Not many people grow up with a clear understanding of what they want to be in life. But David Erinle had a clue.
“My mom would say that when she was pregnant with me and in church, I would always kick on beat,” said Erinle, a senior business management major at George Mason University with a music technology minor. “So I like to say I was playing drums, before I was even born.”
His family gave Erinle his first drum set at age 3, and a keyboard at 8, with which he produced and recorded beats. So when Erinle started his own independent record label, he called it Blackburn Sound in honor of his childhood home on Blackburn Court in Montgomery County, Md.
“Everything I do now is a derivative of what happened there, and what started there,” said Erinle. “So I had to pay homage to that place, that’s where you get the Blackburn Sound.”
That sound is getting noticed thanks to Erinle’s tireless promotion of his brand and projects on social media, and the contacts he made because of it.
Grammy-nominated songwriter Jarmone Davis, who co-wrote wrote Marvin Sapp’s “Yes You Can,” which was No. 1 on the MediaBase gospel singles charts, is a mentor. Erinle has also interned with producer Javon Gant-Graham, who engineered Goldlink’s Grammy-nominated song “Crew.”
Erinle even produced a track for model Ashley Graham’s new swimsuit line commercial.
“What makes him stand out is his comprehension of technical and musical perspectives at such an early start in his career,” Gant-Graham said. “David is a bright musical mind, his curiosity is a trait not given to many.”
“As an audio engineer, sometimes I have to make a lot of things happen very quickly, I need to be able to adapt and move at a moment’s notice,” Gant-Graham added. “When I need a second hand, and when I need another mind, David is the person I call to be an extension of myself. He’s my sous-chef.”
Erinle credits Mason with “providing me with the opportunity and resources I needed to learn about the different aspects of music, as well as being able to grow as a producer and gain experience.”
He is also exploring his own sound with a new digital album called “Red Mountain Project,” which he produced in his dorm room studio.
And he has kept to his roots. Though his studio work ended his career with the Green Machine, he had been a drummer with Mason’s nationally known pep band. He still drums, though, for his church.
“David always had a great feel for the song when he played his groove. It just fit,” said Paul Bernfeld, the Green Machine’s administrative and ensemble assistant. “He also has diverse tastes in music, a diverse ear, which is perfect for the studio.”
It also helped with “Red Mountain Project.”
“I think music today, generally, is pretty simple, it doesn’t have many elements,” Erinle said. “But this project is massive, it’s complex. I take listeners on a journey throughout every track.”
“What I’ve grown to love about the industry is seeing something come to fruition from nothing,” he added. “You look back at the finished product, and it’s amazing. For the future, I hope to make music a sustainable career for me and grow my brand.”
Photo by Logan McKennah Brown.