In this edition of Student Profile we meet Antonio Rodriguez, currently enrolled in his 5th quarter of the Music and Entertainment Business program at the Institute of Production and Recording. An enthusiastic supporter of the music he enjoys, Antonio is already developing a reputation as an individual able to respond quickly when opportunity presents itself, and with a level of professionalism too rarely seen within the entry levels of the industry. I was curious to learn more about how some of his early efforts got started, as well as find out what plans are in place to further develop his career path.
Hailing from a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, Rodriguez discovered IPR through comparative research on Google and though he “really didn’t know what to expect,” has since found the school to be an excellent match for his aspirations. Anyone familiar with his online profiles will likely already have a good sense of what those aspirations entail, as he makes prolific use of the tools available through social media to help promote activities that he is a part of.
Whether helping to hype DIY 360 with Adam Levy, or sharing video on the IPR FaceBook fan page, many of Antonio’s efforts are in fact helping to establish greater continuity between the on and offline IPR communities. If you look closely at the audience for many IPR sponsored events, you have a good chance of spotting Antonio, video camera in hand, documenting footage to share with those unable to attend in person. When asked about his motivation for this, he replied “I like shooting amateur stuff and capturing it in Final Cut, editing it and throwing it online for everyone to see…somehow I’ve managed to get 70 some videos up on my YouTube page; it’s a great way to give additional exposure to the events.”
Recent video shot and edited by Antonio…
Another outlet for honing his promotional skills has been an internship position with Island Def Jam. Antonio made a speedy reply when he first learned of the chance to work with this highly respected label and has found it to be a great asset for networking. “I have met a bunch a bands, all these people that work for the Target home office, Best Buy, Universal, Apple, all these “IMPORTANT” people. I have talked to everyone from live sound guys, road/tour managers, drum tech guys, venue managers, artists and fans,” Rodriguez said. “Island sent me out to the 2009 Warped Tour,” he continued, “which was great because I got to see P.O.S. out there, as well as meet New Medicine, other street team members from other labels, and other bands who are maybe a little less known that are working their way up there. Overall a very good opportunity!”
Chances for networking with local music industry professionals have also come about through Rodriguez’s involvement in the Content Under Pressure events. Put together by Kevin Beacham of Ryhmesayers Entertainment and Brandon Allday of Big Quarters, the innovative showcases featured key twin cities and RSE artists creating music with an unfamiliar collaborator in a limited amount of time and then performing it for the crowd that same night. Antonio contributed to the promotional efforts for these events by doing promo videos, passing out flyers, and simple yet effective word of mouth.
Rodriguez spoke at length on his admiration for the many IPR faculty and staff members who have helped him get this far. He highlighted the technical expertise of Paul Bolen and Steve Price (on Pro Tools and Logic respectively), and the well honed business sensibilities of Eric Trelstad, and Scott Legere. Additionally, he noted the contributions of Brian ‘Champtown’ Harmon as “the guy who brings the major artists in to speak. He is the one responsible for bringing T.I. and Boys II Men into the building…following this is going to be Chuck D. from Public Enemy – so be on the look out for that!” Antonio concluded this train of thought with a sincere “Thanks to all the people at IPR that make it run each and everyday.”
In the studio with Katheryn Alcantara, Jordan Yemma, and Maya Duis
Rodriguez was generous enough to also share some good advice with new students coming in to IPR, stating “For those just getting started, pay attention in all the classes and take notes, this will benefit you thereafter. Meet everyone you can, talk to them, get to know them, find out what their skills are in and get their contact info. Teachers, students, the people at shows you go to…that is how I get contacts, by just talking to people everywhere. Take a variety of classes so you can figure out what you are really interested in. Start keeping up on what is going on in the music industry now and forever. Don’t just stick to one genre, be diverse.”
This lead me to inquire into what Antonio had learned so far that he feels might already be benefiting his chosen career path. He replied that “The audio engineering classes have helped out a lot. I knew nothing before coming here to IPR; the boards don’t look so scary anymore. This has helped to work with all sorts of different people, a rapper named DYC, a singer/songwriter named Maya Duis, a screamo band who goes by Something Less Tragic, and currently a group known as The Jerry Rau Band. Also, some of the business classes, such as the law and copyright class taught by Scott Legere, have been very informative and quite helpful. Honestly, there is at least one thing in each class that I have learned and taken away from that class and used in one way or another.”
When asked about plans for after graduation, it became clear that Antonio is staying open minded and will remain focused on the underlying goal of “making sure that I will have some sort of job relating to all this no matter how big or small…there are so many things that can happen between now and until I graduate…I will go wherever the job takes me.”
The final piece of the puzzle I was curious about was inspiration: who has motivated Antonio and why? “Inspiration…inspiration comes from all over…most recently I was inspired this kid who goes by Alex Goose, age 23 from Atlanta, Georgia. I found out he was to be one of the producers on the new Jay-Z album but none of his tracks were accepted – they weren’t bad though, they were excellent. That right there inspired me because he is only 23 and Jay-Z and his peoples are calling out to him for his instrumentals. I have been inspired by teacher’s words here at IPR. The main source of inspiration though, comes from the family. They keep me in line. They support anything I do; they have helped me with pretty much anything I have done; I am grateful for that.”