A Conversation with Neeraj Khajanchi via Skype

Tuesday / June 21, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Berklee Media Lab
150 Massachusetts Avenue
United States

Multi-platinum engineer, Grammy nominee, and Berklee alumnus Neeraj Khajanchi has had the pleasure of working with many industry professionals, including Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Jamie Foxx, Randy Jackson, the Killers, John Legend, Damian Marley, One Republic, Pink, Britney Spears, and Timbaland.

Khajanchi has a diverse international background and education. His family is East Indian, he was born in Los Angeles, California, and he was raised in Japan. At 15, Khajanchi moved back to the U.S. and landed a career-changing high school internship under world-renowned music producer Phil Ramone, who has worked with musical legends Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, and Quincy Jones. His internship was "a huge foot in the doo," Khajanchi says, because it enabled him to get into his highly competitive degree program, and it helped jumpstart his career. After high school, Khajanchi attended Berklee, where he double majored in music production and engineering and music business. Khajanchi committed himself with fierce focus and finished the intense five year program in three years. He graduated with his B.A. in May 2004.

After a much-needed two month vacation, Zoe Thrall, the manager at the legendary Hit Factory recording studio in New York, interviewed Khajanchi for a general assistant position. She hired him the very next day. Within three months, she promoted him to assistant engineer. Khajanchi was the last general assistant promoted before the studio closed. Once it did, he left New York to work at the Hit Factory in Miami, Florida. While in Miami, he received credit on his first major project, Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s new album, Solo (Blue Note), winner of the 2006 Latin Grammy for best Latin jazz album.

Although Khajanchi enjoyed working with the diverse clientele at Miami’s Hit Factory, he sensed more budding opportunities out west. Khajanchi’s instincts were correct. Not even six months after his relocation to Las Vegas, Nevada, Khajanchi landed his second major project working alongside the Killers on their sophomore album, Sam's Town (Island Def Jam). Before the album was even released, it proved to be highly anticipated. iTunes declared it the #1 pre-ordered album thus far.

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