Alumni Spotlight: Joe Khajadourian (Class of 1999)

Photo courtesy of Joe Khajadourian

Joe Khajadourian has a great career in the music industry as an accomplished music producer as well as songwriter. He’s been lucky enough to work with some of the top music artists in the industry such as Chris Brown, the Game, Flo Rida, and more.

He and his music partner Alex Schwartz formed a group called The Futuristics. They were nominated for a Grammy last year. In 2011 they produced an Emmy nominated short on “SNL” called “3-Way (The Golden Rule). The short featured Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, and Andy Samburg.

They have also had a hand in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise as producers. They produced the theme song “We Own it” which went platinum.

For Khajadourian, it all started at GHC, however. He was in many of the music programs on campus.

“I really enjoyed immersing myself in all the different programs at the time. I was in jazz band, music theory, and a computer-based composing class that opened my eyes to computer-based songwriting and composing. I really liked all the kids in those classes as well, we had been supplied acoustic guitars to use freely so we would always hang around the music rooms during lunch and have jam sessions. I have very fond memories of those times spent in the music department at Granada,” Khajadourian said.

The skills and knowledge he gained in his classes helped him as a songwriter, which pushed him to becoming a performing artist as well. Khajadourian struggled with anxiety and panic attacks starting in his freshman year, but the counselors helped him work through it. Music also gave him an outlet to work through those issues.

“A special memory that comes to mind was when my band Signal performed for the whole school during lunch time out in the center of the campus. We set up our equipment and loud speakers on the outdoor stage and we had hundreds of students watching and supporting. It was my senior year and the performance was part of my senior project. Mrs. Sharp was my English teacher and she gave me an A,” Khajadourian said.

Khajadourian studied political science at Cal State Northridge, which was a lot of work considering he was also still working full time and managing his band full time. But he recognizes that those educational years were foundational for him before dedicating his career to music.

A career in the music industry is not always what high school students expect. There are many more opportunities in the field than the musicians.

“As my career progressed and I learned more about the business side of the music industry, it was very different from what I had imagined as a teenager. There’s so many different jobs and ways to make a living in the music industry that I never knew existed. My passion always stayed on the creative side of the industry but I needed to hire many different music lawyers and managers to help navigate my music career through the years,” Khajadourian said.

Because there are so many different paths, Khajadourian advises prospective musicians and those interested in the industry to learn as much about the different paths as they can, especially through internships at record labels, music studios, management companies, etc.

“There are many exciting jobs that don’t require you to play any musical instruments. From working on the label side, publishing side, creative side, management side, legal side etc., there’s an endless world of options, and I think internships are the best way to learn about these things and figure out if there’s a certain facet of the music industry that excites you the most. I met many of the people I still work with today either directly or indirectly from an internship I did at a music label after high school,” Khajadourian said.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper