Ebonie Smith, Atlantic Records Producer/Engineer, Gives An All-Access Tour Of Made In Memphis' 4U Recording Studios

Ebonie Smith

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images


Ebonie Smith, Atlantic Records Producer/Engineer, Gives An All-Access Tour Of Made In Memphis' 4U Recording Studios

In a clip from the latest episode of "Pensado's Place," the award-winning record maker comes home to walk us through the studio belonging to her "music industry godfather," Stax songwriting legend David Porter

GRAMMYs/Sep 3, 2020 - 03:31 am

Normally, you'd find Ebonie Smith behind the console in the New York City, where she works as a producer/engineer for Atlantic Records. But on the latest episode of audio mainstay "Pensado's Place," Smith gives us an all-access tour of Made In Memphis and 4U Studio, the home base of legendary songwriter/producer David Porter.

Smith was the feautured guest on "Pensado's Place #470" earlier this summer, a must-watch episode. Now, she returns for the special "Shoptalk" segment (2 minutes 45 seconds into the video above), where Smith takes us through the prestigious facility belonging to the man she calls her "music industry godfather," appropriately lauding his legacy by saying, "He's probably one of the smartest, most amazing, most energetic, living legends that you'll ever get an opportunity to be around and to see, so I'm actually grateful that he lets me in here when I come home." 

But Smith is well on her way to building a legacy of her own. As a multi-talented producer/engineer and singer/songwriter, Smith has worked a wide variety of projects, including Janelle Monáe, Sturgill Simpson, Cardi B and the "Hamilton" Original Broadway Cast Recording. She won the Mad Skills Award at the 2020 She Rocks Award, and was nominated for a Pensado Award in the category of "Best Break Thru Mixing Engineer" as well as for Forbes' 30 Under 30.

She's also extremely active in the music community. Smith is the founder and president of Gender Amplified, Inc., an organization that celebrates and supports women and girls in music production and audio engineering, and in fact she serves as an elected governor of the Recording Academy New York Chapter and member of the Producers & Engineers Wing.

Starting her tour in the Studio A control room, she highlights the API AXS Legacy console, noting the smaller-format API 1608 holds it down at her studio in New York, so she's instantly comfortable with the board and the room. Then she heads out to the live room to talk about how centering the energy in a studio is her first order of business.

"For me, I love to come into a studio and the first thing I find is the piano, because that's how I cleanse the space. That's also how I purify my mind and prepare myself to be of service in the space," she says, just before sitting down to 4U's Baldwin piano and playing beatifully.

Smith also points out some of her favorite pieces of outboard gear, includng the famous Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor, which is always in her vocal chain. She also professes her love for the Neve 1073: "I'm a Neve girl. If I could just have everything runing through a 1073, that would just make my day."

Over in Studio B, Smith shows off the API lunchboxes, especially the 560 graphic EQs, and the Neve 33609 stereo compressor and notes that every detail matters, down to how electricity of a space will affect your gear.

"A lot of folks say, 'Why do you need all this stuff in 2020, especially when you have the software emulators?' In my opinion, I like to say all the time, 'Electronics have a story to tell, and electrons have a story " she says pointing to her favorite API hardware EQs. "These four units sound different, all of them, because electrons have a story to tell."

Read More: Dave Pensado & Herb Trawick On "Pensado's Place," Expanding Audio's Scope & Being Inducted Into The TEC Hall Of Fame

Smith shoots some rather impressive hoops at the court outside the studio before concluding the tour in Studio C, where she likes to jump on the drum kit to let her energy out. Maybe next time you'll catch her in the Big Apple, but for now Smith seemed right at home at Made In Memphis Entertainment's state-of-the-art complex. 

The rest of this "Pensado's Place" episode features an inspiring interview with GRAMMY winner Fantastic Negrito, who shares some serious music motivation. Show creators and co-hosts Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick go deep with its guests from across the vast landscape of the audio world for over 450 episodes and couniting. 

To learn more about Ebonie Smith, you can check out her website, and be sure to follow the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing on Instagram to stay connected and informed. 

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images


Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards


Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream

Brittany Howard

Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images


Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream

Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund

GRAMMYs/Jun 16, 2020 - 04:13 am

This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.

“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”

Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.

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Pusha T Announces Daytona Tour, Drops "If You Know You Know" Video

Pusha T

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images


Pusha T Announces Daytona Tour, Drops "If You Know You Know" Video

The rapper will hit the road across the U.S. in support of his recently released, Kanye West-produced album

GRAMMYs/Jun 21, 2018 - 06:04 pm

Pusha T has officially announced dates for his 2018 Daytona Tour. The Former Clipse rapper will hit the road for a 22-date U.S. tour in support the Kanye West-produced album launching in Denver on July 21 and wrapping up in Oakland, Calif. on Oct. 13. In addition to the tour announcement, Pusha also dropped a video for the lead-off track from Daytona, "If You Know You Know," directed by Shomi Patwary.  

The 2018 Daytona Tour will make stops in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and more. The Bronx-born rapper will bring along Valee and Sheck Wes as opening acts.

Daytona was released on May 25 as the first project of Kanye West's "Wyoming Sessions." Four of the album's songs have cracked the Billboard Hot 100 including "Infrared," "If You Know You Know," "The Games We Play," and "What Would Meek Do" featuring West. The album also debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

A full list of dates for the 2018 Daytona Tour, along with ticket information, can be found via LiveNation's website.

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