January 23, 2018

Recording Arts & Show Production Graduate Story: AC the Gift

AC the Gift – Graduate Spotlight

Meet AC the Gift, a graduate of the F.I.R.S.T. Institute Recording Arts and Show Production program in Orlando, Florida. He’s been interested in music since a very young age.

The graduate’s father was a pastor at a church when he was growing up, he enjoyed watching the church choir “do their thing.” However, the youngster was much more interested in being on the other side of the productions but was just too young at the time.

He notes that he comes from a very musically inclined family, where his uncles played various instruments. So, it only made sense that he’d someday enter the industry himself. The aspiring artist had no idea the family’s influences would take him where they did. And, he was driven to magnitudes he’d never imagined.

AC the Gift Remembers His “Aha” Moment

AC the Gift’s “aha” moment came to him in the 6th grade. This pivotal moment struck during lunchtime at school with Bell Biv Devoe’s (BBD) song Poison playing in the background. He and others in the lunch line began singing the song. That’s when he caught the attention of a young girl who let him know she had no idea he had such great singing talent.

As a shy guy, he realized no one knew because he’d been hiding it all this time. But, this sparked something in the 6th grader, it caused him to step out of his shell and move forward with his music career. He credits this girl, name unknown, for kickstarting something in him that never went away.

F.I.R.S.T. Institute Creates Empowering Learning Environment

When asked what he likes most about F.I.R.S.T. Institute, the alumnus says that would be the intimate setting. He likes that the school is not overcrowded. The smaller classroom sizes allow him to bond with both the instructors and the other students in the class.

This setting also allows him to work in a hands-on environment, without feeling intimidated. He can raise his hand to ask a question, stopping the learning process, without feeling out of place.

Schools with massive crowds can be intimidating. This causes you to keep things to yourself, he notes, which leads you to missing out on important lessons. At F.I.R.S.T. Institute, he got everything he needed, “and then some.”

Favorite Moments at Orlando’s F.I.R.S.T. Institute

AC the Gift was asked to talk about one of his favorite moments as a F.I.R.S.T. Institute student. He told the camera it was when his class did the trailer for the hit movie Hancock starring Will Smith.

This was a class project that he seems to be very proud of, according to the look on his face. They took the film, and muted all of its sound.

Everyone in the class was assigned various parts to be in charge of throughout the feature film. As a team, the F.I.R.S.T. students added the sound effects and voiceovers you hear in the movie Hancock.

He seems to have taken a personal interest in the project, noting that he took the film home to work on it. There, he implemented his own soundtrack, giving him the opportunity to put more work into his production.

AC the Gift added the score music back to the project, as well as did Will Smith’s voiceover… “pretty funny.” The graduate says this project was one of the “dopest” things he did as a F.I.R.S.T. student.

3 Pieces of Advice from AC the Gift for Aspiring Music Professionals

He gives advice to anyone looking to pursue a music career or similar lifestyle:

  1. Make sure it’s from the heart. It needs to come from inside, not from an overwhelming feeling that came upon you after watching a music video. The heart is where it started for him.
  2. Make sure the talent is there. Have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself about your personal level of talent. Yes, family members can be encouraging, but, you need to get other opinions from multiple people to ensure the talent you think you have actually exists.
  3. Hone your skills. Mess around with various techniques, like adding distortion to your music.

When the alumnus came to F.I.R.S.T. Institute, what he thought he knew about the industry was broken down and developed the correct way. This allowed him to be reintroduced to the world professionally, as AC the Gift, which emerged onto the surface as a winner.

He says this led him to become a beast in the music industry. In hopes of not sounding too cocky, he pegs himself as one of the “illest, dopest producers in Orlando and beyond” to have come out of F.I.R.S.T. Institute.