With a résumé stretching from Sheryl Crow to Alejandro Sanz, 10-time Grammy winner Rafa Sardina wears many hats: musician, engineer, mixer and producer.
First breaking into the business as a live sound mixer in northern Spain and the south of France, he translated his affinity for musicians into the studio. "I think that at the end of the day they represent the same craft," he affirms. "The most important skill you develop by being a live sound engineer is the art of knowing what moves people, what techniques convey the emotions you are trying to transmit through the music."
The L.A.-based Sardina believes technical wizardry should be in service to the song. "The lyrics are as important as the music or the production, if not more. The most fundamental way of touching people is through the message."
Recent behind-the-board projects include Mis Romances with Mexican balladeer Luis Miguel, and Mediterraneo with guitarist Marc Antoine. At the invitation of composer/music supervisor Camara Kambon, he worked on the Lions Gate release Madea's Family Reunion starring Tyler Perry. "Camara is a good friend. We go back to my first gigs in L.A. He is an amazingly talented composer and producer, plus it helps that he is a wonderful person," Sardina avows.
Now producing and developing new talent, Sardina first identifies what makes an artist special and then reinforces the strongest points through song selection and songwriting. "It's so important to be very aware of the songwriting/pre-production part of the process," he qualifies. "That's where the magic happens and sometimes those little brilliant moments don't repeat themselves. I always make pre-production the beginning of the recording process; it's where 90 percent of the creativity happens. You have to be there in order to really know the artist and help make the project flourish."