Creative artists play and record their own music at local studio

The Southlake Journal
Wednesday, August 8th 2012

Kids from 6 to 17 recorded two CDs of original music professionally recorded and mixed by two local musicians.

by Nicholas Sakelaris

SOUTHLAKE – Rather than simply covering Taylor Swift songs, Emma Hinkley says she finds that same artist’s inspiration and writes material based on her own life experiences.

The 14-year-old plays guitar, piano and sings on ‘You Are’ & ‘Summer Rose’ with a voice that echoes the honesty and innocence of Swift. But she said sh needed more elements to make her songs complete.

That’s where Hall Music Productions in Southlake comes in.  Music teachers David Hall & Andrew O’Hearn push students of all ages to play music from their favorite artists and create their own compositions. Then Hall & O’Hearn fill in on background with drums, bass and other elements, and mix the recording in their studio.

“We have so many creative kids, we just want to give them the outlet to do it,” Hall said. “They’re actually creating, they’re not emulating. They’re expressing themselves with something original.”

The Southlake studio has produced two CDs: Home Grown Volume 1 & 2 with 41 songs written and performed by artists ranging from 6 to 17.

For the children and teenagers, it’s a chance to hear a more complete and professionally recorded version of their creation.

“It was a really cool experience to see everything come together,” Emma said. “Andrew filled in everything in the backup to help build up the track. He and David bring everything together.”

In addition to being featured on the Home Grown CD, Emma has recorded a 6-track EP that she hopes to pitch to record companies.

Noel Shastid, 13, wrote a heartfelt song called “Priceless.” She said she couldn’t believe how much the song changed when O’Hearn added new elements.

“Anything that isn’t piano or singing is him,” Noel said. “When I heard the final cut of the song it was just really different. It’s amazing.”

Soleil Singh recorded songs showcasing her piano and singing skills for both CDs when she was 9 years old.

“I was just playing the piano and then all this editing and all this guitar and bass came in,” she said. “I thought it was a great opportunity to hear myself on a CD.”

Singer and lead guitarist Bailey Sullivan, 15, and his band, Truth in Thought recorded Sold Down the River of Trust, a six-minute metal track with several tempo changes and guitar solos.

“”It’s really neat to be able to come into a place where I take lessons and be professionally recorded,” Bailey said.

Bailey’s vocals and guitar draw inspiration from all genres, including heavy metal and jazz.

Although the basement studio shares a building with other professional offices in the Offices at Byron Nelson, sound dampening prevents the drums and other instruments from disturbing the tenants.

O’Hearn says he sees the recording and editing process as an educational opportunity for the young musicians.

“I tell them everything I’m doing and I encourage them to ask questions,” said O’Hearn, a member of the local band, Shaolin Death Squad.

Hom Grown Volume 1 and 2 are available at the studio, 630 East Southlake Blvd., or on iTunes.