Mark ‘Spike’ Stent remains one of the world’s most in demand mixer/ producers.
The Los Angeles-based Brit has worked with everyone from Oasis to Madonna, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.
He has won four Grammys – for his work on Beyoncé’s I am Sacha Fierce, Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor, Muse’s The Resistance and Ed Sheeran’s Divide.
Acts who have commissioned him for mixes down the years include Massive Attack, Harry Styles, Anne Marie, Florence + The Machine, Frank Ocean, Take That, Linkin Park, U2, Usher, Gwen Stefani, The Weeknd and Kings Of Leon, while he has recently worked on debut albums for the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Mabel and Julia Michaels.
A couple of weeks ago, on Thursday, July 25, Stent, who grew up in Hampshire, England, was last handed an Honorary Doctorate at the University of West London.
He gave a speech discussing some of the key ingredients behind his success, and his appreciation for all he’s been able to achieve so far. You can read that speech in full below.
Congratulations to everyone who is graduating today. It’s an honour to be here among so many brilliant people. To be honest it’s unusual for me to be among so many people full stop.
As a mix engineer and producer I spend most of my days holed up in a dark studio, with a couple of amazing assistants to keep me company. I’m not used to being this side of the microphone!
I can only begin to imagine the hard work that has got you to this point. I left school at 15 and my real education began when I got a job at Jacob’s, a recording studio in Farnham, Surrey, as the tea boy.
Fortunately there, in Andy Fernbach and Ken Thomas, I found mentors who patiently helped me master my craft.
I will never forget the awful day when I accidentally erased the entire mastertape of the follow up single to Kajagoogoo’s No.1 [UK] hit record Too Shy. In that moment, I felt for sure that my career in the music industry was over.
If someone had told me back then that nearly 40 years later I’d be picking up an Honorary Doctorate I certainly would not have believed them.
“My work ethic and my passion are kept alive by adapting, embracing new technology, perseverance and never giving up.”
Many of you will go on to become renowned in your fields, to win awards, to teach the next generation.
I am fortunate to have worked with incredible artists such as Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, U2 and Coldplay, amongst others and winning Grammys has been a nice bonus. But what really keeps me going is when someone tells me that the music means something to them; that the records I have worked on have inspired them, just as I was inspired by others before me.
For those of you entering the music business now, things are far more complicated, which makes it all the more important that you have a head start on your peers by graduating from this university today.
I went freelance at the age of 22, but still can’t shake the feeling that it all might come to an end tomorrow. My work ethic and my passion are kept alive by adapting, embracing new technology, perseverance and never giving up.
I’m fortunate that I get to make a living doing my hobby. I believe the adage is true: find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life. Thank you for making today one of the most memorable days of my life so far.Music Business Worldwide