When people ask Jarrod Headley, owner and founder of North Park Studios, what he does for a living, his answer is simple: “All things audio.”
The California native has been playing music since he was 4 years old, performed and toured in a successful rock band, and has composed and engineered for television, with his work appearing on hundreds of shows on networks including CBS, Spike, ESPN and History.
After establishing himself as a musician and audio producer in Hollywood and Los Angeles, Headley moved to Colorado Springs.
He said it took him a couple of years to get his bearings in his new environment.
“But once I did, now I love it,” he said. “And I’ll never leave.”
When Headley arrived here, he saw a need for a professional recording studio that could rival the production quality of those he worked with back in Los Angeles.
“I didn’t see really any professional-level, quality things coming out of Colorado Springs other than maybe one or two places,” he said.
“So I thought, ‘OK. I’ll open up shop here.’ And as soon as I did, it was pretty mind-blowing to see the level of expectation from my clientele … what they were used to expecting. I was able to bring more of the Hollywood-style production and quality out here, that they never thought they would ever get.”
Headley began working out of a small studio in his home, but about five years ago upgraded into a much larger professional studio that handles everything from producing to songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering and audio restoration.
North Park Studios produces albums, short compositions, radio commercials and jingles, audiobooks, podcasts and everything in-between.
And while “All things audio” might be Headley’s standard description of his profession, he said his real pride and passion for his work comes through building relationships with the artists and business owners who start out as clients and often become lifelong friends.
Headley talked with the Business Journal about his career and North Park Studios, and what’s on the horizon for his business.
How long did it take you to establish your business here and turn a profit?
That actually started out in California. Before I moved here, I had already established myself in the television industry. Currently I’ve done over 250 television shows, everything from the History channel, to Discovery, ESPN, Spike, the UFC, NFL — you name it. So I was already in a state of profit … it was just kind of moving into a new direction of the business.
Most businesses have a niche. I guess my niche would be Hollywood-level audio production. So it wasn’t a niche of, ‘I only do bands,’ or ‘I only do TV shows or books.’
I do all of these things on a professional level — my niche is that I don’t do shoddy work. I don’t let things slide. I keep a standard and I don’t compare myself to audio guys here. My competition are my friends back in L.A.
What do you love about what you do?
I like to think of us as the problem-
solving team. I’ve always loved puzzles and things like that. We’re ultimately the ones to take the headache out of the audio process, and that’s probably why we’ve formed such strong business relationships with happy clients and friends.
With that said, I’ve found that knowing your clients’ audience kind of makes everything go smoothly. So whether it’s customers, employers, lenders or investors, competitors or suppliers, there’s a reason why almost all of our clients are return customers. It’s because we have this passion for solving problems.
This passion that I have is to take someone’s baby — something that someone has grown from the ground up — and help them get to the next level, the next step.
We do everything from commercials for local businesses to on-location audio for film and TV, composition work for TV, film and games, pre-production and records for record labels and local artists, all the way to major podcasts like How Things Work. So we pretty much have our hands in everything audio on a professional level, but there’s this underlying thing of helping someone get to their goal and us being that problem-solving team that makes everything worth it. And helping people is what life is all about.
What are some of the projects you’ve most enjoyed working on?
That’s a hard one. I’ve enjoyed doing so much and not doing the same exact thing every day. I would say probably my first Amazon and Audible No. 1 book was kind of a victory and a fun experience. Becoming the main theme for all of the Fight Pass commercials for the UFC, that was really fun to write and record and see that flourish and succeed. And then working with engineers and teaching through [The Recording Connection Audio Institute], is a super rewarding experience every single day. Then the first time I found out my stuff was on the NFL, and helping them — that was super fun and scary and exciting at the same time. And even helping local artists to get their vision out. … If all I did was records I would be miserable. If all I did was radio or advertisements or helping small businesses grow, I’d be miserable. My personality type likes to be involved in a lot of things and kind of be a connector for people. So I just enjoy everything that I do.
What are your ultimate goals for your career?
One day I would love to have a Grammy. That is one goal I have yet to get. But, in all seriousness, I want to leave a legacy. I want to create and have so many relationships because of the legacy that I’ve left here in Colorado Springs that other business owners will know my children and look out for my children. I want to build a legacy not just in audio, but as being a good human being and someone who can connect with other people on a personal level, not only on a business-relationship level.
What have been the keys to your success in the audio industry?
Number one, above everything else, is relationships. The technicalities of what I do, people can learn over time. But if you’re just not a good hang and you’re not a good person, you just won’t get work. And if you do, you’ll never get return clients. So for me, what I strive and have strived to do is just be a good hang. That’s the biggest thing. The technicality and learning and excelling at your craft and trying to better yourself every single day is kind of expected in the audio industry. But being a cool hang is really how you build relationships, and that’s the most important thing. Because you never know where your next job is going to come from. It could come from someone going to your website, it could come from being in the Colorado Springs Business Journal, it could be from someone new at church who has a connection to a director of a film. You never really know, so it all comes back to relationships. That is what I think the key is.
What are you currently working on?
Over the next six months I’m going to be teaming up with a bunch of audio manufacturers, and my goal is to put out a teaching course online to show people how to do what I do — ultimately going from knowing nothing about audio to being a direct competitor with myself. That’s one of the things I’m working on that’s going to be pretty cool. Another thing is I’m working on developing a few different artists and helping them achieve their goals. And I’m always working with business owners to help them achieve their goals. I’m doing so much every day and I’m excited about everything I do every day.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Train your ears, be a good hang and work hard. Someone is getting up before you every day and someone is going to bed after you every day who is trying to do what you are doing. So take it seriously and put the time and the effort and hard work into it. And then just enjoy the ride. It’s not an easy thing to do. So always be expanding and learning and experimenting and being creative and then just understand that it takes time. It’s not an overnight thing. Overnight successes are 20 years of hard work and then being recognized after 20 years.