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Weird, Wacky, Wonderful and All of the Above



I’ve been watching this season’s America’s Got Talent and it is impossible not to see the parallels with the recording studio. By the way, I love the show and this year’s judges. When I arrive in the morning at Park Lane Recording studios, the day’s roster is usually filled. Myself, along with our technicians are often seeing artists for the first time. The biggest difference is we are not there to judge – just get them the highest quality recording possible.

While watching AGT, I started thinking of the greats who have passed through our doors and also a few of the not-so-greats. The majority of folks showing up at Park Lane have not called a limo bus or airport shuttle service to get there – although that may be one of their aspirations. Most of our clientele are musicians. Mainly vocalists. We have several speakers too, who want a high caliber presentation, and they are the easy, fast, get-it-done types who don’t want to linger.

The other day the schedule was full, as usual, with a couple of short breaks in-between jobs. Our first client, new to Park Lane Recordings was a young woman, age 16 accompanied by her Mom. She had a quirky stage presence about her, but that can often play in an artist’s favor when performing live. Her exaggerated manner was just one indication of what we thought her performance was to be like. Her goal: She wanted to make a demo to send to several on-air competitions and record companies out in Los Angeles. She didn’t want to shoot it herself, having the sense that a professionally made audition would carry more weight.

As she began and we ran our usual sound checks, she went into an almost trance state. Her manner became serene and it was if she entered a different world. What happened next surprised us all. This kooky, teenage magenta haired girl turned into a Jackie Evancho. We all dropped our jaws at the same time. After recording three songs she came out of her altered state and became the goofy, somewhat normal sixteen-year-old again. It was like two different people occupied that recording booth. With the right agent this kid could reach the stars, and we can say it all started at Park Lane Recordings.

On another occasion, several weeks back an older gentleman had an hour and a half of scheduled recording time slotted for late morning. He was perhaps in his late sixties and was a retired aerospace engineer. Nice guy and filled with confidence. Once again going through our regular routine of sound checks and making the client feel comfortable in a new environment, we got set to record. He had a recorded soundtrack to accompany him. I must admit, my eyebrows went up when I saw his back-up track was Guns & Roses. One, two, three and . . . the guy started wailing into the mic. He screamed inaudible lyrics that collided like the inevitability of a bus stuck on a country road train track. Thing is – he was happy. He walked out pleased with our services, his recording and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again.

I love this business. There is nothing mundane about it. Every day holds a unique experience. I get to see the diversity of life through the eyes of (mostly) amateur star-stricken, wanna-bees that believe in themselves and their talent. Every day I’m reminded that gifts come in all forms and they are often perceived vastly different from my eyes and ears to someone else’s.

I appreciate the diversity and say bring it on – Park Lane Recordings is the place to be all you can be – even if it’s weird, whackey, wonderful and all of the above.


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