Kevin Lively is an audio mastering engineer who provides superior quality and integrity in music mastering for recording artists. He serves as a member of the Producers and Engineering Wing of the Grammy Academy (NARAS) and is also is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES). He continues to give back to future generations as an educator at the Academy of Contemporary Music with the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO).
How did you get started?
From an early age I was captivated by music and recording. I remember staring at our family’s LP record player watching the needle and the record spin around listening to albums and loving the way that music made me feel listening to it. We also had a cassette recorder I used to hook up everything from a microphone to other parts of the stereo and experiment with. As a kid I took piano, then trumpet and eventually guitar, which gave me the foundation of understanding music. But I always preferred the listening side of music more than the playing.
Did you always want a career in the music industry?
Actually, yes. I knew I wanted to work in a studio even from the age of 15. I had many influences in music growing up. My father listened to classical, my mother listened to country, my sister listened to pop, and my brother listened to rock. I loved it all and as I started high school playing guitar, I found a music industry magazine called Mix at a bookstore. The moment I opened it up and saw the pictures of studios I knew immediately where I would work one day. Back then there were no recording schools in this region, like ACM@UCO here in Bricktown. So I had to travel to Florida to go to college and study recording. After graduating I moved to Atlanta where I worked for about 10 years and later came back to Oklahoma, where I have been since the early 2000’s.
What is your role in the music industry?
I’m a mastering engineer, that’s been my craft since 2010. Before then I was recording, mixing and doing some producing. Also spent several years mixing live sound. Aside from the professional audio, I’m also an educator at ACM@UCO where I teach production classes and manage the studio operations.
Most Recent Successes / Placements / Accomplishments / Projects? Career highlight?
Fortunately, each year brings new artists and clients my way from rock, pop and country to hip hop, dance and symphonic. Some recently mastered projects include Dear Daisy, Beau Jennings, Sugar Free Allstars, Levi Parham, Original Flow, Kitt Wakeley and Jonathan Leshnoff with the OKC Philharmonic.
What is your favorite Oklahoma music venue, music store or recording studio?
There are so many great studios here now that artists can pick from, and each one of them have their own unique vibe for inspiring creativity. Artists of today have so much to take advantage of as far as spaces and people to work with. No matter your genre and direction there is a place here in Oklahoma that can fit your needs, compared to many years ago when there were fewer facilities with good acoustics and stellar equipment.
Networking and connecting with others who share your dream or vision is a vital aspect to the music industry. Can you share which Oklahoma organizations (if any) have contributed to your success and are there Oklahoma organization you would recommend other connect with? To help further their craft or promotion?
I work with a lot of incredible studios, producers and clients, and it would be impossible to choose just one. I will say I’ve been so encouraged lately by the growing relationship between our Oklahoma state legislators and the music community. Our state loves our musicians and their support has been evident in recent years. I’d encourage any young, aspiring artist or aspiring industry professional to get involved with Grammy U. As a voting member of the Academy, I know that Grammy U provides many opportunities for emerging music industry professionals and creatives, through events, networking, opportunities and a lot more.
How can we follow you? Best place to purchase and listen to your music (if applicable)?
Advice for someone interested in working in the music industry.
Oklahoma has been the birthplace of many of the greats in music, both artists and industry professionals. Start with a path of education, stay determined, and in time your work will pay off. And lastly, never stop learning.
What are some of the benefits of having a music career in Oklahoma?
The music industry of today provides many more opportunities than in years past for places like Oklahoma. I can only speak to the recording industry but with the event of technology increasing and equipment becoming more affordable, music professionals don’t have to reside in a region like LA, NY or Nashville. As well, getting music distributed is much easier now than when you had to have a major label record deal. From online streaming services to selling albums and merch on your own website provides an outlet to the music world that yesterday’s artists could only dream of. And it’s important to note, artists and professionals now are able to collaborate more freely from a distance and have the ability to have a home close to their family while making music. This is a benefit that could seldom be attained without leaving Oklahoma in times past.
Each featured individual or business is given the provided questions to answer in their own voice. Other than formatting and grammar, the answers are personal to each featured voice, and are not provided by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.