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‘This Nashville Life’ on Having the Courage to Get Fired

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Courtesy of Kelleigh Bannen

Every other week, Kelleigh Bannen will provide behind-the-scenes analysis, stories and insight into Music City’s No. 1 export, with help from some of Nashville’s top songwriters, artists, executives and producers. Taste of Country will debut each new episode of her This Nashville Life podcast, and Bannen herself will introduce it as a guest writer. Thoughts and opinions expressed by Bannen are hers alone and do not reflect the opinions of Taste of Country, unless she’s talking about #TomatoGate, in which case, yeah … she’s spot on.

“I want people to either love a mix, or hate a mix. The last thing I want them to do is be like, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.'”

In today’s episode of This Nashville Life we’re speaking with ten-time Grammy-winning mixing engineer F Reid Shippen. He’s worked with the likes of Eric Church, Dierks Bentley and Keslea Ballerini and at the time we taped this interview, Reid had mixed six songs of the current Top 40 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Reid has some brilliant words on risk, which is the part of the conversation that yielded that opening line about wanting people to either love or hate his work. I asked him specifically about a quote from his website, which reads: “If someone tells you they’ve never been fired from a record, they’re either lying or not trying hard enough to make things great.” There’s a real power in taking risks.

He says, “The risk of putting out something that’s really incredible is that someone’s gonna hate it.” And for Reid, risk has certainly paid off — professionally, and creatively. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t ever been fired. In fact, he’ll share a story about being fired by Little Big Town, twice!

He also gets candid about the kind of self-doubt that haunts a lot of creatives including the “Imposter syndrome” which he explains, and which Kevin and I will spend some time unpacking as it relates to our own work.

For those of you that might be new to the recording process, Reid does a great job of explaining exactly what a mixing engineer does, sharing an analogy he used to explain his work to his grandmother. For me, this episode does what I really hope every episode does: explain something that non-music biz people may not understand, tell a captivating story and inspire you in your own creative endeavors. Reid is nothing if not inspiring. Come with us as F Reid Shippen tells us what it means to life This Nashville Life.

Listen to This Nashville Life Season 2, Ep. 7

About Kelleigh Bannen: Kelleigh Bannen’s This Nashville Life Podcast offers an authentic, vibrant look at the journey of someone trying to “make it” in country music. Bannen is admittedly still learning what that means. After a short career as an independent artist, the “Famous” singer signed a major label record deal and recorded two-and-a-half albums that were never released. She’s honest, but not bitter about the obstacles female artists face in country music, but her blog and podcast go much deeper.

Next: Exploring the Legalities of Being an Artist

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