Hailing from Miami and Los Angeles, new IPR instructor Micah Johnson has been told he’s handling the Minnesota winter “too well,” he says.
“I came prepared,” he says, “I got my snow boots early, got a remote start for my car, and got four-wheel drive. And we love it here.”
Johnson, an all-star studio engineer who has worked with clients such as Missy Elliot, Godsmack and Demi Lovato, to name a few, joined the IPR team in late 2014. It was a move two years in the making, he says, because he knew he’d be moving to the area and had heard about IPR — and he knew he wanted a job here.
“One of the things I love about IPR is the school is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the students to use the studios,” he says. “This is the beauty of the school, and I don’t think any other schools do that. Plus, the staff here has great experience, and I know they put their heart and soul into helping students develop themselves and find themselves in the job field.”
Micah should certainly count himself as part of the faculty with great experience. He began his career at The Hit Factory in Miami, where he enjoyed working in six different studios where “every night was different” and he might run into anyone from Timbaland to Gloria Estefan at any time.
After a few years, Micah moved to L.A. to work at Capitol Records Studio, and eventually he moved into the chief engineer role at Eargasm Studio. While at Eargasm, his perfect ear for sound earned him respect as he worked on video games, national television and radio commercials, podcasts, audio books, feature films, television shows, webcasts and more.
“We catered to everything,” Micah says. “This was in the heart of Santa Monica, and celebrities were always coming through the door.”
But after eight years, it was time for a change. Micah and his wife — who also worked as a sound engineer at Eargasm — decided to move to snowy Minnesota and form their own audio company, The Audio Artists. She has family here, and their two kids would now be able to grow up with their cousins.
And now that he’s here, Micah says he’s discovered two things: his kids love playing in the snow, and he loves teaching at IPR.
“The biggest breath of fresh air for me is seeing how much these students actually know. There’s always a handful of students who I’d hire right now!”
It can be challenging at times to teach all day and see the students without ambition, Micah says — he knows they have potential, but they don’t realize yet that attitude is everything. “You can literally do anything with a good attitude,” he says.
“I try to remind students that they’re not going to be where they want to be right away; they have to be patient and take the chances you get to learn and gain some experience. Even if they don’t get that dream job right away, there will always be a point in their career where a door opens. And when opportunity does knock, the biggest point is to make sure you are in the position to answer.”
Micah, a self-confessed gearhead, loves everything from Sia, The Roots, Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Weekend, Linus Young, Hillsong and anything else that was recorded with the best engineers and the best studios. He currently teaches Foundations of Computing, Engineering for Audio Visual Media, and Audio for Visual Media II Lab in IPR’s Sound Design for Visual Media program.
Fun Facts About Micah
- He loves music so much he named his daughter Lyric and his son Jude.
- He has a tattoo of a treble clef.
- His father-in-law makes microphones as a hobby; Micah has helped him out and brought one to the IPR for students to check out and use. It’s a ribbon mic, he says, with a nice, bright, big sound you don’t typically get from a ribbon.