Chris Jay is an instructor for our Recording Arts & Show Production program at F.I.R.S.T. Institute. In this video, we go behind the scenes to learn about Chris’s start in the industry and what drew him to our school.

Common Beginnings

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.

Tom Dowd

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.”

A Lengthy Resume

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

He also works on the side for EA Sports on their NBA and Madden videogames, in addition to being a member of the recording academy. He’s even flying to LA later this year to attend the Grammy’s.

Falling into Teaching

Chris has been teaching recording arts intermittently for 20 years – and he’s been with F.I.R.S.T. for over a quarter of that time.

He’s found a home at F.I.R.S.T. because it feels like family to him. The faculty and students collaborate and feed off one another – he gets just as much from the students as he gives to them.

Advice for Newcomers

Chris says the biggest advice he has to people new in the industry is to never give up. Starting off can be daunting, but with determination and time, doors will open and you will find a place in the music business.