Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Rodriguez (Nomad Grey).
Hi Justin, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I remember the day as if it was yesterday, the sun was shining, and the summer breeze was blowing in Upland Ca. Staring out the window I looked with dismay due to a break in my arm caused by an accident that had occurred while playing soccer. At 15/16 years of age; I thought my life was over. While looking out the window wondering what I was to do with a big bulky cast that weighed the equivalent of a ton of bricks, I felt a familiar buzz resonating from within my pocket; As I took out my phone, I saw that it was my stepsister Nicole calling me to ask if I was able to hang out with her and her new boyfriend Marco. With nothing else to do, I happily said yes and awaited their arrival. Since we all didn’t have any money being that we were just some broke high school kids we decided to go to Chaffey high school which resided across the street from her home. Although I was a bit hesitant since I had never been Nicole reassured me that many friends of theirs went to ride bikes or skateboard, and I agreed to go. It was at that moment without even knowing it that my life had changed forever. Walking through the gates I could make out what appeared to be two kids sitting on a bench and heard the all too familiar bass drum and crisp snare of a hip hop/rap song. However, as we got closer, I realized that no actual words were playing just the instrumental itself. I had never in my life heard or thought about how music was made. While I was lost in a trance, I started to hear a voice below word from the side of me It was Marco, He started to “freestyle” and I was in amazement of the whole process, words being brought together in different rhyme patterns and schemes. It was invigorating but soon that excitement turned into utter shock/horror. I heard him start to say my name, and at first, I thought it was cool until he finished the sentence. “Yea, yea, now it’s time to pass the mic to the homie Justin” Suddenly, my fight or flight reaction had kicked in, and I wanted with all of my core to RUN! But it was too late. What felt like an eternity was only mere seconds. My stepsister Nicole, Marco, and the two other kids were all staring at me waiting for me to go… Although I don’t remember what it is I said since it’s been so long let me tell you that I BOMBED IT. Completely made a fool out of myself, and although everyone said it was ok that was all that I could think about for the rest of the day. As soon as I got home, I had made a vow to myself to never sound that dumb on a microphone again. My mind was encapsulated with freestyling. All I could think about no matter where I was or what I was doing was what words rhymed with what and how fast could my mind put them together. It truly did not matter the day, time, or place that is all my mind was geared towards. After school, I remember sitting in my room and practicing my newly found craft for hours on end. It got to the point that I was able to look at anything and use the said item in a freestyle bar and have people feed me word after word to use in my freestyle. After a while, I started to realize that no one else wanted to rap as much as I did. What was left; Looking to continue on this journey of discovery, I found out about a local music/urban scene located in Pomona California. It was there that I met a now long-time friend Hydro (Dr. Nigel Lee Bailey) we instantly connected between our love of hip hop and freestyling, so much so that after the event we ended up hanging out at each other’s houses, this was a very pivotal moment for me in my life as Hydro without knowing it introduced me to my next step in life Producing/Recording our written songs together he and I started making beats with his Battery operated MPC. This was especially important because once we realized that we could make our own beats we set out to making our own music. Without anywhere to record looking back (thank you Black Friday) my mother had just bought me a brand-new iPod Touch where we started recording videos and later using the voice memo app to record the instrumental playing from a speaker with our lyrics on top of it and shortly after an iMac with garage band. I felt like I was on the top of the world. As years passed my passion for music kept on growing. I ended up getting very lucky as my life has been filled with music-related opportunities. Although most say it’s near impossible to make a career off of music, Whenever I was in doubt, I would hear my mother’s famous saying “If There’s a will there’s a way.” When I eventually had to move due to unexpected life circumstances, I found myself in San Diego, Ca. With a drive to record some songs that I had written I quickly found a studio that could help me accomplish my goals. It was here that I met the San Diego Legend himself Looselyric and began building a rapport. After a few sessions, he had told me that he saw something in me and offered me an internship to learn how to engineer. It was here that my world in engineering and eventually my business started. Not long after absorbing everything he had taught me I developed a goal to start engineering as a career to support myself and continue to make the music that I love. At first, it felt like a daunting task since I was in a city that I knew nothing about let alone like-minded individuals and no one knew who I was or what I had to offer. I remember what I did to make up for that was type in on Instagram #SandiegoRap, #SandiegoArtist, and #SandiegoSinger. Through these hashtags, I was immersed in a world of creatives just like me. Let me tell you that I messaged every account and I mean every account stating who I was and what I offered. If I recall correctly, it was around the 200th message in one day that I finally got someone who was interested to take me up on my offer. From there my business took off like a wildfire. Between personally marketing myself and messaging clients via social media and word of mouth I can now say that I have been able to make this a career and have been working as an Audio Engineer/Small Business Owner for over 4 years now with this last year being my only full-time gig. I am truly living the best of both worlds as I am not only helping others achieve their goals within the music industry, but I can continue to work on mine.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wouldn’t say that it has been a smooth road. Starting your own business, especially in the music industry comes with a lot of trials and tribulations. I have faced many struggles along the way but I am happy to say that I have been able to not only stay afloat but thrive. Some of the struggles I have faced included finding clientele in a city that I literally knew nothing about and for that matter no one, Learning to work and adapt to the ever-changing styles of each individual client, and lastly being able to translate my client’s ideas accurately and in a timely matter,
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Nomada Recordings (W$K Ent.)?
I am an Audio Engineer/Recording Artist. In simple terms, I am responsible for recording my clients’ vocals/instruments (if they do not already have them recorded) and editing them to sound radio ready. I specialize but am not limited to Hip-Hop/Rap and Modern R&B/Pop. I would believe that I am known for my work ethic and ability to bring out the best of my clients. What sets me apart would have to be my dedication to the task at hand. I always make sure that I go above and beyond to assure that my clients are satisfied with the finished product and oftentimes find myself putting on more hats that just being an Engineer. I always try to see where my client is at an artist and offer my thoughts/coaching if they are willing to listen. I am most proud of being able to start my business from scratch and to see where it is now. I would love for everyone reading this to know that anything is possible and if anyone needs professionally mixed vocals I am here and ready to be of service.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- $50 for one hour (Two-hour minimum)
- $60 for final mix/master (One Song) $100 for (Two Songs)
- I offer album deals (Price Varies)
- Website: www.nomadgrey.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nomad_grey/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NomadGrey
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxeeycITlOcSmwy7ouH0eiw
- Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/