Hustling is a lifestyle. That’s the case for many in the music industry, including Alex Tumay, engineer to a handful of rap superstars, like Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Future.
But Tumay definitely didn’t begin his career working with those artists. It took him flunking out of college, stumbling upon engineering, and slogging his way through music school and internships to get where he needed to be.
“I just sat down and like started messing with Logic and played a couple things. I was like oh, this is a whole career. This whole thing. It just never really clicked for me that like that could have been what I did. I didn’t find myself to be an especially talented musician,” he said during an interview with Red Bull Music Academy.
After college, Tumay moved to Atlanta for an internship at Maze Studios, eventually finding a gig as a technician at Dallas Austin's Recording Projects (D.A.R.P.) Studios in 2012, where he worked extremely closely with Metro Boomin, and then eventually, Young Thug.
Before he was really given the chance to shine as an engineer, he had to prove himself and work his ass off—he basically lived at the studio.
“Yeah, I lived there. I would have to be there at 11am to set up for the day, and I would leave no earlier than 7am. I worked there seven days a week for two years. I took five days off in those two years. Like, it was crazy. It was me, and the manager Chris and Ricky Racks was signed to the label that owned the studio, which is how me and him became close. And Metro sleeping on the couch, Spins sleeping on the couch, everyday—we were just working in shifts, like just constantly making music.”
Tumay wasn’t a stranger to hard work, which eventually paid off: One day, by chance, he mixed one of Thugger’s songs, and from there, became Thugger’s main engineer, and the only one to tackle the Slime Season mixtape series, I’m Up, and JEFFERY.
The formula for Tumay’s success is simple: Tenacity, hard work, and many, many sleepless nights. That combination certainly isn’t foreign to most people working in the industry.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram