Student Profile: Jonathan Lewis
Like the recording studio he's interning at, Boston native Jonathan Lewis is a transplant to the West Coast who's there to stay. Through Berklee's L.A. Internship Program, Lewis spent the fall semester working at Sanctum Sound's Santa Monica office, an outgrowth of the company's successful Boston base. Sanctum has worked with such varied artists as Stevie Wonder, Wyclef Jean, Ludacris, My Chemical Romance, and JoJo.
What was a highlight of your internship?
I ran into the CEO of the company yesterday, Paul Rich, and we just started talking. He's from Boston; we hit it off very well. He said he and his wife actually put up a number of students when they first get to L.A. until they find a job. He really looks out for students coming from the Boston area.
It sounds like you're getting some serious networking done.
The closer it gets to having to move back, it seems, the more opportunities I'm getting to just connect with folks. This one was just by chance! The head engineer, Gary Lux, sent me to get a couple Cokes for him from the refrigerator and Paul Rich's office was adjacent to the refrigerator, so I popped my head in to say hi. The next thing you know, he says, "Pull up a chair," and we're talking for twenty minutes.
What do you do day to day?
It varies. Because the L.A. studio is kind of new, it's not as hectic as the Boston studio, so I get to sit in with Gary. He shows me tons of things. Today he's going to help me mix one of my songs for my webpage. I'm glad it's not so hectic, because there is some down time when I can sit down and learn things.
The majority of my time spent here is focusing on mixing or engineering, various aspects of music production. On some occasions I get to go into the live production room, where they have a lot of different keyboards set up and sound modules and drum machines, and I get to create new music in there.
How did you get involved with Sanctum?
I had another internship before this that didn't work out. Then I spoke with [Berklee's] L.A. Intern Services Coordinator, Justine Taormino, and she told me about Sanctum. I interviewed, and the following day I started working for Sanctum. Since then it's been great. I do work hard here, but it doesn't feel like I'm working hard, because it's fun and I'm learning so much.
What are your plans after graduation?
While I finish out the remainder of school I'm going to try to work at the Sanctum Boston site. And I'll move out here once I'm done, because this is where the industry is for music production.
The Berklee name carries a lot of weight out here. You still have to have all your stuff together, but it seems like when you tell someone you're a student at Berklee, automatically they're pretty impressed. Growing up in Boston I knew Berklee was a huge deal, but it was local, so I thought every town had a school like this. But now that I've come out here I'm starting to realize how much influence it can have in getting a job. So it gave me a renewed sense of pride in being a Berklee student.
Jonathan's Top 5 Music Producers
- The Neptunes
- Rodney Jerkins
- Swiss Beatz
- The Underdogs