Hip-Hop

Roger James Lands Studio Engineering Gig With Atlantic

Jason Martin
Roger James just started as a studio engineer for Atlantic Records.
In five years, Roger "whoisROG" James went from making beats in his Aurora bedroom to starting a full-time studio engineer gig at Atlantic Records in North Hollywood. But his journey getting to the big leagues started by working at the Get Busy Livin studio, which was first based in Lakewood and is now in Denver.

James was a seventeen-year-old junior at Hinkley High School when he met GBL CEO Michael Millard.

“He was telling me to keep up the good work as a young kid,” James says. “That inspired me to keep pushing with music and keep going. I was producing in my mom's house in my bedroom, and he used to come over and just listen to my beats and try to give me some words of wisdom and keep inspiring me.”

James, who’s now 23, eventually moved his studio out of the bedroom and into GBL in 2016. The following year, he and Millard were working with local acts and began to host industry nights that spread the name of the studio and lifestyle brand further. As GBL’s reputation grew, James got to record some bigger names as lead engineer, including Trev Rich, A Meazy, Jay Trip, AP and Rachel Bailey.

“We did those industry nights three or four times, and our brand just kept growing from there,” James recalls. “I think the industry nights were the startup of GBL getting the recognition it deserves. I credit that to Mike and Trev, for sure — for helping us get to a level where we're a really high-level studio and people respect us.”

About two years ago, James says, he met Atlantic’s senior director of A&R, Andrew Grant, while working at a GBL session, and the two hit it off.

“We started texting back and forth, and I started sending him my production, mainly just my beats,” James says. “And from there he was talking about openings at the studio in L.A. It took almost a year for anything to generate off of that. I was texting him for a long time asking him if there's any work, and after a while, things started to open up. I was able to come out for an interview and do a trial session.”

James, who just moved to Los Angeles, says he’ll be working with artists on the Atlantic roster while also having a chance to work with unsigned artists from around the world who want to make a record at the company’s studio.

He also plans to return to Denver as often as he can to work on GBL projects.

“That's really the goal, to go back as much as possible,” he says.