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Community Highlights: Meet Daniel Dennis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Dennis.

Hi Daniel, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
My story starts with my parents. Even though they aren’t musicians, they recognized that I had some interest in playing music. Banging on pots and pans led them to sign me up for drum lessons at 8 years old, and I just kept building from there.

At 12, I went to a pawn shop, bought a guitar and a bass, and started learning those instruments. At 14, my parents bought me a 4-track Tascam cassette recorder, which started my interest in audio engineering.

At 16, CDs were hitting their peak. My parents bought me a digital hard disk recorder, and I made my first album in my bedroom. It was a lightbulb moment: “You know, I could do this for other people someday.” I graduated from MTSU in 2004 with a degree in Music Production & Technology, minoring in Entrepreneurship. I immediately got a job at the Ryman Auditorium, where I met my first client and now best friend, Shelby Merchant. We recorded his first album (and mine as a producer) in the bedroom I grew up in, which gave me the confidence to open up my studio full time in 2006.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Owning and running a business will always present challenges, especially when you start young. There is much to learn about business and people while trying to push yourself creatively. When I first started, I would take on any projects to build up my portfolio and connections and experiment with getting the best sound possible. Over time, I’ve niched down into producing projects I know I’m the right fit for, which helps smoothen out “the road.”

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I’m a music producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist in Nashville, TN. I work primarily in Country & Pop and am passionate about creating a sonic brand for artists that helps them stand out in a crowd. An artist will come to me with a song, we’ll discuss what direction they would like to take their music, and I’ll build their song with them one-on-one, playing drums, bass, guitars, mandolin, banjo, resonator, drum programming, and synthesizers. If a song needs anything else like keys, pedal steel, fiddle, etc., I have a list of amazing Nashville players that can put their magic on it. I mix most of the projects I produce, and I enjoy talking with my artists about how they can most effectively promote the music we’ve created.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check?
My favorite podcast is The Attack and Release Show. It’s specific to mastering engineers, but there’s a lot of great business, creative, and life advice all wrapped in a beautiful bromance. YouTube is a great resource for anything!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Emma-Lee Photography (main photo of me)

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