If you heard that 6 or 7 people got fired within a month’s time, would you be intimidated about landing that job position? Not Andrew Dawson.
After hearing Kanye West had axed those engineers, Dawson was not at all intimidated. In fact his name popped up on a list of producers, engineers, and mixers that were possible candidates to work with West.
“Kanye and I started working together about halfway through “The College Dropout”,” Dawson mentions of West’s debut album in 2004.
According to Dawson, he and West “just started working together”, and after the first day, things were all good. So was the next day, the next week, the next month… until 7 years later, Dawson has become West’s lead mixer and engineer, not to mention his right-hand man, when it comes to the technical and creative aspects of his music.
“He’s awesome to work for and I love working with him,” says Dawson. “The thing with Kanye — it has made me a better engineer working with him.”
“I’m the one who is responsible for making it (music) sound the way he wants it to,” he adds. “He and I figure out the kind of stuff he wants.”
With being a triple threat — mixing, engineering, and music production — Dawson has been known to “work on projects that have meaning”, thus his philosophy overall is “I’ll do anything possible to make the song sound right.”
Dawson’s love for music stems from a young age. Growing up in Minneapolis, Dawson was a classically-trained piano player, with his mother taking him to lessons since age 5. Belting out the tunes of Bach and Chopin, Dawson played until about age 12 or 13, when his taste in music began to alter.
“I listened to albums and it was really cool, I loved the way things came out,” Dawson explained of his fascination with music compilation from start to finish. “When I was in high school, I would sneak out early…I had enough credits to graduate. I worked out of a recording studio interning and being a coffee boy.”
That passion didn’t stop there. Straight from high school, Dawson made his way to Boston, where he attended Berklee College of Music, which he soon left after three years.
“I got a job offer at Sony Music Studios in New York City,” Dawson says, of the well-known facility that closed its doors in 2007. “I met a lot of great clients, and after working for Sony for several years, I went [on] as a freelancer.”
Going on as a freelancer could be “kind of nerve-wracking”, as Dawson says, for a 23-year-old at that time.
Yet, Dawson had enough faith and confidence in himself to make it out on his own. Using word-of-mouth, Dawson put himself out there and has since been very successful at having a wide range of clients across various musical genres, many of which he remains in close contact. From Coldplay to Destiny’s Child, 30 Seconds to Mars to Nas and Jay-Z, Dawson’s ever-expanding list of contacts remains strong.
Thanks to Dawson’s work, his clients have hit the top of the Billboard charts, reached gold and/or platinum status, and more than 15 to 20 albums he’s worked on have won Grammy awards, including West’s.
“I talked to Common the other day,” adds Dawson. “It’s a very personal relationship with my clients. “
For more info on Andrew Dawson, check out www.soundeq.com
By: Erika Gradecki -firstname.lastname@example.org