Alumni Achievements: Justina Bryce Grammy Nomination
With a Grammy nomination under her belt, experience working as a runner at Abbey Road Studios, and a flourishing profile as a producer and engineer, alumna Justina Bryce is on an upward trajectory. To find out more we sat down with Justina Bryce, aka Likkle Jay, for an interview, where we discussed the nomination, how she got into production and engineering and her tips for success. Justina was enrolled on our Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering, graduating in the summer of 2022 and has since worked at Abbey Road Studios as a runner.
Justina started producing and making beats in FL Studio at a young age. Her father used to DJ, which influenced her interest in music. While production is her primary interest, she also enjoys engineering and mixing. She studied music technology at Newham College London and learned more about production and engineering. After that, she gained work experience in the studio working at United Development, a London-based music organisation that brings communities together around Black music and culture. She received training and eventually became an engineer, working with clients and learning to troubleshoot and handle real-life challenges.
Abbey Road Institute
She decided to apply to Abbey Road Institute and pursue the Black British Students scholarship because it was a valuable opportunity to learn more about aspects of music production that she hadn’t explored in depth during college. An excellent opportunity for her to learn and gain experience in that environment.
“For me, learning from professionals like Carlos Lellis or Jason O’Bryan, their journey and what they did to progress in the industry was very important.”
Justina highlighted the technical aspects she learned at the Institute, such as mixing or understanding the nuances of different microphones for various recording purposes. This knowledge has expanded her possibilities and opened her mind to other recording and mixing sessions. But she also emphasised the importance of the business lectures that covered topics like contracts, publishing deals, copyright, and splits. But most of all, learning from leading professionals and their experiences in the music industry is essential.
Working as a Runner at abbey road
As part of her Black British Students scholarship, Justina started working at Abbey Road Studios as a studio runner. Overall, Justina’s role involves various tasks, including studio setup, equipment management, client assistance, and occasional opportunities to assist during sessions. Justina described her typical day as setting up for various sessions, ranging from orchestral setups to bands or individual artists. Sometimes she is assigned to specific sessions where she assists the engineer and has the opportunity to sit in on the session and provide assistance as needed. However, there are also times when she is floating, meaning she is available to help wherever needed.
“I think Stormzy was one of the first sessions I got to be an assistant engineer on, which is great. It’s always interesting to be present as an assistant during a session and observe and learn from the entire process.”
Justina had the opportunity to work as an assistant during Stormzy’s sessions, specifically for nine-piece string ensemble recordings. Her role involved taking notes during the session for editing purposes. She has also assisted in the Gatehouse and setting up for clients in the Front Room.
JUSTINA BRYCE Grammy Nomination
Justina was Grammy-nominated as an engineer on Chris Brown’s song Breeze featuring Capella Gray. She recorded Capella Gray at The Custom while studying at the Institute. Justina reached out to Capella’s team while they were in London. She took a chance by emailing, and luckily Capella’s team replied, leading to the collaboration. She offered them a recording space at Abbey Road. Capella’s team agreed, and the partnership came to fruition.
Justina emphasised the importance of feeling comfortable and confident when contacting artists. A very proactive approach demonstrates the importance of overcoming fear and seizing opportunities.
A Look into the Future
This Grammy nomination has garnered Justina more attention, particularly on Instagram, and has made it easier to build connections with artists and labels. She finds this platform especially helpful to promote her work and connect with artists, a place where she can showcase her abilities and engage with her audience.
Justina has also been working on her music and had a release last year called Pon Time Riddim, where she produced the song and had her friends feature as artists. When asked about her inspiration as a producer, Justina mentioned Timbaland and Missy Elliott as her favourite producers of all time. As a producer, she likes listening to new music daily to get inspired by new sounds.
“I wanna get back into producing and collaborating with both new and established artists. Now that I have the nomination, I want to explore new opportunities and focus more on producing, not only engineering.”
With her Grammy nomination as a potential opportunity for growth in her career, Justina is now looking for new horizons working as a producer and engineer with different artists. We can’t wait to see what future achievements for Justina hold.
To read more about our Alumni Achievements, check out Gabriëlle Stok, who was also nominated for a Grammy, and Ramera Abraham, who was awarded Vocal Producer of the Year at The Music Producers Guild Awards.