Meet Brian Pickens, also known as Yung Ladd, a 2010 graduate of the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at F.I.R.S.T. Institute. The Grammy nominated, 3-times platinum producer credits the audio engineering school with taking his career to a much higher level.

In his opinion, a lot of people make and understand music but don’t actually “get it” professionally. F.I.R.S.T. Institute helped him get to that level, raising him up to a higher standard than he’d ever imagined. Find out more about his career in the audio industry in this Audio Graduate Spotlight!


After graduating, Pickens found himself in Miami the very next day. He met with colleagues Marcello “Cool” Valenzano and Andre “Dre” Christopher Lyon, also known simply as Cool and Dre. In no time at all, the Grammy award-winning producers offered Yung Ladd a production deal.

His first project under this new contract was working on the “It’s Good” track from Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” album. The Southern Hip Hop rapper was in the process of making a major comeback and this was a very lucrative, momentous opportunity for Yung Ladd.


But, it was “Another Round” by Fat Joe featuring Chris Brown, which became the ground breaker for Yung Ladd’s music production career. This was that one big hit he needed to open doors for him in places like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and the likes. He then had the confidence necessary to feel like a truly professional producer worthy of being in the offices of other industry gurus.

Thanks to this hit single, people in the industry now know exactly who Yung Ladd is as a music producer. Now, the idea of working with him in the studio means something big to others. People in the industry really respect his work.

Another momentous moment came when he got the opportunity to work on “I Remember” by The Game featuring Future and Young Jeezy. It was featured on The Game’s album entitled “Jesus Piece.” This was an amazing experience, as he was a serious fan who looked up to these guys. And, the “dopest” part is that the track he worked on for this album ended up being a hit single!


What’s a typical week like for Yung Ladd? 90% studio and 10% thinking. He spends the majority of his time in the studio doing what it takes to trigger his creativity: developing ideas, writing hooks, making new loops, and more.

Eventually, Yung Ladd was given opportunities he’s extremely happy about experiencing. He locked in a very lucrative publishing deal. This gave him the opportunity to work with other big name artists as well.

He’s also proud of actually making real money, doing what he loves to do. This means no more struggling to pay the bills for the music producer. Now, he’s able to focus on his creative forces, as opposed to worrying about making ends meet.


Yung Ladd offers some advice to aspiring entertainment professionals: “Make sure you love whatever you do.” No matter how hard you chase the money, without a solid work ethic, it simply won’t be there when you need it. Making it in the music business is not as easy as it looks. It’s a day-to-day process that requires “grinding” and hard work.

That way, at the end of the day, even if you didn’t make a dime, you’re still happy. Why? Because you spent your time, energy and dedication working on something you’re passionate about deep within yourself.

As Yung Ladd says, “If you don’t love it, don’t do it.” Graduating with us was the starting point that helped him turn his passion into a lucrative career.


A quality education from a good audio engineering school like F.I.R.S.T. Institute, one of the best music production schools in Florida, can teach you the skills you need to succeed in the audio industry. There you’ll learn what you need to get your new audio production career off the ground, you’ll even learn your way around a studio and how to to make your own music.

You won’t get our quality, hands on learning experience with passionate audio industry professionals anywhere else! Check out the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s music production school today. You’re only months away from your dream career!