By Caiti Maumenee, Photo Editor
Rhythm, tone, lyrics and that unforgettable beat is what brings us back to music everyday. It is what makes us put our headphones on as we walk to class and what drives us to turn up the volume in the car when your favorite song blares through the speakers. We don’t often stop to think of the countless hours of writing, singing and recording that it takes to listen to a track under four minutes. Each song is a testament of love to those in front of the microphone laying their heart out lyrically, and it is also the product of those producing and engineering each song to perfection for a listener’s ears. Being behind the mic is not an easy task, but no one on campus understands that concept better than audio production professor Barry Blair.

Blair has a wide range of credentials, including three Dove awards, one Grammy nomination, and four Dove Award nominations, that has included a journey from being a student, band member of Audio Adrenaline, producer, musician and professor. Blair’s 20 years of experience have given him a seasoned look at what it means to step behind the mic and develop artists and young students to having a deeper of understanding of music. He has cultivated countless students since his start as a professor at Asbury in the Fall of 2011.

“The best thing I could teach my students is how to be good listeners in terms of music and audio,” said Blair, “Anyone can teach themselves software, but it all starts with learning how to listen and observe what you hear and what you then think to make it better.” In the classroom, Blair cultivates experience through a mix of hands-on projects and technical lectures to teach his students critical aspects of sound. However, there is a part of the audio world that is unteachable.

“You have to love sound. You have to want to learn the gear, the software and the ability to pay attention to the details.” Two Audio Production majors, Dylan Hofmann ’16 and Stephen Woods ’15, have been a testament to the love of music and dedication to production excellence.

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“My interest in sound began when I was about eight,” said Hofmann, “but I didn’t know what to expect when I first started as an Audio major.” Over the three years of classes and projects, Hofmann has discovered a love for studio work and the respect and care it takes to collaborate over the course of a project. “Respect for the process and the artist is huge when working on any song or album. The creative process is slightly geared toward perfectionism,” said Hofmann. “Producing gives you the chance to do things over and over again until everything is just right.”

IMG_4497Woods captures that lesson perfectly. “My own pursuit of being an artist taught me what it’s like to give an emotional and meaningful performance.” Woods’ journey drew him away from performing his own work and flipped to finding young artists to cultivate their own voice and unique sound. “My job is to get everything you, the artist, is capable of.” Woods shared, “Producing is all about capturing the emotion, meaning and passion behind a vocal performance and putting it into a recording.“

There are multiple recordings by Blair as well as both Woods and Hofman that you can enjoy. Blair’s latest creation, Winter Wonderland: Jazz Christmas, was released Nov. 1 and is now available on iTunes. Other releases on iTunes include Hofman’s production of Consumed by Miller Jarrel and Words by Madelyn Baier.

In the future you can check out Kristina Conner’s Get Going debut album as well as local Kentucky Indie artist Jordan Allen and the Bellwethers, all of which will be produced by these men behind the mic.