Nick Autry, a 2009 graduate of SAE Institute Nashville, worked as an engineer on “Rhythm & Blues”, the most recent album by six-time Grammy winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and 2012 Kennedy Center honoree Buddy Guy. The album’s overdubs, which Autry engineered, were recorded at Black River Sound Stage in Nashville, where Autry is also the General Manager.
“Sitting in the studio while Buddy plays and sings is incredible: I’ve never experienced anything like it,” says Autry, who was an assistant engineer on Buddy’s 2010 album “Living Proof”. “He’s also one of the nicest, most genuine people who I’ve had the privilege to work with.”
Autry grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He got his first drum kit at 9, picked up the guitar at 13, and began playing in bands at 16. He was a fan of country music, but showed interest in all musical genres, especially the heartland rock of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. After attending North Carolina State University for three years, he moved to Nashville in 2002 to pursue songwriting and to learn the art of music recording and production at SAE Institute, which was cited as being the world’s “best of the best” audio engineering school by Vibe Magazine.
“SAE Nashville had a great reputation, and given their location on Music Row, it was a no brainer for me to get my training there in Audio Technology,” says Autry. “When I graduated, I learned that Black River Sound Stage was looking for interns. I was aware of the top engineers, producers, and songwriters who worked out of Sound Stage and I wanted to be around those folks. I walked in, got interviewed, and felt at home immediately – and I haven’t left the building too many times since!”
Autry has been busy engineering a number of projects at Sound Stage, including albums for singer-songwriter Holly Williams, blues legend James Cotton, and actress singer-songwriter Jamie Lynn Spears. Autry also engineers, performs, and writes his own productions: his self-released debut “Cause & The Cure” featured an all-star line-up of guest performers, including Jon Graboff and Brad Pemberton of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals and Audley Freed of The Black Crowes. Autry is currently recording a new album, which is slated for a January ’14 release.
“For SAE grads to be successful, they need to really work for their opportunities and in many cases, create their own opportunities,” says Autry. “They should put themselves where they need to be to move their careers forward, whether it’s relocating to a new city, meeting local bands, or mopping the floors at a studio or record label. My advice is to go out and build relationships with as many people as you can within the industry. And when you get a gig, work harder than everyone else around you, and don’t forget to be a good person to hang with.”