Interview Jocelyn Martinez by Sandy de la Bretoniere
Can you tell our readers your name and where you are from?
Hi everyone! My name is Jocelyn Martinez and I was born in Queens, NY. Currently I am living in Miami, FL
Where, when and how did you start your music career?
I’ve always had a passion and a great love for music. I started playing guitar when I was 11 in New York.Then my dad and I moved to Miami when I was 12. While in High School I switched over to playing the Bass Guitar and I started playing with several bands. The only problem was that nobody would show up for practice. I usually ended up alone with the producer and the sound engineer. Thats when I realized that the only way to make it in the music industry with a steady job is to become an engineer.
I went to the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and I took my first Sound class which was taught by Brian Campbell. He was the first to really expose me to all the different opportunities there are to becoming a sound engineer. This career isn’t just about music it is all about sound and how it can be manipulated to make it sound good to your ears.
Shortly after taking his class I moved with some friends to Virginia Beach, VA to get away from my party life in the clubs of Miami. I started to do some research to find any sound engineering schools near Virginia Beach and the only school I could find was 3 hours away. Luckily I came across a website called recordingconnection.com and they stated that they can provide you with an internship in any studio in your area.
That is how I ended up working at Master Sound Studios in Virginia Beach. I was there for almost a month before I found out who was recording in Studio A. I always saw fancy cars outside but I didn’t know what was going on.
Then one day the owner of the studio told me that he had a surprise for me. He was going to introduce me to the people in the main studio. Then the next thing I know, as I am sitting in Studio B, I notice the door open. All I could see was the bright sunshine lighting up the silhouette of a person and his shiny diamond earrings. Who was it? Pharrell Williams had just walked in through the door. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was the best producer around and I was about to have the unbelievable experience of working with him. From that moment on, my life changed forever.
You have worked with the best in the industry can you tell us more about it ?
While getting into this industry was a little easy for me, staying in it required more of a sacrifice than many people are willing to do. During my first year as an intern with the Neptunes, I had the pleasure of working with a variety of artists. Pharrell actually showed me how he produced the song Grindin’ for Clipse. He took his time to show me some of his tricks. He allowed me to sit in on his sessions and sit next to his engineer Drew so I could learn how to become a great engineer.
The best time I had there was when Snoop Dog came by for a weekend. I was lucky enough to be there while they came up with the song Beautiful and a few other songs. I got to know Snoop’s engineer Dave Aron who a few years later taught me how to mix a live concert.
After working with the Neptunes for a year a friend of mine told me that he knew Teddy Riley and that he was looking for an engineer. I knew I would never get a full-time job with the Neptunes so I was ready to start with the next phase of my life. I didn’t know who Teddy Riley was until I walked into Future Recording Studios and saw all the multi-platinum records he had hanging on his wall. I could not believe I was going to work with someone who had worked with Michael Jackson, N’Sync, Blackstreet and countless others.
I helped them record Blackstreet’s album Level II. I am even in one of the videos Wizzy Wow which we filmed in Canada. During my time there, all of his engineers quit. I was the only one left. Luckily they both taught me enough so I was able to take over and have countless sleepless nights working around the clock recording many songs.Teddy Riley is an amazing artist. His musical talents are beyond anything I had ever seen. I learned more from him than anyone else. It was amazing to see him pick up any instrument and play it flawlessly. It was an honor to work with him.
During this time I was homeless, living out of my car. I would sleep 3 hours in the vocal booth every other day and showered in a near by recreation center’s public shower. Timbaland’s bodyguard offered me an opportunity to move to Charlotte, North Carolina where he had a huge house that no one was living in. I would have it all to myself and he knew a few studios that I could work at where they would pay me more than I was currently making.
Of course I said yes! I started working at SounDesign Studios where I worked with many artists and I was able to fine tune my own sound. During this stage of my life, I had time to start using the tricks I had learned from the best producers to good use. I started experimenting making music and writing songs. I was kicked out of the huge house I was in and again I was living in the studio but this time I slept on the couch and I was taking a shower at the YMCA.
Another great opportunity came along where I met up with Snoop Dog and Dave Aron again. They were on tour and had a show in Charlotte.
This is when Dave told me to come by so he could show me what he does to setup for a concert. I was amazed at how much fun it is to be the Front of House Engineer. For 4 years I had been recording and mixing inside the studio. This was the first time I actually got to feel what it was like to see and hear how the fans felt about the music.
It was amazing to see David add all his effects to Snoop’s voice and how the music sounded so good that everyone was just dancing and having a great time. At this point I knew I wanted to have this experience.
The very next day I was offered such an opportunity. I was working with Calvin Richardson who is a Grammy nominated singer. He was going to go on tour with Nelly and the St. Lunatics. Since he liked my work and mixing skills he asked me to join him. When he asked I said, “I literally learned how to do this yesterday!”
I was more than ready to go. We did 28 cities in 6 weeks. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. That experience allowed me to travel almost all over the continental U.S. I have many stories about the tour but there was one day that stood out. The highlight of that tour was going back to my home state of New York and standing on the stage in Radio City Music Hall.
When I was little I had gone to see a few shows there. I never imagined that I would be lucky enough to stand on the same stage as all the amazing talent that have been there throughout the years. That same day I also met up with Franklynn at Quad studios which was the studio Tupac was shot at. I was able to work with one of the most amazing song writers Betty Wright.
When I flew back to Charlotte exhausted from this amazing tour, I came back to nothing. The studio was being used by an artist and since I had been sleeping on the couch I had to go back to my car and sleep in the freezing cold. It was interesting how I was so successful in my career yet I was sleeping in my car nearly freezing to death.
