JAKE KIYOKANE, LOS ANGELES, CA
Externing at Serenity West Recording in Los Angeles, Recording Connection master’s program student Jake Kiyokane has learned an important secret to breaking into the recording industry: be available as much as possible, even beyond the lessons.
“I started just putting myself out there more a little bit,” he says, “just hitting them up more, like, ‘Hey, I’m available—you know, you can hit me up whenever you want and I’ll be there.’”
To his amazement, his mentors at Serenity West started taking him at his word, calling him in to assist. Before long, he found himself in recording sessions with major artists like DJ Mustard and Anthrax. And the more he showed up, the more they called him.
“I think they just found I was willing to put the effort in for it,” says Jake. “I feel like they liked that from me, so they wanted to offer me more positions and all that.”
Of course, if you spend any time with Jake, you’ll perhaps understand why his mentors are so eager to call him in: he lives and breathes audio engineering. Before enrolling in the Recording Connection, he recalls skipping classes in college just so he could practice on Pro Tools. When he found he could learn hands-on in a real recording studio with a Recording Connection externship, he jumped at the chance.
“[In] college, you go, you take tests, that’s it, you’re done,” he says. “Out here, you’re connecting with people.”
Once Jake finished his basic Recording Connection course, he stayed on to do the advanced master’s program, which is allowing Jake to focus on projects and aspects of audio engineering he particularly enjoys. Meanwhile, his availability is now leading to paid gigs at the studio, where he now works on a part-time basis in addition to his schooling!
For Jake Kiyokane, it wasn’t just the education that is contributing to his success: it’s the fact that when he got into the studio, he made the most of the opportunity and made himself an asset to his mentors. His advice to other externs? You have to want to be there.
“Try to get there as much as possible, and stay as long as you can,” he says, “because they’re going to notice your effort and how much you want to be there. And if you want to be there, they’re going to ask you to come more.”