A Nashville-bred engineer and producer, I specialize in creating authentic, acoustic recordings. As a classical pianist and composer myself, I can approach projects with both an artist's and an engineer's ear.
Having the ear of a classical musician allows me to pick up on musical nuances and subtleties beyond the typical technicalities involved with being an engineer. As an award-winning composer, I have extensive knowledge of a variety of instruments and know how good music is supposed to sound—and with my years of engineering experience, I know how to achieve that sound in a recording. As a producer, I love to combine my musical and technical expertise to bring all aspects of an artist’s vision to life.
In 2017, I earned a BS in Audio Engineering Technology and a BM in Music Composition with Highest Honors from Belmont University in Nashville, TN—one of the world's leading audio engineering programs. I have been working and learning in studios since I was thirteen years old. At seventeen, the GRAMMY Foundation selected me to study audio engineering at the renowned GRAMMY Camp institute in Los Angeles and New York. Since 2019, I have been Lead Audio Engineer for Chicago-based classical recording company, Atlas Arts Media. I recently relocated back to my home state and now also have my own studio, River Rock Records, on a farm outside of Charlottesville.
For additional services in piano, arranging, and composing, check out my musician profile: https://soundbetter.com/profiles/427242-shelby-lock
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
15 Reviews - 2 Repeat ClientsEndorse River Rock Records
It's always a pleasure to work with Shelby at River Rock Records. She has great communication skills and can turn the most esoteric requests into great mixes that make perfect sense to the ears! I've completed over 15 songs with her and am thrilled with everyone one of them!
Thank you again to Shelby for a fantastic mix! She's extremely easy to work with, very helpful, super professional, and I'm so happy with the mix. Highly recommended!
Another amazing mix from Shelby at River Rock Records! Shelby's keen ear as a musician and composer compliment her technical expertise as an engineer, resulting in nuanced mixes unique to the needs of each song. Always a pleasure to work with, Shelby has great communication skills, and she always meets her deadlines. I highly recommend her!
Another great mix and master from Shelby at River Rock Records! She's always open to ideas and brings her own musical sensibilities to her expertise as an engineer. Great communication and top quality work. I highly recommend working with Shelby!
I just want to say thank you to Shelby from River Rock Records for the amazing mix and master on my song. It was super easy to work with her, she's detail oriented but also gets the big picture, and she has that unique ability to bridge the technical and creative pieces so that everything comes together to sound like magic. Highly recommended!
Another great mix and master from Shelby at River Rock Records! Shelby is a pleasure to work with and always exceeds expectations. I highly recommend her!
Another great mix from Shelby at River Rock Records! Shelby is a delight to work with and always delivers an exceptional product. I highly recommend her!
Shelby always does great work! She's very open to direction but always brings something extra to the mix that I wouldn't have thought to ask for. I highly recommend working with River Rock Records!
Another great mix and master from Shelby at River Rock Records! She's open to direction but always has valuable insights that help bring a song to life. Shelby is a great communicator and always a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend River Rock Records for your mixing and mastering needs!
Another great mix from Shelby at River Rock Records! Shelby is patient, creative, and always willing to go the extra mile to fully realize your song's potential. She's always a pleasure to work with and provides exceptional work with very reasonable timelines and rates. I highly recommend her!
It's always such a pleasure to work with Shelby at River Rock Records! She produces top quality work that realizes the raw potential of any project, and she is always so receptive to ideas and requests during the mixing process. I highly recommend Shelby for your next project!
Another great mix from Shelby at River Rock Records! Shelby consistently produces great work, but just as importantly, she's easy to work with, a great communicator, and seems to have infinite patience! I highly recommend working with her!
Shelby at River Rock Records has done it again! This song was very complex, with everything from banjo, live crickets, and a human heart beat to a full horn section, but Shelby navigated the complexities and brought everything into focus with a detailed, beautiful mix. I was a little more OCD on this one than most tracks, but Shelby was always patient, flexible, and communicative and with only a few revisions, we hit that sweet spot! I'm so happy with the end product, and working with Shelby is such a pleasure!
Working with Shelby of River Rock Records was an absolute pleasure. I sent her what I'll call "a promising track with some technical challenges," and the final result was nothing short of stunning! Drawing on her own musical talents, her impeccable ear, intuition, and technical expertise, she found the diamond in the rough and knew exactly how to make it shine. She's a clear communicator, easy to work with, and delivers the exceptional work in a very reasonable time. I look forward to working with Shelby again soon!
Awesome first experience!
Great communication throughout the project. We will collaborate on another song very soon!
Interview with River Rock Records
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on a lot of classical recordings for my job as Lead Engineer with Atlas Arts Media. I also do quite a bit of Folk and acoustic music because it's often a similar goal as in classical: make a mix that is as true to the original sound of the instrument as possible. However, I also enjoy when I get the chance to experiment with creating unique textures that are only possible in a recording.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The vast majority of my work is remote mixing and/or mastering. For my job with Atlas Arts Media, I get to work with classical recordings recorded in a Chicago concert hall. For my own clients, they typically send me a home recording, or something they recorded in a small local studio, and I make it come to life.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I just finished an album for soprano Michelle Areyzaga called Were I With Thee, and now I'm mixing a couple of Folk projects, a string trio album, and a crystal bowls album. When I have the time, I work on my own personal album of New Age solo piano compositions.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: For some reason, I've noticed people call my job "editing." Yes, there's editing involved when I stitch together pieces of different takes into one seamless performance, but being an audio engineer involves so much more than that. Mixing requires a whole other level of creativity to decide how to balance the different instruments in a mix and what effects and techniques to use to do so. And in classical and acoustic genres, it takes a great deal of skill to turn a raw studio recording into something that captures the authenticity of a live performance. Mixing is both an art and a science. Editing is only one tiny part of it.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I approach every project both from an engineer's and an artist's perspective. Being a solo piano artist myself, I know what it's like to pour your heart and soul into your music and how important it is to feel like the recording reflects your vision. I always try to understand what my artist is trying to say musically, and then I use my technical know-how to make sure it comes across.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is located on a farm near Free Union, VA. It's in a former garage with two-foot thick walls which has surprisingly good acoustics even without the room treatment. The highlight is the view of a river with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. Gear-wise, I use an RME DA converter with a pair of Yamaha HS7s. I'm the only studio in the area with a full-size grand piano.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like having the skills and know-how to bring an artist's vision for their project to life. I enjoy the collaboration involved in the recording and engineering process.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your goal for this project? Have you recorded in a studio before? What artists do you like the sound of and why?
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't try to "fix it in the mix." Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. It's always more authentic if you nail a performance in the studio and get the sound right from the beginning.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm known to be able to make seemingly impossible edits when piecing together a recording out of differnt takes. I prefer not to edit unless absolutely necessary, but when the client asks for it, I always try.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be sure you work with someone who understands your music and what you're about.