When 2003 Recording Engineering grad Tip Wyman came back to visit campus last month, he told a group of students that success is all about concept, and having a destination (and knowing what your pit stops are along the way) is what’s most important.
“If you’re going to get in a car and drive somewhere,” he said. “Where are you going?”
Tip followed his own advice – after his last class at Full Sail he got in his car and drove to California – and it paid off. More than a decade later, he has his own recording studio (Wyman Records) in Los Angeles, where he works with clients like Three 6 Mafia and Katy Perry, and he’s venturing into the world of artist development.
After he arrived in California 11 years ago without any connections, Tip landed an internship at Westlake Recording Studios, the first place he had applied to.
“I brought my resume over to Westlake, left it with the receptionist, walked about 30 paces out the door, and got a call from the studio manager,” he remembers. “I went back and he offered me an internship and I started the next day.”
Three months of interning turned into a full-time engineering gig at Westlake, and Tip’s affinity for networking helped him bring his own artists in to record. Through the contacts he was making around the city, he got the opportunity to be an apprentice under renowned composer Bennett Salvay. Then, after Bennett decided to close two of the three studios he owned, Tip acquired one of them, and after three successful years at Westlake, he branched out on his own to start Wyman Records.
Rapper/Singer Sean Kingston and crew recording at Wyman Records
“Working at Westlake taught me the fundamentals of how studios operate and how to work with artists, producers, managers, and A&R people,” says Tip, who opened his studio with another Sr. Assistant Engineer from Westlake. “I became captain by myself, which was a little overwhelming, but since then I’ve hired people and built an infrastructure. There’s a hierarchy of interns, assistants, and engineers, and now we have writes, producers, and artists, as well.”
The studio, which Tip renovated in 2010, has seen its fair share of successful artists stop by, including Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, and Juicy J, along with notable engineers like Dave Pensado and Manny Marroquin. And besides overseeing day-to-day operations there, Tip has his own label imprint at Motown and has started to develop artists from the ground up, a move he’s always been interested in.
“Artist development is a really fun process, I really enjoy navigating the industry and figuring out how you can help establish an artist,” says Tip, who likes to find talent early, before they even have a web presence established. He’s currently working with R&B artist Stori and producer-DJ’s Nebula and Ether. “It’s like a Rubik’s cube. It’s always a little different each time, but it’s still the same puzzle.”
Running a studio and a label, developing artists, and working on his own creative projects doesn’t leave much more time in the day to get anything else accomplished, but Tip doesn’t see it that way. His goal is to continue building brands and breaking talent.
“I really want to be a good, fair person in the industry that creates opportunities for people,” says Tip. “I want to figure out how to make household names and then I want to make household-name products use my household names.”