RAC Student Review: Emilie Bilodeau, Recording Engineer, CBC/Radio Canada

Emilie Bilodeau is an 2005 RAC grad (Recording Arts Canada) in sound and music recording. She is currently working at CBC/Radio Canada as an audio engineer for live transmissions and productions for the network. She found this job immediately after graduating from RAC, and shares with us details of her journey, challenges she’s encountered and her dreams.

What was your background in music, education and work prior to enrolling at RAC?

I started playing flute in high school. After high school I enrolled at Drummondville College’s classical music program and majored in flute and voice. I participated in a number of concerts and recorded my first little music demo as a musician during that time. After college I enrolled at RAC with absolutely zero recording studio experience and no real knowledge of the process of recording or the technology.

Can you describe your journey over the last couple of years and the role RAC has played in your life?

First, I want to thank RAC for giving me the opportunity to realize my dreams. The program in sound and music recording allowed me to acquire the knowledge that I need to reach my goals and start my career in sound engineering. The teachers were so helpful, always encouraging us to go further in our work and progress as much as possible. I view my time at RAC as the best investment I’ve made in my life. Once I finished my studies at RAC, my teachers and the staff at RAC helped me greatly to find work. As I started looking for a job I quickly realized the excellent reputation of the college (RAC) gave me instant credibility with potential employers, and that was a big reason I got the job at CBC/Radio-Canada. Once I started working, I was able to demonstrate the technical competences I acquired at RAC, which has helped me secure my employment. I wouldn’t be where I am today without RAC.

What kind of music projects did you do before and after graduating from RAC.

As I mentioned, I really hadn’t touched the recording side until I started at RAC’s sound and music recording program. During my time as a student at RAC I continued to do some concerts and shows as well as participating in some recording projects both within RAC’s program as well as outside of the program. After graduating RAC I continued doing small shows. The thing is I was hired by CBC/Radio Canada immediately after graduating so I found myself with very little time for pursuits outside of my job.

What is your role at CBC/Radio Canada? How do you like it?

To be precise I work at Radio Canada International (RCI) as an audio engineer. My job consists of recording, producing and mixing various features, such as round table panels, live broadcasts and telephone interviews to be aired. Certain days there is a ton of work to produce. At RCI I deal with audio file transfers and prep for program producers. I adore this type of work because for me it is the perfect mix between “studio work” where you have a second chance to get it right and “live work” where you only have one shot to get it right. Most of the time I’m alone in my studio at RCI but during broadcasts it becomes a real team effort and I love that part. I find my work very stimulating since I mix “live” a lot and anything can happen so it’s very exciting.

What are your future goals and ambitions in work and in life?

For the moment I would like to continue in my current job. Hopefully next year I will start to work more with the Main Channel at Radio-Canada. This would involve doing live remotes and recordings around the country and abroad perhaps, which is great because I love to travel. I would also like to work again in music creation since I particularly adore classical music. My dream is to have my own small concert venue. I guess I will let life carry me where it chooses since it has already blessed me with many beautiful things.

Do you have any suggestions for people interested in starting a career in audio or music?

It appears obvious to to me that if somebody wants to begin a serious career in audio or music recording they must take a course and learn as much as possible to give yourself the best chance of succeeding. Then, once in a program of study, the only advice which I can give is to invest yourself fully and as much as possible in your studies. A professor at RAC once told me it is necessary to stay in the mainstream of work and activity, don’t get lost on the small sidestreets! I interpreted that as one should always be willing to participate in activities that help us progress, and we should always respect people around us. It’s also necessary to be ready to make sacrifices. To find success and employment one cannot lose sight of the objective which one hopes to achieve. Most important though is to show your confidence in your dreams and ambitions, as it is the best means of developing the confidence others will have in us.

Any other advice, comments or sentiments you wish to share?

I wish good luck to everyone who would like to start in the field of audio and music recording. It is perhaps difficult at the beginning but I’ve already recognized that the rewards have made all my efforts and sacrifices largely worthwhile. If it is really what you want to do and if you put all of your energy towards that dream you will achieve your goals.