Grant Cornish – Graduate Success Story

Though I’ve never met Grant Cornish face to face, I have gotten to know him a little through recent contact. He’s very personable, smart, and it’s obvious he knows he needs to be a “go getter” to succeed in this industry. Grant left for Los Angeles, with two other IPR graduates, to follow a dream, but he wanted me to give kudos to both his travel mates because all three of them have landed work in L.A. (more on the them in future grad. Success stories). This tells me something about his character, and it’s verified by others who know Grant much better than I. Check out what people are saying about him:

“Arriving at IPR with good listening skills, from his previous education, gave Grant a leg up.  He came to my class with, first and foremost, communications skills.  His musical knowledge gave him the self-confidence to speak up in class and share his opinion about why things were – or were not – working musically.  I think he recognized and appreciated what IPR had to offer and knew to take maximum advantage of that.”

Eddie Ciletti, IPR Instructor

“Quick study, had his stuff ready to go, cheerful, friendly, good classmate & a good student.  Highly recommend!”

Scott Nelson, IPR Instructor

“Grant was very focused in AP282 and he sang his own vocal for his final project. His voice is very strong and has an almost operatic quality, the song was excellent. Besides being taller than any other student, Grant seems old beyond his years in a good way: very mature. It was great having him in class. “

Kevin Bowe, IPR Instructor

“As an IPR Admissions Representative, I get to meet with many prospective students, and once in a while I meet one that stands out as “most likely to succeed.” I got that sense about Grant Cornish from the first time I met him; in fact, my notes from that meeting said: “Very mature and knows what he wants. Seems determined and a hard working guy.” He arrived for his tour with family support and quick answers to where he wants to go in his career, and why IPR was the right choice for him. It’s no surprise to me that he is another IPR Success Story, and is rapidly advancing his career in Post Production in Los Angeles.”

Scott Novak, IPR Admissions Representative

For this installment in graduate success stories IPR presents, Grant Cornish:

Bio – Music Nerds quite often get a bad rap, but Grant Cornish makes the term “music nerd” look good. Despite his seemingly boy band looks and sweet tenor voice, Grant has the skills and training to make it big in the commercial music and songwriting world. As a boy, Grant made several appearances around the U.S. living in Cedar Rapids, IA, Columbia, MO, El Paso, TX, and Atlanta, GA before settling back in Cedar Rapids for high school.  Grant developed his passion for all types of music at an early age. Writing his first song “Always” at the age of seven, he discovered his own voice and rode that all the way to Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa, on a vocal scholarship. While majoring in Music with a minor in Business at Drake, Grant not only studied voice under Ann Cravero, but spent extensive hours mastering music theory and the intricacies of composition. In his spare time he found time to be a part of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and even won Des Moines’s “Holiday Idol”, taking home a nice $1000 check. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Drake, Grant left the cornfields of Iowa for the snow piles of Minnesota to earn his Associate’s Degree in Audio Production and Engineering from the Institute of Production and Recording (IPR).  Earning his true “music nerd” title, Grant made the Dean’s List every quarter at IPR, while studying under Grammy Award Winning composers and musicians, Kevin Bowe, Eric Olsen, Dik Shopteau, Scooter Nelson, Steve Hodge, Bob Jenkins, Eddie Ciletti and the up and coming Michael Brown. In addition to his multiple degrees, Grant is also Pro Tools Operator certified, Logic Pro certified and professionally trained in Ableton Live under Live guru J.P. Hunglemann. On top of that, Grant is a singer-songwriter whose recent songs “Visions”, “Underneath”, “Writing on the Wall” and the soon to be released “Old Man Winter” make Grant a multi-talented musician, music-editor, and composer ready to take on L.A. by storm.

What would IPR students and instructors say they remember about you?

I think the thing that they would remember most by was my curiosity about everything we were learning.  I always had a lot of questions and I wanted to take in all of the answers that were in their heads before I was done there.

Were there any big projects you undertook in your production or engineering capstone that laid the ground work for some of the things you’re doing now?

YES.  Studying audio production under Eric Olsen and Kevin Bowe allowed me to grab my skills and run with them.  In my final production capstone, I was given the opportunity to work with some amazing artists and use some awesome gear along the way.  We applied editing and mixing techniques that I use every day at Endless Noise.

Out of all your instructors who would you say worked most closely with you and had a special interest in your success?

