As a kid, Carl Borden never had formal musical training, but when he was 12 or 13, he began experimenting on an old piano that his father bought secondhand.
“My dad, said, ‘Somebody’s gonna play this thing,’ and it just sat there. I finally started getting into it and started playing,” says Borden. “I would listen to a lot of stuff on the radio and would try to emulate what I was hearing. I would play by ear.”
It wasn’t until he was 24 years old that he learned to read music, but that hasn’t stopped Borden from making a career in music.
Today, Borden – who graduated from Valencia’s Sound & Music Technology program in 2016 – works as a recording engineer, producer, songwriter and composer.
As a kid who dabbled in music, but never played in a high school or college band, Borden’s musical journey began in Cleveland during the mid 1990s, when he polished his songwriting and producing skills, working on projects with record producers such as James Macon and Tony Nicholas. He continued to further hone is engineering skills while working under the tutelage of Grammy-winning producer/engineer Glenn Feit.
As a producer and engineer, he has worked with a variety of artists including Gerald Levert, Men At Large, Lynn Tolliver Jr., Buddy Banks of The Rude Boys, Sonny James, Drama, 1 Of The Girls, Dalon Collins, Apollo winner Shenetha Frison, Bone Thugs–n-Harmony and many others.
In Orlando, he started studying music production at Orange Technical College and then transferred into Valencia’s sound technology program.
“I had always worked on the creative side of music and I wanted to learn about the technical sound of music. I learned all the technical aspects of the job,” he says.
“When I was there, it was a great learning opportunity for me. I was able to bring my experiences in as well and be able to blend everything together. And working with Raul, during the time I was there, was great. He has just a wealth of experience, and being able to pick his brain and talk about different things was great.”
To date, Borden’s biggest hit has been “Home,” which he co-wrote and composed with platinum recording artist Dave Tolliver, the lead singer from the R&B group Men at Large. “I co-wrote it and produced it and I mixed and mastered it.” The song, which debuted on the Billboard Hot Single Sales Chart, was also used by the TV show, “Scream Queens” during its second season, says Borden, who will also be producing a new album for Men at Large in 2018.
Borden, who spent part of his childhood in Winter Haven before moving to Ohio, has also served as a recording engineer on a project that is in Grammy consideration this year. “Together in Peace, a Musical Journey,” an album by RuPam Sarmah, is a compilation of world music that features more than 500 instruments and many different artists. “I recorded a flute, that was my small part,” he says, “but just to be involved with that is great. It’s a really big project.”
In addition to recording and working with other artists, Carl is now a voting member of the Recording Academy (the organization behind the Grammy awards) and he has starting recording new age music for the San Francisco label, Real Music. His first album, “Echoes of Bliss,” was honored in 2016 by the Global Music Awards with silver medals for Best New Age Album and Album Production.
“It’s meditation music. It’s good for meditation and yoga,” says Borden. “It’s music that you can relax to or read to.”
His second album, “Breathe,” debuted in April and spent eight weeks on the iTunes bestseller list for world music.
His inspiration, he says, comes from the peace that he finds in music.
“Music has always been very therapeutic to me. My album ‘Breathe’ grew out of my own battles with depression and anxiety. I called the album ‘Breathe’ because I think that if we just allow ourselves to take a step back and breathe deep, situations that seemed impossible before will not seem so daunting.”