By ANDREW GAUG
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN MAN HAS turned his childhood passion into a career, and now, a media group.
Mike Moritz owns Kontinuous Jams Media Group in Boardman, which includes a recording studio, music lesson rooms, an area where CDs are printed and designed and, if his hopes get fulfilled, a dance studio.
And Moritz is only 25 years old.
The business began in Moritz’s parent’s basement as a simple recording studio. Eventually, it grew to the point where he had turned a second-floor apartment above the Durkin Financial & Loan Services, 4717 Market St., into a recording studio and music lesson space.
Now, as business continues to grow, he has moved to a bigger building at 6911 Market St. His business has the top floor. Youngstown Cycle Supply last year moved into the bottom floor, which used to house Prizant’s Carpet.
Moritz is holding an open house the week of Oct. 8. Business is normally done by appointment, but Kontinuous Jams will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 12 so people can take a look around the studio.
With 4,500 square feet of space, Kontinuous Jams has four times as much room as it did before.
“We had ran out of space,” Moritz said. “The lessons, they had just taken over.”
Room for both
Before, recording sessions often couldn’t take place while lessons were occurring because the sound traveling through the walls would interfere. Now, Moritz has room to do both.
“We now can accommodate larger bands [for recording],” he said.
Those using the recording studio include rock bands, community bands, chamber orchestras and vocalists. The business also records TV and radio commercials and produces jingles.
Moritz has added more teachers to the roster. Not only do they offer lessons, but they also provide tips for surviving in the music business.
“We have people who have come off road tours,” he said, “They offer real-world consultation on musicianship.”
Kontinuous Jams offers lessons in piano, guitar, voice and drums.
In addition, the studio is able to make more than 2,000 CDs a day as well as also offer special learning software for students taking lessons.
Moritz career in music began as a child when he took piano lessons. A pivotal moment came in the eighth grade when his music director invited him to sit in on some recording sessions.
“I was hooked then,” he said.
When Moritz opened his first recording studio in his parents’ basement in 1997, he said he intended to make some money and tweak his recording abilities.
“I actually set it up as a business, not a hobby,” he said.
While honing his recording skills, Moritz was scouted by the then-managing director of the Youngstown Playhouse, Bob Vargas, to be its music director in residence in 2000. He has continued in that post, directing musicals, and also was executive director of the Playhouse in 2003 and 2004.
Moritz also traveled along the East Coast as a session musician, mostly for jazz albums, and directed musicals and revues.
Moritz said he hopes the music scene in Youngstown and Boardman will continue to thrive.
“I have no complaints about the music pulse in Youngstown and Boardman,” he said. “I would just love to see it going in the direction it’s going.”
When Moritz is not running his business, he said nothing is more soothing than jamming on an instrument.
“My true love is just sitting down at the piano,” he said.
Though he never thought it would happen, Moritz said he feels blessed to be living out his dream.
“To actually see it all come into fruition, it’s really amazing,” he said. “It can only get better.”