Sound Check

Sound Check

Name: Marcella Araica
Age: 31
Job: Producer and Sound Engineer
Education: Bachelor of Science in Recording Arts from Full Sail University
Location: Los Angeles
Credits: “Gimme More” by Britney Spears, “The Way I Are” by Timbaland, “Love In This Club” by Usher, “Knock You Down,” by Keri Hilson, “Sober” by Pink, “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado, “4 Minutes” by Madonna, and other artists including Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, and Duran Duran

Making a living recording, editing, and mixing music requires a discerning ear. For Araica, her early training in audio mixing came long before her introduction to Pro Tools, a digital audio workstation used for editing music. She was just a kid when she began tinkering with her father’s stereo system, adjusting the EQ (equalizer) and wondering how she could change the sound of a record. “I was curious to see how something would sound at, like, 60 hertz.” Today, Araica is one of the most highly sought sound engineers, mixing for some of music’s top hit makers.

Salary: “It is quite a big range. An engineer can earn anywhere between $50 an hour to $125 hour, or your day rates can go anywhere from $500 to $1,500 a day. Mixes can go anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000, it just depends on your level and your résumé–it all takes part in what you can command.”

Education: Araica graduated from Full Sail University’s Recording Arts program in Winter Park, Florida, in 2002. She was one of five women in a class of roughly 170 students, graduating with honors and receiving the Advanced Recording Engineer Award that is bestowed upon one student each semester. “I definitely had a couple of people who really tried to discourage me along the way, and it was almost like they made a point to say this is a very male-dominated industry and it’s really tough. For me, that was almost like fuel to get me to go even harder.”

Internship: “I started my internship at the Hit Factory in Miami as a general assistant. I did everything from running food, to cleaning, to painting walls, and blowing leaves out of the parking lot. About two months into my internship I got a call from the studio manager. He said, ‘Missy Elliott just called. She’s on her way here in 15 minutes, and I don’t have anyone to be the second engineer in the room. Do you think you can do it?’ I went from all that grunge work to working with Missy. She took a real liking to me, and from that first session on she requested me as the second engineer. Be ready, because you never know.”

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