A few months later we met with an artist named Tabitha aka Big Berd. I was amazed at her rapping and harmonizing skills. Her sound was like Nicki Minaj but many years before Nicki Minaj came out. I helped record and produce many songs for her. Again at this time I was homeless so the owner of the studio put both of us in one of his houses and we started recording her album non-stop.
During this time we worked with all sorts of producers and songwriters. We worked with Wiz from the Buchanans, Mark Sparks and countless others. When I worked with Mark Sparks I set my personal record of working 67 hours in a row. During that time Mark would create a beat then Slim the Mobster would write and record his amazing lyrics. Then the cycle would start again. The creativity was flowing so much we didn’t even notice the time go by.
After 3 years of working at this studio, 2 years of recording, producing, mixing and finalizing Big Berd’s songs to shop to the labels, the studio was robbed. All the music we had worked on was gone. All the equipment was torn up and taken. We were devastated.
Thankfully another wonderful opportunity popped up. I was offered a job in another brand new studio called NV’US Entertainment. They offered me so much money that I could finally afford to rent my own apartment. I was never homeless again. This studio was setup in a house. The second floor had a pre-production room and the main studio. We had a few artists that lived in the house next door so it would make it easier for them to continually create songs.
We worked with a variety of artist such as Rick Ross and Young Buck. We had executives from Def Jam, Universal, Warner Bros and a few others offering us deals. Since the owner had a nice amount of money he held out on signing anything until the right deal would come by but it never did. With my luck again the wonderful studio I worked in for about 3 years was robbed. Again, all the music and equipment gone.
So what do I do? I moved back to Miami with 10 different studio jobs lined up waiting for me.
The year was 2009. The recession had begun and by the time I actually moved down none of the studios had any business. This time I was living back with my father so at least I wasn’t homeless again.
I worked at a few different studios trying to make a living but I was lucky if I made $500 a month. With no where to work I ended up working for an Audio Visual company as a sound engineer for corporate events. I enjoyed the work. I was still a sound engineer but I actually got to learn video and lighting as well. While I was on tour I became fascinated by lighting so I was so excited to learn how to do the same effects myself. One of my co-workers told me that he knew Brian Campbell. He was my Sound Professor from the Art Institute. He told me he had a studio and he was looking for an engineer.
I was working so much at that time that I did not have the time to meet with him. Once I quit that job I finally had time to work in the studio and again I was back to making music. How exciting! He actually remembered me from his class from almost 15 years earlier. He had a few talented artists that he was working with and I was excited to be part of the team. We became business partners and I became a proud owner of a music studio!
Infrasonic Studios. It had it all. Large room to record full bands, Pre-production room, Video Editing Suite, Green Screen, Voice Over recordings and 3 Radio Stations. We have a digital publishing label where we can place music on Itunes, Spotify and so on. We had several artists but when it came down to it no one was serious about it and or they didn’t have the money to pay for our professional quality. So I sold my half. I purchased a nice Condo and now we only have the smaller studio and radio station going. Since I finally own my own place I have created a studio in my house and now I can have the flexibility to work from my house producing, recording, mixing and mastering any and all kinds of music.
I finally reached the point in my life where no one can make me homeless and no one can take away my ability from working in a studio. I finally have everything I need in the comfort of my own house.
WOW that was an amazing story…
What if you could choose any artist to work with, who would that be and why?
If I could work with anyone it would be Björk. She is my all time favorite artist. I absolutely love her voice and how she uses it. She is always exploring new ideas involving technology and nature. I just went to Iceland which is where she is from and totally understood why she loves nature so much. I also just saw her do a DJ set during Art Basel last month. It was the first time I ever saw her in person and I actually cried. I never understood why people cried when they saw their favorite artist but I finally understood. Being around famous people and just looked at them as regular people, I was just overwhelmed with emotion.
To think that the person who has influenced me was right there. The only thing that I wish was that I could have heard her sing in person.
Bjork is one of my favorites aswell! what projects are you working on at the moment and what to expect from Jocelyn Martinez in future?
Currently I am working on my music. I am revisiting my old songs and ideas and mixing and mastering them so I can start making videos for them.
This year I have decided to work on myself. I finished building my studio at home and I want to start producing more music. I also just bought a GoPro so I am going to start documenting my life so people could see all the amazing things that happen. My ultimate goal in life (besides working with Björk) is to make music for video games and or Japanese anime. One day I am going to write a book about my life. So many things have happened to me and I never quit. I want people to know that life is not easy but if you work hard enough, anything is possible.
Do yo also have other activities next to producing music?
Besides being a sound engineer I love traveling and exploring this beautiful world. I also enjoy playing video games. I have the PS4 with VR and I love to unwind and play.
Do you have good tips for those who are starting in this industry?
I have a lot of advise to give anyone who is starting out. The main thing is that if you are not passionate enough and are not willing to sacrifice everything in your life to become successful, then don’t even try. As you can see from my story I had many ups and downs. The only thing I truly care about is the wonderful experiences I had and the amazing people I met that helped me get to the next level.
Is there more interesting info about Jocelyn Martinez our audience should know of?
There are too many stories to tell. I will need to write a book one day and start from day 1 of my life.
Where can we listen to your music productions online? and how can people reach you?
You can see the latest songs I’ve done on youtube:
I am working on my own production youtube channel which I should have up sometime this year. In the meantime you can follow me on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ndfrenz/
You can also email me at Ndfrenz@gmail.com
I’d like to do a shoutout to Mrwilsonmusic! He is from the Netherlands and is a great R&B producer who just signed to Keiser. Checkout his music at Mrwilsonmusic.com!