James Forbes is one of the most experienced, well-rounded audio engineers and instructors in all of Florida. He is one of our head instructors for "The Art of Sound Recording", our 10-week audio engineer training program here at Clear Track Studios, as well as one of our most popular audio engineers for many of Clear Track's clients. James' recording mastery and decades of experience has established him as one with the knowledge and know-how to effectively run any type of session no matter the genre.
Son of famed sportswriter Gordon Forbes (USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sports Illustrated), James was born in Jacksonville but moved north to the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area when he was young. At an early age, James was drawn into the sounds of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Rush, Van Halen and Iron Maiden and was blown away by the wicked songs, genius musicians and the powerful sonics of the music. To emulate his favorite players in rock, James started playing guitar but found that he was more so fascinated with how records were produced, engineered and mixed. This world was opened up to him when he studied audio production in the early 80’s under engineer/producer Joe Alexander (Dream Theatre, Vinnie Moore, Patti Labelle, Vanessa Williams, Teddy Pendergrass) at the legendary Kajem Studios in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.
Specializing in rock, metal, pop and jazz, James provides a rare type of expertise for all clients to benefit from. Having logged over 30 years in professional recording studios and working with numerous artists on Warner Brothers, Epic Records, Metal Blade, Universal Records, Roadrunner, Sony, TVT, Sensory Records and Arista Records, etc. Having engineered many acts, ranging from Heaven's Edge, Fear of God, Cintron, Vivian Green to members of Boyz II Men, John Blackwell, John Legend, The Roots and Patti Labelle, and having worked with and learned from engineering legends such as Shelly Yakus, Andy Wallace, Scott Hull, and Neil Kernon to name a few, James is not only a wealth of information in the music industry but a seasoned engineer in all aspects of recording.
Utilizing his talents to prepare a future generations of engineers, James worked in higher education as an audio instructor at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida for 7 years. In 2007, James relocated to Tampa Bay where he continued to teach audio production but at International Academy of Design and Technology Tampa campus from until 2015. Currently, James has been focusing on his company Vortex Music Productions, working as a engineer outside of Clear Track Studios and educating students as an audio instructor for the “Art of Sound Recording” with Mike Johnson. With his extensive engineering background and 25+ years of experience behind the console, both clients and students alike enjoy an unanimously fortuitous advantage when working with James.