Texas Chapter Board Spotlight | Ernie Gonzales
What do you do in the music industry?
I am a musician, producer, live sound and recording studio engineer based in San Antonio, Texas. I am the owner and operator of Reel Tracks Studio, a full commercial recording and production facility. We opened in 1999, and keep our calendar full throughout the year recording and producing artists of all genres. In 2003, I founded Ro’Records, an independent Latin music label that continues to thrive today. I continue to tour as a live sound engineer and tech for production companies and artists including GP Productions, George Strait, Ld Systems. In addition, I play accordion for my band Grupo Alamo and a few other tejano groups. I have been blessed to have a full time career in music. I wear many hats to do it, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
What does being a member of The Recording Academy mean to you?
To be part of the Academy and serve on the Chapter Board is truly an honor for me. I have been a member of The Recording Academy for about 10 years now and currently serve as a Governor on the Texas Chapter Board. Being able to network and collaborate with some of the best in the music business has been an amazing experience for me and is something that would not have been possible if I had not become a member. Protecting the rights of artists and music creators, songwriters and producers is something very important to me and my involvement in the Academy. Also, being on the Board with the Texas Chapter has allowed me to have a voice for myself and my colleagues thru the advocacy efforts such as GRAMMYs in My District and GRAMMYs at the Texas Capitol. The ability to sharpen my skills with education and business seminars has definitely been a plus for me. The focus that the Academy has on the new and young generation of students in the music field is something I take part in regularly, from working with GRAMMY U students, to speaking at various schools and working with music programs and educators around my area.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the music industry?
Some of the most important things to do if you are aspiring to become a musician or a vocalist is practice and learn your craft, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Criticism is going to come, so learn from it and take it in stride. Nowadays, most artists are doing things independently, so it is extremely important for aspiring artist to not only know the music side of the things but the business side as well. Being diverse is key and networking is a must. Preparing to work the music biz is a crazy rollercoaster ride with many loops and turns. Learn from the people who have walked the path before you. Stay true to who you are and create the music you feel.
Tell us about the musical influences and inspirations that helped to shape your career.
Two of the most influential people that helped shaped my career are my grandfather and my father. Both being musicians, music was always around and in my blood. It is always something special when you can perform and tour with one of your inspirations and for twenty plus years getting to play music and travel with my dad has been amazing with Grupo Alamo. A few of the individuals who have guided me and continue to do so are Kevin Weldon, George Olson, Joel Guzman, Manny Guerra, John Mcbride and Carlos Alvarez. I would love to list all the people involved in shaping my career but we would be here a while. Getting to learn from all the musicians, producers, and engineers I have toured and recorded with since I started my career, has definitely shaped who I am in the business. You learn from both good experiences and bad, but the crazy thing about this business is you never stop learning, and you always have to adapt.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I am currently working on five new projects at the studio, including a new record for my band Grupo Alamo and two tejano albums for a couple of up and coming artists. Another album currently being recorded that I am really enjoying working on right now is an acoustic pop record we are doing for a client. We are also currently working on a Latin Roots album. National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is also coming up, and I will be out there with Hohner accordions.