By Manus Hopkins
Annelise Noronha ’ s résumé could take up practically this entire page . She ’ s primarily known as a producer and sound engineer , but is also a writer and composer , as well as an artist in her own right . Her work ranges from sound engineering for indie acts and mega-stars alike , to mixing film scores , to performing on global festival stages , and she ’ s also a member of many organizations including the Audio Engineering Society ( AES ) and the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ( CARAS ).
Originally born in England , Noronha has been in Canada since she was three-yearsold . While growing up in Milton , ON , with her two brothers , parents , and grandparents , she had her sights set on being a musician .
“ Despite being brought up in a very strict household , we were encouraged to explore sports , music , and the arts ,” she says . “ I took many drawing and painting courses as well as lessons in piano , organ , guitar , and drums .”
In high school , Noronha dreamed of being a session musician and recalls a guidance counsellor condescendingly telling her to have something to fall back on . This was in the days before high-end recording technology was accessible at home , but a friend of Noronha ’ s owned a four-track and they recorded demos throughout high school . This sparked Noronha ’ s interest in recording and that became her “ fall-back career .”
After high school , Noronha studied recording engineering at Fanshawe College . She still wanted to make music for a living , but school showed her that she was adept at engineering and had pretty good ears for someone so young , as she puts it .
“ From school , I applied to all the big studios and got 100 % rejections ,” she says . “ So , I interned at Music Lane Mastering , until I convinced Brian Mitchell at Studio 306 to give me a job as the studio assistant .”
From there , Noronha interviewed for an assistant position at Digital Sound and Post , and then was asked to interview for Manta Eastern Sound , where she landed what she calls “ the most formative job of my life .” Interestingly , it was one of the studios that previously rejected her .
“ I worked there for nine years , and this is where most of my learning and connections were formed ,” she says .
Working at Manta Eastern Sound , Noronha found herself assisting some of the top sound engineers at the time , including Gary Gray , John Naslen , John Whynot , James Nichols , Ron Searles , and Colin Linden .
“ The learning was always exponential on the projects they brought through ,” she says . “ So many records , so many film scores and orchestral sessions . The connections and the skills from these years have been the basis of my career as a freelance engineer and mixer ever since .”
Some of Noronha ’ s biggest highlights also come from this time . Working under Gary Gray on orchestral recordings and John Whynot for album mixing are two she mentions specifically .
“ The knowledge I learned from these mentors has been overwhelming ,” she says , adding , “ Also working with Mychael Danna and Lesley Barber as a film score mixer has been significant as far as higher-profile work on the film side .”
As far as work with high-profile artists goes , Noronha got the chance to work with Oscar Peterson and James Brown before they passed , which she says was a gift .
As far as her favourite aspects of working in pro audio , she says it ’ s probably the same for her as it is for most engineers . “ When you finish a banger mix … when you record an inspired performance … when you push yourself to learn new skills and gear ,” she lists . “ There is always a great hit of dopamine that comes along with those things . It ’ s an addiction .”
On the other end , Noronha has also overcome challenges throughout her career . Coming up in a time before the Black Lives Matter and # MeToo movements , she says she never stopped to think about why those challenges existed .
“ I didn ’ t have the social or self-awareness to even consider that some challenges may have been based on my gender or skin colour ,” she explains . “ So , all of those challenges were just challenges , like everyone else , and I solved them by working harder and trying to be the best I could be , networking with a positive attitude , and doing lots of pro bono work to prove my work and my dedication .”
Looking back at earlier days of her career in the ‘ 90s , she says to voice one ’ s
challenges was considered a sign of weakness . “ Not something to be proud of , but that ’ s what it was .”
In 2016 , Noronha moved to Ontario ’ s Prince Edward County , which she calls “ one of the most beautiful places on Earth .” She continued to drive into Toronto every week to work as an audio post engineer , while also having a setup in her home studio for mixing music and composing for television . In the last two years , she pivoted more towards writing music for hire , but still produces and mixes music from her home .
“ I ’ ve also made three of my own records out here , as an artist ,” she says .“ I live in such an inspiring place , it makes you want to thrive and live up to your fullest potential .”
Now at a comfortable place in her career , Noronha ’ s short-term goals include continuing to mix from home and writing music for television . BOB WITH HIS WIFE KAREN
“ These are things I enjoy that also pay the bills ,” she elaborates . “ My long-term goals are to build a substantial professional studio out here in PEC with mastering engineer Heather Kirby , and offer an inspired space to record , mix , and master , as well as offer audio post services that don ’ t exist between Toronto and Montreal .”
With their proposed studio build , Horonha and Kirby both have community engagement projects they would like to fulfill .
“ We are both passionate about creating opportunities and nurturing talent for underrepresented people in this industry and in this region ,” she says .
Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor for Professional Sound .
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