We had the good fortune of connecting with Carlo Villegas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carlo, why did you pursue a creative career?
Music has always been with me since I was young. I began playing piano, guitar, and drums during my middle school days. However, I didn’t start pursuing music until the beginning of 2018. I was jumping from college to college, switching my major after I graduated from high school. I got to the point where I wanted to try producing and engineering music. Towards the end of 2018, I enrolled at Full Sail University for the Recording Arts program. That school inspired me to keep learning and creating. I’ve met many great people there, from students to Grammy-Award-winning producers and engineers. Today, I am grateful to be taught by these award-winning engineers and have them say nothing but great things about the quality of my work.
There was always something about working with people who are passionate about their art. Working with new artists is always the best because it is challenging. It also allows me to refresh everything I’ve learned. Knowing the artists’ stories is one thing but having them trust me to turn an idea into a physical product is a great accomplishment for me. Watching the progress grow from nothing has always inspired me to shoot for the next furthest star. What makes my job interesting is that there will always be challenges because every song I’ve worked on is different. The last EP I’ve worked on with Tonyajae called “Sweet Talk” was a learning experience because every song had its own personality, but still kept the theme of the entire project. Every artist has a unique sound and as a sound engineer and a producer, it is my job to bring out the best of my abilities and qualities.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Going to Full Sail University was the best decision I’ve made. That school taught me everything I need to know about creating and engineering music. One of the greatest things about my program is being able to use the studio, which houses industry-standard gear. I’ve used that studio to mix TonyaJae’s music before completing it at my home studio. That multi-million-dollar studio was also used by Grammy-Award-winning engineers, producers, and artists. Having a chance to talk to those individuals and pick their brains was an honor. Not only that, some of my professors are well-known engineers who have won Grammys or have their projects on the top of the Billboard Charts. They have also helped me with making my projects meet industry-quality standards.
As a music producer and sound engineer, having a unique sound is important in gaining eyes and ears. Believe it or not, creating music is challenging for me. Sometimes stressful when the song isn’t feeling right. The one thing that motivates me is having the artist in the room so that I can understand their ideas and turn them into what they expect and more. It is also inspiring for both of us to keep creating. An important lesson I’ve learned throughout my career is to keep things simple. Sometimes, adding too many things to a song can sound too crowded or distracting. I’ve learned that natural-sounding songs that are great are always simple and as powerful.
Music has always been a big part of me. I find it as a coping mechanism and a stress-reliever from all my life problems. It’s different when I love my job. It’s gotten me through difficult and dark times and serves as a distraction from everything. I wouldn’t know what I would be doing if I hadn’t picked up this hobby as a career. It may be fun but it is difficult to make a living off of it. I didn’t want a 9 to 5 job or something where I would have to report to a person who’s above. I wanted a job that is enjoyable when I work till 5 am and not complain about it. The fact that my clients trust me with their art makes me appreciate them a lot more than they deserve. That makes me work 1000% harder and provide their perfection in their song. Not only that, I get to see the journey throughout their music and it is definitely inspiring.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I usually find myself shopping at a mall or something. Someone would have to control me to not shop and spend too much. I would take them out for coffee at Better Buzz Coffee Roasters since they’re only exclusive to San Diego. Then, I would take them to Balboa Park and the Zoo since those are just a couple of the many big attractions in the city. For when we get hungry, I would take us to Tacos El Gordo for the best tacos I have ever tasted in San Diego! If anything, I’m the type of guy who loves driving. I can drive for hours and end up in LA. The music scene is great. Plus, if my friend is interested in seeing great recording studios and meeting legendary engineers and producers, LA is the place. But to top it all off, Carlsbad Strawberry Company is really cool if you love strawberries. I know I do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My friends and family were always there supporting me. But, everything started from the people over at New Waves Studios Guam. Rajiv Daryanani always saw the creative side in me and encouraged me to take on challenges and try new things. Raymond “Iamrayjohn” Barcinas was the first person I have ever worked with. He told me that he knew whatever I was doing before isn’t going to work out and I will end up creating music as a career. I can truthfully and gladly say that he’s right. Without him, I wouldn’t be making music or connecting with great people. Tonya “TonyaJae” Ascura is the one person who got me where I’m at today. She’s the one who pushed me out of my comfort zone. Our amazing projects together are only one of a million little things that makes a friendship great. She is a great artist with a great voice and a very creative mind who really cares about her art. Without her, I don’t know what I’d be doing or where I’d be.
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5uGVxZlgkVq6dToygHTNmk?si=O-sTmxvlRNiF8C1puNFgBg&dl_branch=1 iTunes / Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/carlo-v/1513051848
Sharnae Leones, Kira Schaubeck, Baiheng Wu