The race to draw big acts to any recording space seems relentless in a musical mecca like Nashville, but what can help provide the winning edge? A favorite beverage? A picture of a famous scientist? On the Creative Spaces Podcast, Juanita Copeland, the president, COO and general manager of the thriving Sound Emporium studios makes the case that the combination of an artist's experience and a studio's deference for the "sacred" nature of music creation make the difference. Copeland and Sound Emporium have worked with heavy hitters including Willie Nelson, Pharrell WIlliams, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and many more. She talked about some of the fascinating requests talented musicians make when they step inside the studio.
Note: Following are excerpts from the full interview with Juanita Copeland. The interview was conducted by Kevin Booth, Auralex director of sales and marketing. Robb Wenner, Auralex director of artist relations, produces the podcast and jumps in with questions. To hear the full interview, subscribe to Auralex Creative Spaces on your podcast platform of choice.
You've had the opportunity to work with a lot of bands and artists, obviously, we've listed some of those in the beginning (of the podcast) -- Willie Nelson to Pharrell, just tons -- and, what types of things, you know, obviously treat (artists) like family, that's an important thing, too. What other types of things inspire the creativity for the studio?
Well, you have to give them a space with a lot of vibe. That's the million dollar word in this industry is "vibe." Because, if they walk into a room and it feels like a dentist's office, 'eeeeeek,' you know, but it's -- this is a customer service industry. Don't even be fooled into thinking it's anything but. And we go above and beyond. If we know Robert wants his particular type of tea -- Robert Plant -- and Alison wants Fiji water... Which, that's as high-maintenance as they get, believe it or not... You know, Willie Nelson wanted Folger's Coffee and boiled eggs. And Pharrell, all Pharrell wanted was purple Pedialyte and a picture of Carl Sagan on the left-hand side of the wall when he came in!
<laughter> That's awesome!
Not a big deal! But, paying attention to those little things and, you know, giving them all the creature comforts... Anything that's going to make them feel more at home, because this is their recording home. This is a sacred space that art is made and I take that seriously and the art that's made here is going to long survive me and you and, you know, them. So, I take it seriously, because the little, teeny, tiny details... The devil really is in the details and it matters here. And, you know, when I get a text from Alison Krauss -- they were here for the last, almost week. They taped (Jimmy) Fallon, they taped (Steven) Colbert, they did the NPR Tiny Desk (concert series), but getting a text from her after the first night saying "Juanita, you and your staff are A-List. You are the best in town. I just love you guys. Thank you so much for taking care of us." I mean, that just means the world to me and all of that matters. And, you know, when you're dealing with the woman who's won the most GRAMMY's (Krauss) and the "Golden God" (Plant), you know... They're unassuming, but you have to make it comfortable. You have to anticipate need and you have to listen.
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