Jett Galindo B.M. '12 is one of the most sought-after mastering engineers in the industry, and it’s no wonder with her incredible work ethic. We managed to catch her in the studio between sessions and ask her some questions about how she ended up where she is today.
Galindo was born in Quezon City, Philippines, to a family of musicians. In addition to being musically inclined, she was also encouraged by her father to develop an interest in computers, and from a young age, she tinkered with web development and fixing computers. These two aspects of her life (music and technology) stayed separate until Galindo toured the United States in 2004 with her college choral group and met a Berklee alumna who happened to be a former member of her choir. When she learned about Berklee's sound engineering program, she knew then that she needed to see what it was all about. “I was just sure. I was never sure of anything until I decided that I was going to be a sound engineer.”
Back in the Philippines, she was accepted as an intern by a local multimedia facility that ran a recording studio. With sound engineering being a male-dominated industry, Galindo almost didn't get this opportunity because the senior sound engineer originally refused to train women. He agreed to train Galindo assuming Jett was a male name; it was too late for him to change his mind when he discovered it isn't. With a lot of hard work and hours in the studio, Galindo proved her worth. She ended up working there for four years, until it was time for her to begin her studies at Berklee in 2009.
When Galindo arrived in Boston, she was sure that her path was either going to be in music production and engineering (MP&E) or nothing at all. She decided to make the most of her time at Berklee by volunteering as an engineer for daytime recording ensembles and Five-Week Summer Performance Program ensembles. She was also one of the few students whose recording gear was all portable, so she didn’t need musicians to come to her home studio; she could go to them, which is important for recording classical music. “To really get your foot in the door as a recording engineer, you don’t just need your diploma. You need connections,” Galindo says. She spent her time at Berklee wisely, making connections wherever she could and racking up tons of experience.
Doug Sax and the Bakery
When Galindo graduated in 2012, she wasn’t expecting to become a full-time mastering engineer, although she did love mastering and did some of it back in the Philippines. “The MP&E faculty is just amazing, and they do all they can to be available to graduating students and help them get their start,” she shares. After she graduated, Rob Jaczko, chair of the MP&E Department, encouraged her to apply as an intern at Avatar Studios in New York. She sent her application in twice before they saw it, and she ended up interning there for three months and catching the attention of Jerry Barnes, the bass player for Chic. While at Avatar, she worked with Nile Rodgers, Roberta Flack, and the Brazilian band Jota Quest, among others.
Galindo worked at Avatar full time with Barnes until she got an email from her former professor Jonathan Wyner about a notable mastering facility in California looking for a right-hand man for Doug Sax. Wyner recommended her for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so she moved out to Ojai, California, to work with Sax for three years until Sax’s passing in 2015. Galindo later moved to Los Angeles and opened the Bakery with colleague Eric Boulanger.
Advice for Young Alumni
Galindo passed along a lot of great advice for students and alumni alike, and it would be a disservice not to include them all here.
“Do not take for granted your stay at Berklee. I can’t stress it enough: it’s such a rare opportunity to be surrounded by amazing players, amazing musicians, and top-notch facilities. You can have fun, you can party, but just make the most out of your stay. Your portfolio after leaving the college is way more important than your diploma.”
“Once you’re an alumni, the Berklee network is going to be an integral part of your career. A lot of people take it for granted that not only are you all in the community together, you all grow at the same time. The support system is there, whatever step of your career you’re in.”
“Get involved and volunteer as much as you can because it comes back to you. Music is such a communal experience. It’s something that has to be shared. It’s just good karma, and it’s going to get back to you, too.”