Darrel Mascarenhas was just like a lot of other Full Sail students – he went to school and held down a part-time job on the side. There’s just one big, long-distance difference: Darrel’s job was 9,000 miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic.
The December 2014 grad studied Recording Arts by day and worked in his bedroom at night, writing and mastering music for dozens of commercial clients and television networks back in his home country of India. His instrumental compositions have appeared on several Indian networks, including Sony, Cartoon Network, MTV, and more.
“Since it’s night here when it’s daytime in India, the schedules work out,” says Darrel. “They’d send me the project in the evening and need it by the next morning, so I’d work on it overnight and send it back to them. I loved what I was doing, so I never found it hectic.”
Growing up in the small town of Puttur in the Indian state of Karnataka, Darrel’s love for music grew after his mom bought him a keyboard when he was five. Without computer or Internet access until he was 20, that keyboard was one of Darrel’s self-professed main sources of entertainment. Years later, after learning that there were careers to be had in sound engineering and mixing, Darrel decided that he wanted to study music seriously. Meanwhile, he was making a name for himself nationally – his band, the Bollywood-influenced JDL Music House, garnered recognition for their unique sound.
“We introduced a lot of Western sounds into our music,” says Darrel. “Also, India has more than 300 languages, and our band performed in eight different ones.”
Many of Darrel’s composing gigs came from meeting potential clients through the band. After finding Full Sail online, Darrel moved to the U.S. in 2013 to study Recording Arts. Instead of letting those composing jobs go, Darrel found a way to make it work. From rock to Latin to hip hop, he creates whatever type of music his clients are looking for, and those compositions end up on commercials, as on-hold telephone music for banks, and more. Another recent achievement: Darrel wrote one of the campaign theme songs for the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi during the national elections held in India last year. He says that his clients never complain about the distance, because he’s always able to get projects back to them by their deadlines.
“Full Sail taught me a lot about work ethic, professionalism, and the importance of meeting deadlines,” says Darrel. “I learned a lot about time management, and how not to waste your time and stay focused. There was no other way to get everything done.”
Today, Darrel is still composing for clients back home in India, but he’s Los Angeles-bound, where he hopes to put his new degree to work. He’s interested in working in post-production, but he’s ready for whatever challenge comes next.
“I compose, I sing, I write musical arrangements, I mix, and I master,” says Darrel. “I enjoy doing everything. It’s all really exciting to me.”