Ben Watts - The Making of a Record Producer
From the south of Australia, to Nashville by way of Route 66 and all the other routes through the 49 states of the continental USA, comes Ben Watts, musician, record producer and audio engineer. Ben has worked with the freshest new talent in music such as Kelby Costner, Lee Brice, Paul Gilbert, Luke Combs, Terra Bella, Rudy Parris, Bobby Barth, Mark Pinske, Darin Warner, Dustin Huff, Morgan Lynsey and many more.
Ben Watts was born and raised the small town of Loxton in South Australia where he grew up in an old farm house lovingly restored by his parents. Watts developed a passion for music at a young age although his younger years mainly involved sport, trips to the river and whatever fun he and his brother made on ‘the farm. Ben’s late teens were filled with late nights rediscovering his passion for the guitar and learning the art of recording.
‘The recording side of things became such a passion it took away a lot of time from practicing the instrument, I found myself just as passionate about layering and recording sounds as I was about the technical aspect of the instrument’
Watts spent 4 years teaching music full time before relocating to Los Angeles in 2009 to study at the world-renowned Musicians Institute where he completed a degree music performance, production and audio engineering for which he received the award for the 'most outstanding student' in the program.
‘I had no idea I was up for an award so I had skipped the ceremony and was in Las Vegas instead!’
After completing his studies, he started as a runner at ‘Henson Studios’ in Los Angeles.
‘I was starting from the bottom but it was amazing to be in that environment, to see the attention to detail and what goes into running one of the best music studio’s in the world, every day was an A-list client. I’ll never forget passing Mick Jagger in the hallway on my very first morning’
After departing ‘Henson Studios’ Watts got his first taste into the world of Country music when he was an engineer for an album by Australian country music artist ‘Darin Warner’ ‘
‘I had always been more involved in rock music so it was somewhat of a new world for me but I enjoyed it, it was an incredible studio band consisting of Dwight Yoakams’ touring rhythm section, one of LA’s most respected session musicians Jim Cox on Piano and Jaydee Maness from the desert rose band on pedal steel. To see the way each musician played off each other and how they crafted the music was a whole new experience for me at the time’
In what was only meant to be a temporary stand in guitarist role, Watts joined ‘Terra Bella’ (formally Chaparral) that turned into many years of shows, touring and album production which took him up and down the west coast playing shows before ending up in Nashville. While he was kept busy as a musician he always kept one foot in the door taking on numerous other projects as a producer and engineer.
‘There is a lifetime of stories and memories from those days that I will always cherish’
Watts then had the pleasure of working for Curb Records artist and country mega-star Lee Brice as a live recording specialist where he toured extensively all over the USA reaching 49 states in 2015 alone.
‘I definitely fell into the country music scene but I do enjoy it, Nashville has many great studios and is a buzzing town so it’s always a fun place to be’
After departing the Brice tour and spending more time on tour with Terra Bella Watts decided to focus on what he’s most passionate about which is music production, after standing in briefly as a lead guitarist for country superstar Luke Combs and hitting the road with ‘Rudy Parris’ who was a star on NBC’s The Voice he’s started to focus more on various production projects.
In the time since Watts has been blessed work with many great artists such as Kelby Costner who’s single ‘Hold On’ is out now on all digital formats.
‘I don’t think many people will argue that Kelby is one of the best young singers in country music today’
Morgan Lynsey who’s single ‘Gypsy Hearts’ was released in February, Lynsey has another single coming out at some point ‘Magic’ which was co-written with Watts.
‘I can’t wait for people to hear that one I think it will be a timeless classic’
He produced the EP ‘Rebels Like Me’ for up and coming country artist ‘Dustin Huff’ which was released December last year. Ben also co-produced an album in 2016 to be released late this year for California alternative rock band ‘Fuggly Muglets’ which he mixed with Grammy winning engineer Mark Pinske.
‘It was a fun and challenging record to make that really made me think outside of the box, I’ve worked with Mark on a few projects now and it’s always a pleasure, he is a genius mind and always entertaining company’
Ben is in Australia and can be reached through his website
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Full Name: Ben Watts
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