March 15, 2023

Mix and Mastering Multi-Platinum Records, Grammy Nominations, & Award-Winning Films | Chris Jay Faculty Story

Here’s How Chris Jay got his start

Chris first became interested in the music industry the same way many people do – he started a band in hopes of becoming a rockstar. He couldn’t afford to record his own albums, so he booked an internship with a recording company in exchange for some studio time.

This eventually led to him traveling with Warped Tour, a punk music festival. He worked his way from the ground up, carrying equipment, running cables, and learning from the sound engineers.

During this time, Chris met recording legend Tom Dowd. The time he spent working with Tom is something he says he’ll never forget – not just technicalities but also the personal side of the business. “I used to be a very shy person,” Chris recalls. “He was not shy at all. That made me realize I had to come out of my shell.”

Fast Forward and Now…

Who hasn’t dreamed of stumbling across a forgotten treasure trove full of precious metals? Chris Jay has found his own goldmine – he has been awarded multiple Gold and Platinum records for his work in the music industry! Through hard work and hustle, this recording arts instructor at F.I.R.S.T Institute is living proof that success in this industry can be yours if you put your heart into it – all while collaborating with some seriously impressive names from the world of music!

From Recording and Mixing to The Art of Mastering

Chris Jay’s introduction into the audio world started with a passion for helping artists track and mix their records in the studio. He found joy in assisting other creatives in bringing their ideas and concepts to life. It wasn’t until one of his clients asked him to master a song he had recorded and mixed that Chris discovered his passion for this elusive artform. “I never wanted to be a mastering engineer, ever, but when I saw the art of mastering, it became my love,” Chris states. Little did he know, this moment would define his career in the audio industry.

Turning Sound Into Gold

Back in the day, Chris Jay wasn’t one to make a big fuss about not having a Gold or Platinum record. The opportunity to practice a craft he loved and work with great artists was his reward. “I enjoy giving an artist their work and having them be excited about the final product. That was my favorite part,” Chris explains. However, his unstoppable passion wouldn’t escape the notice of the RIAA for long. After years of hard work, the Gold and Platinum records finally started coming in. To top that off, one of his works earned Koffee a Grammy nomination! “Funny story, a student of mine was the one who brought my Grammy nomination to my attention,” said Chris laughingly, “they came into class congratulating me, and I had no idea why.” But this wouldn’t be the only time Chris would be awarded for his efforts. “Right now, I’ve been awarded eight Gold, two Platinum, and one Double-Platinum record,” Chris shares. His most recent Platinum records come from his work on NBA Youngboy’s song “I Am Who They Say I Am” and Fredo Bang’s Song “Top.” 

Taking His Talents To The Silver Screen & Gaming Consoles 

Aside from mastering audio for recording artists, Chris Jay has had the opportunity to put his skills to use in the film and video game industries. One project Chris was extremely excited to participate in was the Anthony Hopkins and Anne Hathaway-led motion picture Armageddon Time, which was released in theaters in 2022. “The director James Gray, who I’m a giant fan of, literally told me: ‘I am depending on you to make sure everything sounds great.’” That was one of my career’s greatest moments, ” Chris expressed. He also gained the opportunity to work on a game that is in development with Epic Games. 

Fun Fact: Chris has worked with the Beach Boys, the Allman Brothers, Missy Elliott, Ja Rule, OutKast, Lynyrd Skynyrd, LL Cool J, and more. 

Finding Success in a Creative Industry

When it comes to carving out a path for oneself in a creative industry, there are a few key elements necessary to be successful: passion, dedication, and continued education. Chris Jay was quick to let us know that he springs on any opportunity that comes his way: “I never turn down work, each opportunity leads to the next.” For Chris, no project is too small. “I’d advise anyone starting out to take every opportunity seriously,” he says, “as it can lead to bigger jobs down the line.” He was also very forward with how staying up-to-date with technology matters and how having a formal education in the audio field can make or break a career. “Keeping up with the new technology is a must,” Chris advises, “if you want to work in any tech field, you will constantly be learning, and having a formal education in this stuff is essential nowadays.”

If you are someone interested in a career in audio and would love to learn from an industry professional like Chris Jay, Get more information about our Recording Arts & Show Production program.