Front of house engineer Kyle Hamilton – who’s worked with some massive names in music including Janet Jackson, Usher, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams and many more – joins Headliner on a call from CenterStaging rehearsal studio in Burbank, CA where he’s gearing up for a string of one-off live shows with Doja Cat...
How’ve you been keeping busy lately? Can you tell us how you first got into mixing live sound?
Right now, I’m literally juggling three artists at the same time: Doja Cat, Lizzo and Usher. It’s about to be full throttle for the live music world for a while now, because everybody wants to get out and have a good time. I’ve been in live music for 28 years, and last year was the first time I’ve been home for that duration of time for at least 20 of those years.
My career really got going in 1994; I was working with a number of different artists as a system engineer just doing a little bit of everything – patching, setting up backline etc. I started out doing gospel plays – that’s where I really cut my teeth, learning how to deal with multiple microphones, feedback, and all that other good stuff. When you’re in a theatre setting for two or three weeks at a time, that’s a good way to learn your craft and tighten things up.
My first breakthrough was when I graduated from system engineer to front of house mixer, and was called up to work on a show for The Isley Brothers. It was off to the races after that.