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Conversations with Don Hulio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Don Hulio.

Hi Don, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Chicago, IL where I came up with a heavy amount of musical influence. Growing up on the south side, I watched my dad and his brothers start a blues band called Main Street where they would play at local spots around the city. Seeing my father play ignited me to pick up and learn to play piano and trombone. I started playing in the church and also played in the school band from elementary through high school. I was 19 when my cousin taught me how to use my first music program, Reason. From there, my cousin and I started an indie record label based in Chicago, IL. After a few years of recording, producing, and managing local artists while starting other ventures together, we decided to go our separate ways. That was when I enrolled in audio school at SAE Institute in Chicago. There I learned how to engineer and basic audio signal flow. In 2012 I met Chris Classick, owner of Classick Studios where I was working on getting an unreleased beat tape mastered. A few years later, I began working under him as an intern. I eventually worked my way up and he hired me as a full-time engineer. I worked there for several years before making the decision to move to LA, where I have continued with my growth as an engineer and a creative overall.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My music career started as a way to deal with the passing of my mother. I used music as a coping mechanism and beyond that trying to make music into a career is difficult as well. During the time I started, in 2010, I was engulfed in a hustle culture. Grinding every day, not sleeping just to chase after my dreams. Over time I had to learn the balance of personal and family relationships while pursuing music.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
By trade, I am a recording engineer, mainly recording instruments and vocals. These days, however, a lot of artists will walk into a session with beats and two tracks.

I am known for being knowledgeable about my position and role in the studio. I am also able to facilitate a session no matter how big or small. I make sure creatives have the right vibes, and I am known for my professionalism and reliability overall.

I am most proud that I was able to turn my passion into a career. Over the past few years, I have been a part of some amazing projects for some dope artists. I am happy to still be creating for my Classick Studios family in LA, including Phoelix, Smino, and Jean Deaux. I am also proud to have worked with Leana Waithe’s label, “Hillman Grad Records” and Issa Rae’s record label “Raedio”.

My mindset and my experience allow me to be extremely patient with artists and producers. I have the ability to create to my fullest potential no matter who steps into the room.

What makes you happy?
Happiness is found within.

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Image Credits:

Nick Davis Charlie Copeland Nos

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