Studio Pros artist Eliza Kelley has been a professional musician for years, but not of the rock variety. With a master’s degree in French Horn performance from Boston University, she has been playing and teaching classical music for a living in her hometown of Atlanta, GA. “I play with the Greenville Symphony, and I play in Atlanta with the Atlanta Pops and the ballet and the opera,” she says. “Those gigs are very fun, but they’re also very serious, very focused and high-pressure.”
Looking to enjoy the lighter side of music, Kelley took up a hobby as a singer/songwriter, a decision she’s glad she made. “I’ve been totally having a ball with it,” she says. But she didn’t initially intend on playing the indie-rock that now defines her sound until she began collaborating with Studio Pros. Originally writing pop songs with cello and percussion arrangements, it was a conversation with Studio Pros’ head engineer Kati O’Toole that convinced Kelley to go the rock band route. “When I talked to Kati the first time, she told me about the full production,” she remembers. “I thought I’d try it. I’m really happy with the direction it’s taken with Studio Pros. It does make me want to find a guitarist and bassist that I can go out and gig with.”
Kelley found Studio Pros while searching for ways to get professional recordings of her songs. “I was trying to record my own stuff. I have plenty of friends that are musicians, but getting a good recording, I mean I’m not a sound engineer,” she admits. “I could use some help with it, and I loved that Studio Pros was a great package. You get musicians and pretty much everything’s done for you. I didn’t have to rely on lining people up and doing all of that. I really loved the way that Studio Pros was all-inclusive.”
Her songs would start with a recording of her singing and playing piano. Then she would send the song to Studio Pros’ world-class session musicians, starting with the drummer. “Sometimes I’d send in ideas for him, and sometimes I’d let him have fun,” she explains. “I’ve been very pleased with both ways. I was excited that I could get some fresh ideas and new spins on my songs. That was probably the most surprising part, and also the most exciting part. [The Studio Pros musicians] have taken my songs in a new direction, which is good.” Kelley was also pleased that she didn’t have to write out every note and could trust the studio musicians to build professional parts around her songwriting.
When each song was ready, Kelley would record her own vocals, then send it back for Studio Pros’ Grammy-nominated engineer to mix and master. “I really enjoyed the process and would definitely recommend it to any of my friends,” she says.
Kelley is planning on recording a full album with Studio Pros, then getting her music up on iTunes and other online distribution outlets. That Studio Pros helped her record her songs while juggling an already busy schedule was an added plus. “This is more of a hobby for me, but I’m really, really having a good time with it. It’s not how I pay my mortgage, but that would be nice!”
“It’s been fun, it’s been easy, and it hasn’t been breaking the bank,” Kelley adds. “It’s also been incredibly helpful. Any time I run into something that’s giving me a challenge, Kati has been wonderful with that process. I just appreciate it.”
Listen to more of Eliza’s songs at www.elizakelley.com