By Shirley Ju
July XX, 2018
STILL NEED PHOTOS
Nowadays, it’s rare to see a strong, confident black female taking on the role of an engineer, especially in the studio. Insert Audra The Rapper, who hails from Virginia, lived in New York, and now finds her new home in sunny Los Angeles. In addition to her many talents of acting, singing, songwriting, producing, rapping, she also wears the hat of a Recording Engineer.
A Recording Engineer operates and sets up the recording equipment necessary to capture and shape the sound of an project. For Audra, she records, edits, and mixes sound through the artist’s choice of microphones, setting levels and sound manipulation techniques.
Pulling up to her crib in Studio City and sitting in on a real studio session was inspiring, to say the least. Audra sat on the couch with two friends from the UK, who had the best accents. They were playing records and vibing as if it were a real studio in NoHo. There was one record that Audra played, which she wrote for an artist in Sweden. The energy was similar to a blend of The Chainsmokers and Alessia Cara — as she envisioned the record selling out stadiums overseas.
As the song kept playing, I saw it too. I saw the potential for the record to touch lives. This was a moment. As she set up her portable mic set up for another artist who just walked inside, I asked Audra what attracted her to the career choice of an engineer.
“I’m an Alpha, and with being an Alpha I try to eliminate all middle men. Being an engineer helped me do that. You’re either gonna do the work and make sure you can articulate yourself in a way that people can understand, or do it yourself. Nothing’s ever mutual, no one can ever see something how you see it in your head.”
Audra has actually been engineering since the young age of 13. She then went to school for it, majoring in Music Business and Production in college, along with her Communications major. When asked how difficult it was to start, she responds, “That shit all goes hand in hand. When you want it all you do it all.”
Back in New York, Audra was already living out her passions in music. It was the show, Sisterhood of Hip Hop, that brought her to the city of Angels. It was a wrap ever since. She quickly realized how much LA was nurturing her creative side in ways the snow in New York couldn’t. Continuing the grind as an independent artist, Audra is a firm believer in karma.
“Every time I get a little of my efforts reciprocated back from the universe, I invest. Whether it’s investing in my craft, whether it’s investing in my real estate, whether it’s investing in something that I know will not go in vain to my future, I make it with a strong support system that inspires me, because it’s always gonna be deeper than rap. It’s gonna be deeper than music for certain.”
She adds, “Speaking financially, I look at the artists who inspire me or the artists who are crème de la crème. None of them would be where they are if it was only for the musical pursuits. Like if Diddy didn’t have Ciroc. If Diddy didn’t have Revolt. If Jay-Z didn’t have Rocawear, and Roc-A-Fella, and Roc Nation, and Live Nation. If Beyonce didn’t have Parkwood and Ivy Park. It’s all about what you can do with the platform that music has gotten you. I make it as an independent artist by thinking more than just being an independent artist.”