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Meet Joe Begalla

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Begalla.

Joe, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a producer, songwriter, and musical hardware hypebeast.

I grew up in a small town in Central Florida called DeLand and it was this weirdly vibrant artistic community. There were incredible local guitar luthiers, wacky synthesizer nerds, and even the lead singer of the B-52’s, Fred Schneider. It was this oasis in the middle of a cultural desert, but more importantly it was a true community. I always felt loved and respected by everyone, no matter what age, gender, race, or creed. When I was 10, I had gotten a guitar for Christmas and the second I saw it, I had absolutely no doubt that making music was the thing I was meant to do with my life. I have spent every day after that trying to perfect my craft. The people in my town were gracious enough to give me a stage. I was playing guitar in Jazz bands, Folk bands, Church services, doing session work for local Rappers and R&B artists, making music for kickstarters and political campaigns, playing solo shows, hosting massive jam sessions that are nights of legend in Central Florida, and so much more! My experiences there truly shaped how I wanted the rest of my life to be.

When I was 18, I was lucky enough to be accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I had this pipe dream of being a dope jazz guitarist, but I was quickly played out of the room by so many other incredible musicians. I knew going into my second year of school that I had to adapt, so I took a semester abroad in Valencia Spain, which completely changed everything for me. I took a Recording and Mixing class and I soon fell in love with being in the studio and collaborating with others. When I came back to Boston, I took a class taught by Erin Barra, who I credit with being the person who has most positively influenced my professional life. She always pushed me, tore my songs and mixes to shreds (politely), told me the truth when it hurt to hear it sometimes, but I really grew from working with her and I learned to write and produce music with real intention. I started to put myself out there way more. I was playing guitar and keys in three bands, producing music for up and coming artists, playing solo electronic shows, and teaching High School kids how to use Ableton Live. It was incredible! And then the Pandemic hit.

I had just graduated school and just as the world opened up to me, everything closed. I moved back home, the bands I was in all broke up, and my artist friends all lost their ability to compensate me for my work on their music.

I was in a very regressive place until my girlfriend and I got jobs in Los Angeles and moved out here. I would not recommend moving during a pandemic, but it was amazing to feel like we were moving forward in our lives again. Work for me has picked back up and I feel like I’m making the best music I ever have out here. I’m currently working with some incredible artists right now and I can’t wait to grow with them and to see how far we go! In a time where it’s hard to be together, I’m doing my best to rebuild my community in the best and safest way that I can. Since there were no apparent opportunities for a lot of people my age, I wanted to be the one to create them. I’m insanely grateful to have such incredible friends and that they’re all incredible artists and storytellers. My true passion is helping them execute their visions, and I am honored to be a part of their journeys.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Absolutely not. I still don’t feel like I have full control over everything. But that’s a feeling that I’m realizing will never go away. It’s just part of the profession.

I think the biggest struggle was learning that there were no opportunities handed to you, instead you have to create them yourself. My teacher Erin Barra said to me “You are entitled to nothing, but you are empowered to do everything.” Those words totally changed my life. I stopped applying for things, and I started to create things, and I believe that I’m much better off for it. I don’t have any big cuts with any major artists, but if I had just sent my music out to them, they would have ghosted me like they do to the other thousands of producers that hop into their DM’s every day. I’m trying to make the music that would make the artists I love want to work with me. I want to collaborate with friends who haven’t quite made it yet and empowering them to write, to sing, to record. It’s a cool place to be in when nobody cares about you, you can only grow from that. And because I chose to create an opportunity with them, it’s led to so many more cool opportunities opening up to us.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am a professional musician who can always confidently say yes.

Do you need me to play synth on your track? I can say yes to that. Do you need me to mix a song for you? I can say yes to that. Do you need me to program live electronics for your band? I can say yes to that. There is so much that I can say yes to, and I think that’s what really sets me apart from others.

Most of the projects I work on are synth-based. I have a pretty sweet analog synth selection in my home studio, so the people I work with tend to want to go in an electronic, synth-pop, or indie direction.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe good luck only happens when you are prepared for it. So I spend every minute of my life, whether I’m in the studio, meditating, or just playing guitar, preparing for that good luck. I think the pandemic is obviously bad luck for everyone, but I’m excited to see how we can all prepare for the next time there’s good luck in the world again. There were pillars of this music industry that were built too high and needed to crumble, so I’m curious to see how we will rebuild them to create a fair and equal music industry.

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Image Credit:

Shot by Chris DiLeo, Diego Che, and Cassie Plunkett

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