|HOMETOWN: Newtown, Connecticut
MAJOR: Music Production, concentration in Jazz Guitar
WCSU DEGREE: Bachelor of Music in Audio and Music Production
ACTIVITIES: Plays music at Central Christian Church every Sunday for the past two years, and has begun to record, produce and engineer music projects. Also enjoys rock climbing at the Fairfield Rock Climb gym
INTERNSHIPS: Interned with a live sound engineer who used to do live sound for Jose Feliciano. Also interned with a music business company in Manhattan during the summer and learned about the business side of the music industry, and interned in Los Angeles with Lucas Cantor. Currently interning/shadowing with Peter Katis, a Grammy-winning engineer and producer for indie rock bands such as The National, Interpol, Kurt Vile and more.
HONORS AND AWARDS: Dean’s List sophomore year; recently won a global remixing competition hosted by Soyuz, AEA and Amphion competing against more than 600 international participants with a first prize that included studio equipment worth $8,000
Herbie Mortera is living proof that if you really want something and you don’t achieve it the first time, try, try again. When he initially applied to WCSU’s music program, he did not get in. “I had to really practice to get into the program,” he says.
Mortera had planned on “going into radiology or some sort of medical field.” But an internship with a fellow alumnus of The Wooster School living in Los Angeles provided him the opportunity to learn about the entertainment and music industries. He was a production assistant on several film shoots and played a role as a background actor in a commercial. “One of the highlights of the internship was being a production assistant for a music concert called ‘Score!’ that was hosted by the Emmy Awards and was executive-produced by my mentor.”
After the LA internship, Mortera says he realized that “doing music was my calling. Another reason I went into music was because of my parents. I think that without their support, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go after my dreams. I would have definitely regretted not trying to do music.”
Having determined that music was now something he wanted to pursue, Mortera decided to come to WCSU. “The cost of tuition was so much less than any other school. I also commuted all five years so I really saved a ton of money by doing so. The Visual and Performing Arts Center was also a big factor. It’s a beautiful building and being able to use the studio was a great privilege.”
Mortera knows how to make the most out of mentorship opportunities. “Sheldon Steiger, who runs the audio, video and live event production for the Visual and Performing Arts Center, became a close friend of mine over the past couple of years. I’m grateful he’s my private studio lessons teacher for my last semester. He’s always had an open door for me to come and talk to him about anything, whether it was related to music or not.”
Asked what he will remember most about his WCSU experience, Mortera says, “One of my most memorable experiences was when I was in Parallel Fifths, one of the school’s a capella groups. We won first place at an a capella competition my sophomore year!”
After graduation, Mortera says it’s hard to predict what he’ll be doing, especially in the music industry. “I would love to be engineering and producing music projects for the rest of my life. I would also love to be releasing my own music, as well. I currently have a single out under the artist name HVRBIE, and another single that will be coming out very soon!”
His advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Never skimp out on internships. Whether it’s in the music industry, business, or even in the medical field — they will help shape your future tremendously!”