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Building a Top NYC Recording Studio with Michael Kevin Walsh

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Building a Top NYC Recording Studio with Michael Kevin Walsh

Michael Kevin Walsh is the owner of The Smooth Spot, a premier recording studio located in midtown Manhattan. Known for its high-quality vocal recording and professional video production services, The Smooth Spot caters to a diverse range of clients, from aspiring artists to seasoned professionals.

In this interview, Michael shares insights on the inspiration behind The Smooth Spot, the challenges of setting up a recording studio, and the strategies that have contributed to its success. You’ll learn valuable tips for aspiring studio owners and get a glimpse into the future plans for this esteemed recording space.

Inspiration Behind The Smooth Spot

SBS – What inspired you to start The Smooth Spot, and how did you identify the need for a recording studio in midtown Manhattan?

Michael – My inspiration for The Smooth Spot was my fascination with music and audio technology. I began my artistic journey as a performer, and I felt the recording industry could really benefit from a recording studio influenced by a performer’s sensibilities. Midtown Manhattan is also the Broadway Theater District and it is the center of so much activity for actors and musicians that it seemed the perfect location for The Smooth Spot.

Overcoming Challenges in Setting Up a Recording Studio

SBS – Can you describe some of the unique challenges you faced when setting up your recording studio and how you overcame them?

Michael – The constantly evolving recording technology has been a continuing challenge in my business. Many times, I have had to make difficult purchasing decisions and faced the learning curve of adopting new systems to keep up with the ever-changing world of audio and video technology.

Ensuring High-Quality Recordings

SBS – How do you ensure the highest quality recordings in your studio? What equipment or techniques set you apart from other studios?

Michael – Over the long term, the key to high-quality audio recordings has remained the same: the best microphones. I have insisted on using the best microphones for each type of recording, and that has resulted in a consistent high-quality product. As far as techniques, my most important skill has been careful listening and making adjustments to enhance the quality of the performance of the clients.

The Smooth Spot studio

Managing Client Relationships

SBS – How do you approach client relationships, especially with first-time artists versus accomplished professionals?

Michael – With all client relationships, I think that listening carefully to understand the needs and goals of the client is the most important element. I work to over-deliver as far as quality is concerned and communicate very clearly and thoroughly with the client as to what I am doing for them at each step in the process. With first-time artists, more guidance is required, and I ease them into the process and help them to feel comfortable and capable of doing their best work.

Effective Marketing Strategies

SBS – What marketing strategies have been most effective in attracting a diverse range of clients to The Smooth Spot?

Michael – Recommendations from extremely satisfied clients, including Broadway stars and composers, have been the most effective marketing strategy. I also get many new clients from Google searches so effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been essential.

Memorable Projects

SBS – Can you share an example of a particularly memorable project or client experience and what made it special?

Michael – A few years ago, I was hired to be the musical director of Sally and Tom: The American Way for the Castillo Theater/All Stars Project (ASP) here in New York City. ASP is dedicated to promoting human development through the use of an innovative performance and development-based model. The project involved working with the singers on all the material and then recording tracks for the performance of the show. The material was a challenging and fascinating piece about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings and the early history of the United States. The cast was very talented, and the production team, including the director, Gabrielle Kurlander, and my creative partner, David Belmont, were wonderful to work with, and I learned a great deal from the experience. Additionally, I won the Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Award for Best Musical Director.

Staying Updated with the Trends

SBS – How do you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in the audio and video production industry?

Michael – I have a sales representative at Sweetwater who keeps me abreast of the latest technologies and new products. Also, posts on social media and advertisements.

The Role of Customer Feedback

SBS – What role does customer feedback play in the evolution of your services and studio environment?

Michael – I am always listening to clients about their needs for new marketing materials and how they have evolved. Because so many clients need video demos, I installed motorized green and blue screen backgrounds and invested in excellent professional video cameras so I can help clients with their video demo needs.

Balancing Technical and Creative Aspects

SBS – How do you balance the technical and creative aspects of running a recording studio?

Michael – New technology and software can, at times, inspire me creatively to develop new music and sounds. The creative requirements of the clients inspire me to invent new solutions.

Advice for Aspiring Recording Studio Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to start their own recording studio?

Michael – Love what you are doing and be the impetus for your clients to meet and exceed their dreams.

The Smooth Spot studio staff

Managing the Business Side of a Recording Studio

SBS – How do you manage the business side of the studio, such as pricing, bookings, and client communications?

Michael – The key to my business is personal hands-on service, so I manage all client communications, bookings, etc., with personal calls and emails. I pride myself on fair pricing and billing for only the time that is used.

Common Misconceptions About Running a Recording Studio

SBS – What are some common misconceptions about running a recording studio that you’ve encountered, and how do you address them?

Michael – One common misconception is that there are enough music recording clients. Finding enough clients can be difficult, so I have expanded my client types to include audiobook recordings, voice-over recordings, and video demos.

Future Plans for The Smooth Spot

SBS – What are your future plans for The Smooth Spot, and how do you envision the studio evolving in the coming years?

Michael – To continue to provide excellent, affordable recording services for an ever-widening variety of clients. I want to continue to provide encouragement to help artists develop their talent, enhance their confidence, and realize their dreams.


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Building a Top NYC Recording Studio with Michael Kevin Walsh