I have always said that the BEST thing about IPR was the faculty.  It would be too difficult to pick one instructor that helped me the most, because each helped me in a different way.  I would say Kevin Bowe for filling my brain with real-world knowledge that I actually use every day, Eric Olsen for his excitement about the tools (it amazed me that even though he has been doing this for a while, that he was still so passionate about the job every day); Dik Shopteu for his musical ear/ tips and tricks, Scooter for his hair/ introducing me to the commercial world (which is exactly what I am doing right now), Steve Price for teaching me Logic (which is also what I am using right now); Eddie for introducing me to the old school way of doing things (and our amazing conversations after class), Mike Brown for being so freaking smart, JP for helping me escape from the real world and helping me the ultimate escape (Ableton Live); Bob Jenkins for his constant belief in me, and Jeff Deslauriers for helping me grasp the Post world of Pro Tools.

How do you feel your IPR education prepared you for the industry?

Everything audio related I learned at IPR I use every day.  Simple as that.

What types of things did you have to wait for industry experience to learn?

I was fortunate because the biggest challenge I have had (which really just required returning back to my Logic books) was switching back to Logic after doing Pro Tools all the way to 210P.  I still use Pro Tools every day, but because Bob Demaa at Endless is such a Logic guy, it requires me to be the same.  It is amazing once you have to relearn a DAW how quickly you can pick it up again.  I love both DAWs for their own reasons, I just am working on getting my Logic chops up to the level of my PT chops.

What do you think it means to be successful in this industry? What advice would you offer to students who are either just getting ready to graduate or who are wondering how to find their place in this industry?

Success is such a broad word… A little more then a year and a half ago I was sitting in Scooter’s Enter the Dragon class thinking “I want be like him someday”.  A year and a half later I am working on Honey-Nut Cheerios commercials and (potentially) singing commercially around town.  While I have been really fortunate to have made it to this point, I wouldn’t say I am necessarily successful yet.  I have goals for down the road, I need to get into SAG in a few years, I want to get into music for film.  Above all else, however, I think to be successful in this industry means you go to work every day getting paid to do something you love.  Of course that isn’t just an industry thing, but we are all fortunate to be in an industry that is creative and allows us all to express our creativity through media.  Getting paid to work in a DAW (to me at least) is awesome.  As far as advice goes for students, what are you the best at and how can you apply your skills to a working environment?  Don’t graduate IPR EXPECTING a job, you have to work your ass off to get one.  Everyone needs one, especially right now.  So choose a job that you are willing to work your ass off to get, and then don’t stop until you get it.

What types of engineering work have you done?

As I have only been at Endless the past few weeks, I have done mostly session work with our composer writing music for our new Epic honey nut cheerios commercial “Honey Highway”.  HNC is funny because they cram a million ideas into a 30 second commercial, but it works so well.  I am headed to Oceanway studios next week to record the orchestra for the commercial, and we might even enter it into some film festivals.  I also do the sound design for the commercials, so I am SO thankful that I was introduced to this world through Bob, Mike Brown and Jeff.  Next up on the list… Folger’s Coffee.

Do you have experience with audio and video editing?

I have been working with audio for a while now, but I really don’t have that much experience in video editing.  My roommate/ fellow IPR grad Sean Evens has been working with video editing every day at his internship in Burbank, so it is quite possible that grads will get thrown into that world too when they first find a gig.

How important do you think attitude is when it comes to success in the audio world?

EVERYTHING!  The only reason I got this job was because they liked me and I love hanging out with everyone at the studio.  The big thing is that we spend so much time together; I usually show up around 10 and work until 8 or 9 at night.  On days when we have a project due, I work until 11 or 12.  That much time with people requires you to be able to all get along.  If you don’t it could not only be hazardous to the project, but hazardous to your job.

What one trait/ability/skill do you feel has helped you more than any other to be successful in this industry so far?

NETWORKING!!  A year ago my two roommates and I decided that we wanted to move to LA after we graduated IPR to pursue jobs in music/ sound for film.  With the help of a few teachers (Scott Legere, Steve Hodge), IMDB and Facebook, we collected names of people that we wanted to meet and talk to about the scene out here.  After Facebook messaging the crap out of LA, we were able to land some really cool meetings with some pretty big people.  Two more roadtrips later (yep, roadtrips), we all had potential gigs and an apartment here.  From my own experiences, Networking IS the industry.