Matthew Nickles secured an internship in audio engineering at Clair Global in Bethlehem
Learner's passion for music turns into more than just a hobby
Commonwealth Charter Academy learner Matthew Nickles said it was “so surreal” working on rapper Wiz Khalifa’s background track for his New Year’s Eve show in Times Square – not something many high school students get to do.
Nickles is a driven, successful senior from Hellertown, Pennsylvania. He’s been a musician since seventh grade. Watching a documentary on MTV about his favorite band growing up, Blink-182, solidified his passion for the music industry. He plays guitar, bass and has recorded a demo of original songs.
Through CCA, Nickles was able to make his passion into more than just a hobby.
“CCA’s major strength is that they structure schoolwork around students’ lives,” Nickles said. “They are always willing to help you in whatever ways they can.”
Nickles enrolled in one of CCA’s Conservatory programs, where he was able to take a “profiler test.” This test helps learners determine in what careers and industries they could succeed. Nickles scored the highest in the artistic category, prompting CCA staff to help him find a job in a creative field.
Nickles secured an internship in audio engineering with Josh Fluck this past winter. Fluck is a backline technician for Clair Global, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He’s also a sound technician for popular R&B singer Usher.
Fluck has served as Nickles’ internship coordinator and mentor for about three months, and praises the work ethic and enthusiasm Nickles brings.
“Matt is a very quick learner, speaks his mind and has a strong grasp on the music industry,” Fluck said. “He stays level-headed and never gets stressed easily. In this high-paced industry, it’s key to stay calm and collected.”
Nickles said it’s been an amazing experience working with Fluck as well.
“With Josh, no question is a stupid one,” Nickles said. “He’s willing to work with me no matter what, and is committed to having me learn the ropes in this business.”
Fluck was approached by Wiz Khalifa’s sound team to do a mix of background music for Wiz Khalifa’s New Year’s Eve show in Times Square. After receiving the assignment and obtaining the equipment needed, Fluck had Nickles over to his home studio to work on mixing the track.
“I started by explaining each individual track, what each was, how it was recorded and what we had to do to make it sound as great as possible,” Fluck said.
After creating a finished product that satisfied them both, Fluck sent the track over to Wiz Khalifa’s team. They loved it. Nickles said he was excited watching Wiz Khalifa’s performance on New Year's Eve at home with his family and hearing the track he helped mix play on live television.
After he graduates from CCA, Nickles plans to work in construction, while also recording himself and local bands playing music on weekends. He hopes to eventually open his own home studio to turn music into a full-time career.
“It’s going to take time, work and effort,” Nickles said. “But if I work hard enough, I know I can get there.”
Fluck has high hopes for Nickles and knows he will accomplish his goals.
“There are obstacles kids face around his age where they want to give up, or move onto something that’s less stressful,” Fluck said. “But with the right attitude, anything is attainable. Matt has that attitude.”
Nickles wants other young people to know that they should never give up on dreams.
“A year ago, I never would have thought I would be interning with a recording school,” Nickles said. “You never know what the next day will bring. If you’re dedicated and have heart, you can do whatever your mind wants.”