Who hasn’t heard of Stax Records, Sun Studios and the entertainers that catapulted their careers through them? Many of you do not know there is a budding recording studio that stands a chance to be even greater than its predecessors. Back in the days of Stax Records and Sun Studios, you needed to be discovered by someone willing to front the money to get you into the studio, cut your track, and market it. Even today, entertainers are in so much debt to the studio and other people, it takes a while to show a profit. Right here in Memphis, artists can have their tracks arranged, mastered, and recorded on a shoestring budget.
I wonder if it ever dawned on Louis Cole that his studio was destined to be great when he picked the building on Airways Blvd between Enterprise and Progress Avenues. There he started One Sound Studios. One goal of the studio is to provide artists an affordable means of recording their work. For a mere $30 an hour an artist can record their work and distribute it to the public in no time. Louis spends a lot of hours in his studio working side-by-side with his wife, Brenae Davis-Cole. Brenae is not only co-owner of One Sound Studios. She is an accomplished producer, which adds a special perk to using their studio. If you have the words, but haven’t quite found the sound, Brenae can create a beat for $60 and it is yours to keep free and clear.
The only mistake you’ll make when you walk through the door to One Sound Studio is assuming the little lady that greets you is the receptionist. Once you tell her why you’re there and she leads you to her keyboard, you’ll be a little embarrassed but thoroughly amazed.
Brenae is a Memphis native who is a graduate of the Southside High School class of 2005. If you ask Brenae when she first realized her love for music, she will jokingly tell you from the moment she was born. She believes her aptitude for music is as natural as breathing. In elementary school, Brenae joined the orchestra. When it was her turn to choose and instrument, all the violins were taken. Despite being small in stature, she chose the cello. She learned to love and mastered the cello. Although she stayed with it through elementary and middle school, Brenae developed a desire to play the piano. In order to fulfill that desire, she became a proverbial starving artist by saving her lunch money to pay for piano lessons from Kevin Hyman. For high school, she auditioned and was accepted to Overton High School’s Creative and Performing Arts program.
Her passion for the piano grew and left no room for the cello in her life. As a teen-aged musician, an opportunity of a lifetime came in the form of the South Soul Rhythm Section, a jazz/R and B band. This band, led by Tony Nichelson allowed Brenae to perform all over the country. After graduating from high school, Brenae majored in English and minored in music at UT Martin.
I asked Brenae when she started producing. She pondered and to my amazement said, “14, on a Radio Shack Keyboard.” Brenae’s artististic resume exemplifies why she does not limit her music. “If anyone needs help with classical, country, reggae, rap, R and B, or polka, I can help.”
Out of curiosity (and images of Sin LaSalle from Be Cool in my head) I asked Brenae what makes her sound unique. She said that her bass lines are “crazy and different.” She is confident that her sound can be differentiated from others. Brenae has production credits with many local artists from Memphis and the Tri-Cities. Among notables are ZedZilla (One Time and Who Knows) and French Montana (Ain’t Worried About Nothing). Brenae acknowledged that producing is a male dominated profession. She only knows of a few women that actually produce; however, her final output forces many to put gender aside and place faith in her expertise.
From L to R Brenae Davis-Cole, Jordan Cole, Louis Cole, Martavious Cole
Amazingly, Brenae contends that the long hours at the studio and family life do not conflict. “One Sound Studios is a family business,” She explains. “My husband engineers in the studio. I have a daughter- Jordan, 7, and a step-son- Martavious, 13. The kids come to the studio right after school everyday. Things work out perfectly.”
So if you need studio time, mixing, mastering, graphics, or just need to buy a beat, pay One Sound Studio a visit at 301 South Parkway West 38109. You can also find her on Facebook – BrenaeDavis-Cole ; Twitter – @brenaesbeats; Instagram – Brenaesbeatz or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Sound Studios is well on its way to finding its place on the National Register of Historic Places.