Michael Frasinelli: Chief Audio Engineer / Producer
By the time I was 14 years old I knew I wanted to work in a studio my entire life, quickly losing most of my guitar and keyboard chops I had acquired up to that point to research synth design, recording/mixing technique, and audio equipment. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and in Pittsburgh if you wanted to make a living working on music (at least while I lived there), it was hip hop, RnB, and/or EDM. With my dad later moving to Lawrenceville, I was mere blocks away from the original ID Labs, the studio made famous by Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa, and I made every effort to hang around there as much as possible. I was only maybe 16 at the time, but with a couple years under my belt, some of my artists had gained enough of a following to warrant being recorded in ID Labs, with me then mixing the project.
By the time I turned 17 and had in some capacity been professionally working on music for the last 3 years, I knew that I wanted to end up somewhere with as much musical diversity as possible, since up to that point I had been limited to the above mentioned genres + my personal childhood rock bands. That place ended up being Nashville, and that is where I have been since 2012.
Only knowing one person in town, my first regular audio related gig was as part of the event crew that covered Nashville’s Stadium’s, Arena’s, and other large concerts, which allowed me to build my personal studio at an accelerated rate. At this time I got to set up for acts such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, Madonna, Foo Fighters, and a few dozen more. By the 2nd year I had left my position there, grateful for all I had learned but ready to get back to full time studio work. My first year at Summer NAMM, the annual music convention in Nashville, I met Grammy Award winning engineer/producer and platinum record earning musician Randy Kohrs.
Randy and I became good friends over the next year, and after an equal amount of time regularly bugging him about studio technique, he hired me as his “2nd Engineer” at Slack Key Studio. Randy also introduced me to Charlie Brewer, who later became my tech. Charlie’s first ever studio gig was Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, and he later went on to work on a 2nd Stevie Album, 3 Tom Petty albums, and Breakfast in America by Supertramp. Charlie is also Jack White’s, House of Blues’s, and formerly Bradley’s Barn’s tech, so between the mentorship of him and Randy I learned more during those years than I have my whole life.
With increased bookings out of my own studio, Top Shelf Music Group, I eventually left Slack Key to pursue growing my personal career even more, and that has been my daily goal ever since. I have been fortune enough to work with some fantastic artists in the 11 years I have been engineering. From a project for The Bliss through Atlantic Records/Warner Music, to X Factor finalist Owen Stuart, to Davis Mallory who has been featured in Billboard. I’ve also worked with dozens upon dozens of fantastic indie acts in Nashville, Pittsburgh, Texas, California, Seattle, Brazil, and across Europe.
Having been a former musician myself, and originally beginning to engineer to simplify creation of my own music, I put in 110% effort on every song, regardless of it’s size. My job is to create the best version of my client’s songs, mirror the sound they hear in their head, and make sure they enjoy their time while their project is being worked on. That always has been, and always will be my top priority on every single, album, or EP.
- Michael Frasinelli