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From Avant Student to Studio Pro: How Brandon "Nimrod" Villanueva Turned His Passion into a Career



Brandon's love for engineering traces back to high school in Houston, where he assembled a modest studio in his apartment bedroom to produce hip hop beats and record local rappers. Seeing a friend lay down tracks at Avant Media Institute opened Brandon's eyes to audio engineering as a potential career path. He soon enrolled in Avant's program, hoping to turn his hobby into a viable profession

Overcoming Early Challenges at Avant:

Though initially overwhelmed by the technical details in Avant's hands on training sessions, Brandon stuck with it, motivated by getting hands-on time in Avant's professional studios to create his own music. He credits classmate Blake Sellers as an influential mentor who showed Brandon the creative possibilities when you master mixing and production techniques.

Brandon recommends current Avant students take full advantage of the institute's immersive, real-world learning environment. He urges them to absorb as much as they can from the experienced instructors, and to focus on building relationships with fellow future engineers that can pay dividends throughout their careers.

Gaining Valuable Experience After Graduation:

After graduating from Avant, Brandon wasted no time gaining practical experience. He interned at Celebrity Sound Studios, ran live sound at a church full time while also freelancing at AR Records' studio, and tried his hand at various engineering roles around the city. After two years of experimenting in the field, Brandon realized the recording studio was his true passion.

Applying His Avant Education:

The recording fundamentals and Pro Tools training Brandon received at Avant enabled him to secure gigs right out of school. He says the certification helps you stand out from self-taught engineers. Avant also connected Brandon with industry contacts that gave him a head start. He still considers his Avant teachers to be trusted mentors.

Achieving Success:

Brandon has recorded and engineered songs for major artists like Sally Sossa, Coi Leray, PGF Nuk, Erica Banks, Key Glock, Chase B, Don Toliver, and Dice Soho. His work engineering Sally Sossa's songs led to a prominent studio role with her label, Interscope Records. Brandon also had the opportunity to work on a music for the HBO show "House of Ho".

Keys to Success:

Brandon believes constantly developing his skills both at Avant and on the job has opened doors and elevated his profile. Though the music industry is unpredictable, Brandon encourages Avant students to see the bigger picture, not expecting immediate success. He says you must truly love the audio engineering craft and music itself, not to chase potential money and fame.


Brandon's dedication to honing his passion since attending Avant has allowed him to progress from a bedroom beat-maker to a professional studio engineer working with some of music's rising stars. His journey demonstrates how an Avant education combined with tireless hustle can transform an aspiring student into an in-demand industry force.

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