As huge music fans, we reached out to one of the biggest recording studios in Nashville, Blackbird, and were excited to stop in for a tour. The only look into a studio I’d had before was at Disney’s MGM theme park when waiting in line for Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect as far as a real studio is concerned.
There are 8 main studios at Blackbird, each used for the same overall purpose, but each studio having a unique use. We learned that on any given day, all 8 studios will be in use at the same time. And what’s also pretty interesting – many artists will run into each other on site during recording breaks and spontaneously decide to work together on a track or two (this happened with Kid Rock and another musician from Detroit as well as Keith Urban and a band from Australia).
The photo above was taken in Studio A. From this view, you see where the engineers (people doing all of the magic on the tracks in the studio), producers, and label people will sit and listen. You can also see a glass window. On the other side of that, the artist(s) sit/stand. You can vaguely make out a little microphone in the middle of the board. This might look familiar to you from movie scenes in studios where the people behind the board tell the artist, “Let’s try that again.” Pretty cool.
The photo below was taken in one of the larger studios, where artists bring their bands in for a “live jam” session. We learned that it’s extremely rare for the artists and full band to come in to record nowadays, but Blackbird keeps these “live” sessions in tact in their studio, as Nashville is a big music hub.
There were so many cool facts and answers to our questions thrown our way during our tour. For instance, there are hundreds of different types of microphones that can be used during recording. And each artist has a favorite they request when coming into the studio. And these mic names aren’t simple like Mic 2 or Mic P. They each have very technical names.
Studio C (pictured below) was the most unique of the bunch, the walls made of different sized wood blocks to give off a unique sound when recording. This was probably my favorite studio we saw. The room also gave off a very relaxing vibe, something I’m sure is helpful to artists recording!
There was only one studio that we were unable to see on the tour, as it was in use. By who? None other than Keith Urban. As if touring a big recording studio wasn’t cool enough, we sort of had an encounter with Keith, as he opened the curtains in the studio in the window directly in front of our car as we were leaving the studio. The calm, cool, collected atmosphere that comes out of both the studio and Nashville locals is crazy – but awesome. We might’ve also snapped a quick picture posing next to his Bentley..
Big thank you to Blackbird Studio for giving us the opportunity to gain some insight into the recording process and see where some of our favorite artists record (e.g. Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Needtobreathe).