Right out of high school in 2012, Dexter Kodat moved from his hometown of Clinton, New York, to Los Angeles to study political science and work as a personal trainer. He soon discovered that he had committed to a major that he was not exactly passionate about, all while struggling to make a living in fitness. Dexter says he had a great experience during his time in LA and has no regrets about getting a degree in poli-sci, but reflects on just how young he was when he made that decision.
“When you’re 18, 19 years old, it’s like, ‘Alright, pick a major,’” says Dexter. “Well, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life yet. Some people did, and that’s great, but I definitely didn’t.”
A little over a decade later, Dexter’s life looks very different. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, he’s a graduate of Berklee, and he is working at one of the most iconic recording studios in the world: Electric Lady Studios. For Dexter, it has been a journey discovering his passion for music and landing in the hallowed recording rooms that have captured the sounds of B.B. King, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and many more. It all started when Dexter left LA to move closer to his parents in Philadelphia, and enrolled in a course at his local community college: Intro to Logic (the music production software, not the philosophy pursuit).
“I always thought that making music was this magical thing,” he says. “Having someone tell me, ‘This is how this piece of software works, this is how you can record live instruments, or this is how you can use MIDI instruments,’ was so cool. I didn’t know it was something that you could study.”
Dexter had played in his high school band, but music production was a new frontier. He sought out to learn much more than just Logic, earning his Proficiency Certificate in Music Production from the Community College of Philadelphia. He then discovered that CCP and Berklee Online have a transfer partnership that would allow him to transfer his credits seamlessly into a degree program.
“It was actually the head of the music department at the Community College of Philadelphia who told me that there was this partnership with Berklee Online, and he recommended that I apply and see what came of it.”
As it turns out, good things came of it. In May 2023, Dexter graduated from Berklee Online with his bachelor’s degree in Music Production, becoming the first Berklee Online student to graduate through a transfer partnership program.
“Berklee’s faculty and student body is an astonishingly diverse group of people from all over the world, people of different ages and walks of life, and to see how a shared love of music can bring people together in that way was a beautiful thing,” says Dexter.
As Dexter was wrapping up his final few semesters at Berklee Online, he set his sights on working at Electric Lady Studios. The renowned recording studio in Greenwich Village was commissioned by Jimi Hendrix in 1968 and designed by audio engineer Eddie Kramer and architect John Storyk, the latter of whom co-authored the graduate Berklee Online course Architectural, Acoustic, and Audio System Design for the Modern Music Production Studio.
“I just really wanted to work there,” says Dexter about Electric Lady Studios. “It seemed like such a cool place and so well-known in the audio world.”
After completing a three-month internship, Dexter works at Electric Lady as a full-time general assistant and also does live sound gigs on the side. He plans to keep developing his craft, making connections in NYC, and making music for himself or for others.
“There was always a part of me that was questioning whether going into music was the right move, because it was such a dramatic shift from everything else I was doing,” he says. “But I think Berklee was a continuation of what I was feeling at the Community College of Philadelphia, with my professors and my classmates, where it was like, ‘okay, this is where I should be. These are the people who I should be surrounding myself with, and this is the kind of work that I should be doing.’”