Believe that you can do anything.
, Audio Production Instructor
, The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
In 1985, I wrote the lyrics and melody, and provided vocals for a recorded house music song that peaked at #15 on Billboard’s Top Music Charts - Hot 100 Hot Dance Club Play. This song, "Like This," was the beginning of my career as the artist/songwriter, K.Joy. It opened some amazing opportunities, and eventually led me to audio production because I wanted to learn how to properly record and mix my own music.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
As CEO & COO of two independent record labels, I have a professional background in entertainment business. I provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities, challenges, and opportunities of the profession—incorporating stories from my own experiences, giving realistic advice based on challenges I've overcome as an Ai student in the audio production program, as an artist, as an entertainment business professional, connecting students with industry professionals, playing examples of my music to show the difference between good and bad audio production/engineering, bringing in guest speakers, and challenging them to work harder, aspire for greatness, and become the best audio professionals they can be.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In the Internship class I teach for audio, photo, film, and animation students, I give an alternate assignment to prepare them for the interview process as they begin their job searches. There are a series of questions, based on research and typical questions I've heard in my own job interviews. Students answer these questions as if they’re actually interviewing, then come up with their own questions for the interviewer. I believe this assignment builds confidence, communication skills, and professionalism as it forces them to think critically, plan ahead, and always prepare.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Collaboration is vital to preparing students for the real world. At some point in almost every business, people work in teams. Students from various programs contributing to the same project is can improve communication skills, idea exchange, and success.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
I tell my students that perseverance is key to success, so it’s imperative not to give up. With determination, it’ll be easier to succeed in school—and in the real world.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Believe that you can do anything. Say out loud that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Write down your goals as constant reminders. Seek out ways to continually improve yourself and hone your skills. Network and learn from other creative professionals, Stay on the cutting edge of technology in your field. Do all those things and you’ll be virtually unstoppable!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I strive to give, inspire, and truly make a difference.