Berklee today

JUN 2015

Berklee today is the official alumni publication of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a forum for contemporary music and musicians.

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Summer 2015 25 posing as well as recording and mixing for the Telemundo and Nickelodeon networks in both the Spanish and English markets. The potential for that work is a result of a course Palis took ram- domly at Berklee. "When I was a student, I just wanted to be in the studio recording and producing. But I needed an elective, so I took a course on audio for visual media. I wasn't interested in the class; I just needed the credits. Now I am working in that area and that class really helped with what I do in audio post, even though this work was never in my plan." Aware of Palis's skills with visual media, Vives asked him to score the video he'd created as the concert opener for his last world tour. Palis cre- ated and mixed the soundtrack accompanying images of the mountains and rivers of Vives's hometown of Santa Marta. Palis relates that after he won the Grammy, his niece said, "It must have been your dream to win a Grammy." He answered, "No, that wasn't my dream. My dream is to wake up everyday and work at what I love doing and be able to support my family. I'm living my dream and feel very fortunate." Awards in the Garage After Toni Braxton's Love, Marriage, & Divorce album won a Grammy in the Best R&B Album of the Year category, Paul Boutin '94, who engineered and mixed the album, was asked by his wife where he would put the Grammy statue. He told her that it would probably end up with the 23 gold, 15 platinum, and 16 multiplatinum records he's collected over the past 20 years working with singer/songwriter and producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. "I don't display my awards, they are all in my garage," Boutin says. "They will be fun to look at later." It's not that Boutin is unappreciative; his philosophy is to remain focused on today rather than yesterday or tomorrow. Boutin, the son of a French father and an American mother says, "A French Babyface fan compiled and sent me the discography of everything I've worked on with Kenny. I never realized how many successful things we've done." The long list includes titles by Céline Dion, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keyes, Jamie Foxx, Ariana Grande, and more. Boutin worked on Braxton's Grammy-winning album over the course of eight months, tracking the entire thing. He ended up feeling like it was his baby." But despite completing many projects with Edmonds, Boutin still had to make a case to be the one to mix it. "Generally, the record label chooses the mixer," Boutin says. "When the mixes started coming back, I was disappointed, I knew they could be better. So without telling him which one he was listening to, I played Kenny the label's mix and mine back to back. Each time he picked mine as the one that sounded better." After three out of three times, Edmonds asked Boutin to mix the album. Boutin was born and raised in France, and to please his fa- ther, he undertook rigorous biological engineering studies at a top French prep school. But knowing his heart was in music, his mother urged him to attend Berklee for college. "I came to Berklee hoping to be a guitarist but got scared when I heard how well the other guitarists were playing," he says. After taking some songwriting courses he decided to major in MP&E. "I fell in love with it," he recalls. "It had the mathematics side that I grew up with and the music side." A few courses shy of graduating in 1994, he decided to join a French friend who had moved to Los Angeles, and sent out résumés to various studios. He got offers to work at two small studios as an assistant engineer before he'd even arrived. "The " A French Babyface fan compiled and sent me the discography of everything I've worked on with Kenny. I never realized how many successful things we've done." — Paul Boutin '94 Sorry sir, only one carrion is permitted! Jon Damian '74 Berklee name has helped me a lot over the years. I didn't realize how much it would help." Boutin kept sending out résumés to the major studios and was fnally hired by Rose Mann-Cherney to be a runner at the famed Record Plant. He observed top en- gineers working on major projects in between runs for lattés. Then, in a fateful scenario, an assistant engineer couldn't make an important session, and Boutin was asked to step in. He worked on the soundtrack to Waiting to Exhale with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The two worked on other proj- ects at the Record Plant over the course of eight months while Edmonds built his own studio, Brandon's Way, nearby. Upon its completion, Brad Gilderman, Edmonds's engineer, hired Boutin as his assistant. Within a year, Boutin was the head engineer for Brandon's Way. Through the years, Boutin and Edmonds have worked with an astonishing array of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, Rascal Flatts, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand. They are currently working with Colbie Caillat, among others. Working with Edmonds is the best of all situations for Boutin. "I have a very French attitude," Boutin says. "Family is more important to me than money. I am not in this to make money, I want to be happy, and be with my family." Edmonds is also a family man, and mostly schedules shifts in the studio of eight or nine hours beginning at noon, and doesn't schedule weekends. I know I'm really lucky," Boutin says. "My other engineer friends are going into the studio at 6:00 P.M. and getting out 12 hours later. I couldn't do that." About the future, Boutin says, "I never look more than a year ahead. I don't really believe in dreams, they can get ahead of you and then you are working based on the dream. I'm more of a practical guy and base things on what I'm doing now. I have a great situation, but understand that it could end if Kenny de- cided to stop doing music. But I'm not going to worry about any- thing like that in advance."

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