Photo by Krystyn B Schneider
As a boy growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, Jimmy Hoyson took guitar and piano lessons but never aspired to be a professional musician. He attended Keystone Oaks High School and often found time to jam with local musicians. His shyness kept him from performing live on stage but his meticulous production style and passion for music led him into the studio.
Hoyson worked his way through college at Hollowood Music in McKees Rocks where he met touring bands like the Granati Brothers and Norman Nardini. These introductions quickly turned into friendships with the bands asking that he mix their live performances. It was here he found his calling in music, “I wanted to create something lasting and memorable. Live mixing was fleeting.” This was the start of his dream of working in recording studios.
After Hoyson graduated from The University of Pittsburgh in 1984 he left for Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. With little more than his guitar and $100 in his pocket, he stayed with a friend in LA working odd jobs to make ends meet. Through a chance encounter Hoyson was introduced to the owner of Hormel Foods who just happened to own The Village Studios, a world-renowned recording studio. Hormel liked his tenacity and soon offered Hoyson an entry-level position at The Village. He started in the video department.
His first day at The Village, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Eric Clapton were booked in the legendary rooms. Soon after he found himself in the video editing room with David Byrne of Talking Heads demoing the opening edits of his film True Stories. In time, Hoyson moved from the video department into the studios and began working on album projects. His first session was with guitar hero Ingwie Malmsteen.
His hardwork, easy demeanor and impeccable ear elevated him from getting coffee for artists to recording and mixing Grammy winning albums. Hoyson also spent time at film-oriented facilities like Signet Studios where he learned mixing in surround and recording music for film.
Later, Capitol Studios in the Capitol Records Tower hired Hoyson where he continued to hone his craft as a staff engineer. It was here he immersed himself in the art of Big Band recording and scoring for television – all the while continuing to work on records.
His clients continue to be an endless list of renowned and upcoming artists. From Warrant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Goo Goo Dolls, Michael Jackson, Iggy Pop and Green Day to Lou Reed, Eric Clapton, Ben Harper and B.B. King. In addition, he has extensive experience working on film and television scores, 7th Heaven, Ugly Betty, 8 Simple Rules, The Wedding Singer, Ace Ventura and Walk the Line to name a few. He just finished working on the film score for Stano, a Raymond De Felitta production staring Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello.
Currently, Hoyson has returned to his native Pittsburgh as Chief Engineer at The Vault Recording Studio. He still travels nationally as a freelance producer and engineer and is also working with Pittsburgh-based film production companies on their scores and soundtracks. Hoyson is constantly seeking out new talent and giving back to the community. He’s been a guest lecturer at Point Park University where he hopes to inspire students to follow their dreams!