NICE TO MEET YOU
I'm Donny Baker
After graduating with my communication degree, I was ready for my big adventure. I packed the truck, kissed Mamma goodbye, and moved to the big city of Los Angeles, California.
I was fortunate that, as a teenager, my family moved to England (UK) for business. That opened a lot of ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. We lived there for 4 years. I actually graduated high school there.
I met a legit "Rock Star" on the plane while traveling to the UK. Pat Travers is a rock star from Canada and was on his way to play a show in London. We sat next to each other the entire flight and just talked about cool it was to be in the music game. I thought then that this is what I was meant to do. The rest of this story is pretty cool, and I don't think I would change a thing.
"My life is incredible. I thoroughly enjoy doing what I do for a living. There is nothing else."
When I first moved to LA, I didn’t know anyone or have friends or family to help. I was alone. I lived in my truck for months before finally meeting like-minded people who helped me get that first “gig.”
I had become a better “sound guy,” and people began noticing. I was getting calls for work from people I had not yet met.
I was working when and where I could. Bars, Clubs, Rehearsal studios. Anywhere where musicians and bands hung out. I put myself in the light to ensure I was seen and, more importantly, heard.
I finally got on a short tour with a working band as a drum tech ( I took care of the drummer and his equipment ). That got me another gig and then another. Then I met a guy on one of those tours connected with an extensive management company. I got on a tour with one of those bands. WAY more significant than the ones I had been working on. Now we were playing in larger arenas and theaters.
From there, things escalated to bigger and longer tours with more and more money each time. My longest tour was 18 months. But I was working for a pretty big artist that is still quite famous.
Why I Do It
I toured as an audio engineer for almost 14 years until I met my incredible wife while touring with Michael Bolton.
When we got married, I came off the road. It was time to settle down. We started our family straight away. I worked around Los Angeles for a bit but wanted to be happier with the type of work I was doing. In a nutshell, I needed to improve at working for other people. I was always a freelance type of guy.
My wife wanted to be near her family and friends while pregnant with our Son. We moved to Indianapolis, IN, and I worked for more awesome musicians and bands there than anywhere else. Everyone wanted to work with the LA sound guy.
After our Son was born and things began to settle down, it was time to move back to a warmer climate. ( I don’t know how you guys do the bitter cold of the midwest) Props to you guys.
We moved back to LA, and I took a job working for a national company that installed commercial sound systems. I worked there for almost six years. I thought that now that I have a family, I’ve got to have a “Real Job.”
Long story short, I was unhappy and needed to return to being me. So, I quit the “Job” and went back to trying to be a freelance audio engineer.
I thought, “Hey, working in a studio can’t be that bad,” So I found a studio that needed some help building and growing. I started working there as an engineer and quickly learned I could run the place. I set myself as the manager of that studio. About six years in, the studio's owner decided to do something else. We bought him out and now we own the studio.
Things at that point changed for the better. We were now able to grow this studio brand into something super vibey, and our clients love coming to work here because of that family vibe that we possess.
My wife and I have owned and operated the studio for the past 19 years. My wife is great in all the business stuff, Bills, Money, Banks, and Insurance. And I do the day-to-day running of the facility. I am still an engineer and get to work on some fantastic projects from time to time. But I mostly just run things.
Why I Teach / Mentor
I also get to teach. I teach and mentor students here in the studio. Hands-on. Which is the best way to learn how to be an engineer. Get in here and do stuff.
Our learning platform has online courses and one-on-one coaching remotely or in person. The best way to learn, in my opinion.
I also teach for an accredited learning program called Recording Connection which places its students in a working studio to learn how to work in a studio. What a concept. Learning while doing. Yes, please.
This is where you come in. I am here to teach, guide and coach you into being the audio engineer/producer/Studio owner you want to become.
We teach more than just how to be an audio engineer/producer/studio owner. We teach you how to do business as an audio engineer/producer/studio owner. All of the good and bad. We share with you and coach you into becoming the business person that you want to become.
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