When business administration juniors Bradley Caldwell and Andrew Huang were randomly paired as roommates in Poly Canyon Village (PCV) their first year at Cal Poly, neither of them realized the musical partnership that would flourish. Three years later, each continues to develop their talents in music production and artist management right from their bedrooms.
Caldwell first found interest in music production during a Spanish class in high school. For an art project where most students turned in a drawing or painting, Caldwell turned in a musical project — a beat he created on GarageBand with a rap in Spanish over it. After this, Caldwell continued to create different beats on his laptop through GarageBand. He soon became dedicated to this newfound hobby and became proficient in FL Studios, a digital audio software that is popular with rap and trap production.
It took three years for Caldwell to attain the full setup he has now, which includes a laptop fit for music production and speakers. Now, with his own room in an apartment, he has the space to produce without someone else in the room.
“Now I have my own room and it’s kind of like a studio with a bed in it, rather than a bedroom with a studio in it,” Caldwell said.
He often works with friends when producing music from start to finish. They begin the process by playing a few notes on the guitar or piano and then they write a basic hook. Once they have a hook, a discussion about their ideas and how they envisioned the song helps lead them into recording. Caldwell adds drums, piano and guitars afterward.
Caldwell continuously practices, working towards his goal to produce his own music or start a record label. He is looking to eventually apply his concentration in marketing to his own career. Right now, he is gaining experience promoting his new single that dropped earlier this month.
“I would love to be independent. Hopefully, I’ll be able to market myself and not have to sign off the rights of my music just to have other people market it for me,” Caldwell said.
When he first moved into PCV in 2020, he was surprised to learn his new roommate was also interested in music.
“We just found out we have similar music tastes and then he told me he wanted to be a producer. I said I wanted to do music management and that just started from there,” Huang said.
As an artist manager, his job would be “connecting artists with fans, helping on the marketing side, organizing events like concerts and reaching out to record labels — just a lot of marketing and selling an artist,” Huang said.
The beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown sparked Huang’s passion for music management. He began expanding his music taste and listening to lesser-known artists who he found through Spotify. Realizing that many smaller artists deserve more recognition, he was pushed to pursue music management where he could give them a moment in the spotlight.
He first gained experience working with his friends’ band Mellowood, started by two UCLA students. Both Huang and Caldwell were involved with the production and marketing for Mellowood, each contributing their separate talents. Mellowood released multiple singles in the summer of 2021 produced by Caldwell including “Fly Away” and “Friends”.
Huang and Caldwell also work with each other apart from Mellowood. With the release of Caldwell’s new single, “A Love Letter From a Past Life,” Huang has created multiple marketing strategies for promotion including Twitter and Instagram stories and posts. Besides this, he is “helping reach out to a bunch of artists specifically on Soundcloud that he can produce for,” Huang said.
Balancing school and social life while actively working towards the career they want to pursue has not been easy for either student. Huang treats the work just as he would another class and sets aside a couple of hours every day for it. Caldwell said his work is all about making sacrifices — sometimes he trades in a night out with staying in and working on his music. In the end, he recognized it will be worth it.
“If I want to be as great as I want to be at what I do, I have to put in the hours,” Caldwell said.