by Gary Axelbank
February 28, 2019
The recording studio that’s been installed in a former locker room of the historic building at 1866 Washington Avenue (one block south of Tremont Avenue) will provide free access to a mini recording studio for learning the basics of creating music, including creating beats and songs.
At the completely FREE facility, library visitors can make demos and learn guitar and piano. There is also a soundproof room for singing, rapping, or spoken word. The library says the software in the studio is the same as what’s used in major recording studios.
“Music is a universal language,” said Branch Manager Wilson Francis who has been with the NYPL for more than 20 years. “Countless studies have shown that people who learn music develop better emotionally. So what I am aiming for is to give people access to equipment and information so they can have an opportunity to express themselves creatively.”
It’s no coincidence that Francis has put together a recording studio. Before he started working at the library he opened and ran a Soho recording studio that worked with a number of high-profile artists, like Foxy Brown and some of the best of rap’s New School.
“Since the Bronx is the birthplace of hip hop,” he said, “this is a perfect match to have free access to equipment where people can learn the craft, practice the craft, and even possibly make money. But it definitely starts with love for the music.”
The Sound Lab cost $15,000 to put together and was built through an NYPL innovation grant that gives staff an opportunity to come up with ideas to provide a new service, either within the library or to patrons.
“This is definitely a dream come true for me because it marries two of my passions,” Francis said before thisistheBronX conlcuded the exclusive visit. “Growing up as a child, the only place I was allowed to go outside of school was the library and I also had a love of music. You can’t ask for anything better than to come to work and do something you enjoy that is useful and wanted by your community. How it can it get any better?”
The grand opening date has not been set, but Francis says it’s going to be soon. It will be announced in the thisistheBronX daily newsletter.