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Voice Of The Crew - Since 2002

Los Angeles, California

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LA Studios Special: Iron CEO sidebar

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Jesse Meli, CEO of L.A. Studios Inc., is a high priest in the cause of audio. He has written articles advocating a more serious appreciation of sound in television and film. He has called audio post on commercials a “bastard step-child” of the industry. “I’ve seen my articles framed on my competitors’ walls!” he remarks. He is an audiophile who runs a company staffed by audiophiles, which accounts for the high quality clients experience at L.A. Studios and the two Margarita Mix facilities.But Jesse Meli is also something else. To put it plainly, he is big. Huge. A power-lifter, with the sort of brawn one sees on a pro wrestler, and of gravelly voice of a heavy in an old Warner Brothers film noir.“Let’s face it—I don’t look like a typical CEO,” Meli admits. “Someone once called me the biggest thing in sound.” A self-described A-type New Yorker, with abundant restless energy (“I’m wound up pretty tight!”), Meli has been a serious body-builder for 15 years. “It was strongly suggested to me by just about everybody I know, to channel some of my, um, enthusiasm,” he says wryly. Discovering himself to be a natural at power-lifting, he found that it soon became a lifestyle. “I’m a really busy guy, I run three companies, but no matter what, I make the time to go to the gym six days a week.”The benefits of body-building are several. Not only does he do it to increase focus and blow off steam, he has increasingly found the gym to be an excellent place to meet new clients. “In LA the gym gives great opportunities to meet people who are doing cool projects, and we’ve gotten business as a result,” says Meli.He’s even taken meetings at the gym with clients and staff. “There’s nothing like being on the bench under 600 pounds. It opens you up, and when I expose that kind of vulnerability, people recognize my sincerity.“I’m pretty much a pussy cat, as my co-workers will attest. But I’m scary to look at. I can use that to my advantage. I walk into meetings sometimes and get asked if I’m the bodyguard of the boss. When they hear that I am the boss, they get so embarrassed that they give me everything I ask for!”

Written by Henry Turner

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