Prince Charles Alexander is a sought-after recording and mixing engineer whose clients include Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child, Faith Evans, P. Diddy, the Notorious B.I.G., Usher, Boyz II Men, Brandy, Babyface, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Usher, Brian McKnight, and others. Alexander has garnered more than 40 Platinum and Gold certifications from the RIAA and has multiple Grammy Awards and nominations. He holds an adjunct instructor position at New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, has taught audio technology at the Institute of Audio Research, and is a frequent lecturer at the City College of New York in Manhattan.
He teaches advanced production and mixing at Berklee. From the early to mid 80s, he produced, wrote, and recorded on Virgin Records with his group, Prince Charles and the City Beat Band. Alexander was an early innovator of wind synthesis and a part of the "punk-funk" generation that incorporated many of the devices that would propel rap music to the forefront of the American music scene.
"I want to create, in my classroom, an environment that closely mirrors my experience in the real world. I'm a former recording artist, a producer, an engineer. . . . I've managed, I've done tour support, I've done live sound. . . . So I want to teach my students how to survive in the music business and put them in as many realistic situations as possible. If you're going to take advantage of this educational process, you need to investigate as many of those tangents as possible. You never know when one of them might be the one that opens the door."
"In my classes I'm trying to look at what music has become, so I'm actually studying the billboard charts, the current music this week, and asking, 'Why does it sound like that and what are the connections to everything that has gone before? Do you hear any jazz in this record? Do you hear any blues?' It might be a challenge for an uneducated ear to perceive why that newest thing is connected to everything that came before. So we'll do analysis of current music—not just listening, but recreating. In many ways, that's exactly how I learned when I was a kid. I listened to great records and said, 'I want to sound like that; how do I do it?' We don't have to reinvent the wheel. All the components, everything we want to do in terms of creating music, already exist. It's just a matter of fine tuning our sensibility as to what to draw on and when to draw on it."
"I work with high-profile artists, and sometimes that's a challenge, because the situations that I'm in and the equipment that I use are out of reach for my students. The microphone that I use is a $6,000 microphone; the microphone that they use is a $400 microphone. So I've got to draw a connection between how these things are similar. I have to stay current; I've got to cover the same tools the students use. So I will bring my projects in and ask the students to analyze them. When I'm mixing in New York I might have one or two students come in to look at what I'm doing so they can give me some feedback. That feedback is really important, and it gives them a sense of how my work relates to what I've been telling them in class."