nd birthday looking forward to a very bright, and busy, future. Congrats Jacob!

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