Alumni Spotlight: Michael Mouton
We caught up with Michael Mouton, one of our March 2021 alumni, to hear how is it going in the industry. Doing everything from live sound, gigging and working in studio, most notably he has openend as a musical act for a few south African Artists including Joshua na die reën and doing live sound for @willinleyy
What brought you to Abbey Road Institute Johannesburg?
Abbey Road Studios is such an iconic music studio, and I always had a passion and love for music, so ideally I wanted to end up working in a music studio. Eventually they started an institute, and I was all in. The other pivotal point that brought me to ARI, was the percentage of graduates / alumnus that ended up working in the music industry is excellent.
What were your goals initially, and what did you expect from the course?
I expected less than I received (I really do dream big), which shows that the course is absolutely brilliant. My goals before coming into ARI, was to be an artist, to be able to record what I create, and not depend on someone else regarding music production. A few weeks into the course, my goals/dreams really enlarged. It’s now still to be a music artist, but alongside it, to start my own music studio, to produce music & write songs for other artists. Most important of all, to really capture the feeling & magic behind music.
What was it like starting out in the live music industry, and what are some of the challenges you face?
For me personally, bit frustrating playing in pubs when you really want the bigger venues where people listen attentively, but that will come in time. After covid, the budget for live music is less than before, but people are hungry for live music. Somewhat a catch 22, but it’s slowly picking up again. With lots of local talent, the competition is strong and you have to diversify your income with gigs, which include performing self and live sound as well as studio work. You do not necessarily need an agent or manager to start out, but definitely something to look for in the future.
Do you have any original music out on digital streaming services?
Very happy to announce that my first single will be dropping the 10th of December
What is your advice for young musicians that don’t know where to start?
- Professionalism is REALLY important
- How to steward money well, because they come in large amounts but not as often as a salary.
- Never neglect talent based on one performance when it comes to collaborating with other artists.
- Most valuable personally, never compromise your music/sound/morals for money.
- Never say no for a gig, but never let them take you for granted; (“come and play for experience”)
Any last words?
The more freelancing work I receive in the music industry, whether it’s live sound engineering / producing / studio engineer, the more I realize what a huge boost Abbey Road Institute gives you as a postgraduate. Upon that opportunity lies the responsibility that you now have as an ambassador for the Institute, which is nothing but a privilege.
Check out Michael’s social media here.